The Untold Truth Of Blue's Clues Host Josh Dela Cruz

Launched by Nickelodeon in 1996, educational children's TV series Blue's Clues introduced young viewers to a curious animated dog named Blue and her human best friend, Steve, played by Steve Burns. When Burns left the show in 2002, he was replaced by actor Donovan Patton (as Blue's new pal, Joe), who remained with the series until it ended its run in 2007.

In 2018, Nickelodeon announced plans to reboot Blue's Clues for a new generation of children. This latest iteration, titled Blue's Clues & You!, would require a new host, and a nationwide casting call resulted in the hiring of Broadway actor Josh Dela Cruz as Blue's new pal. Speaking with ABC News, Dela Cruz shared his hope that the now-grown kids who watched the show when they were young would return to view this new version with their own children. "Now parents get to share a piece of their childhood, which is really exciting and only makes the learning that's happening onscreen that much stronger," he said.

There's much that viewers of the new reboot may not know about its host. Keep reading to learn all about the untold truth of Blue's Clues & You! star Josh Dela Cruz.

Josh Dela Cruz is seriously into health and fitness

Staying in shape is a passion for Blue's Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz, who once took to Instagram to announce he was joining an online challenge to do 200 pushups a day until reaching a total of 6,000. In an interview with GQ, he opened up about his strict vegan diet and exercise regime, which includes "Crossfit-inspired" workouts both before and after work. He also adds Brazilian jiu-jitsu into the mix and typically works out seven days a week. According to Dela Cruz, he sees Brazilian jiu-jitsu as similar to yoga, with the key difference that "people fight back."

He also explained why he and his wife, actress Amanda Dela Cruz, decided to embrace a vegan diet. "It was mainly for health at the time," he told GQ, revealing that there's a history of cancer on both sides of their family, "so we just wanted to tune our bodies and be in the best place possible to have a fighting chance for whatever comes our way. And we found that veganism was that change for us." 

While some celebs, such as Liam Hemsworth, have given up a vegan lifestyle due to feelings of lethargy, it's fantastic to see it's worked out so well for the Blue's Clues celeb.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu taught Josh Dela Cruz mindfulness

As a devotee of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Blue's Clues host Josh Dela Cruz credits that particular form of martial arts for keeping both his body and mind healthy. As Dela Cruz told BSCKids, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is "not only [his] favorite form of exercise but one of the best ways to learn how to stay in the moment." Expanding on the mental benefit of his practice, Dela Cruz revealed, "Practicing jiu-jitsu has taught me not to panic in an uncomfortable situation and instead, take a deep breath, calm my mind and throw away my doubt so I can solve the problem in front of me."

Competing against opponents in Brazilian jiu-jitsu matches, he added, has taught him that losing can be just as empowering as winning. "Defeat is just an opportunity to learn about yourself and no matter what, you can survive," he explained. Embracing that concept and applying it to other aspects of his life, he admitted, has allowed him to become "more open to new experiences and [has made him] happier because of it."

It looks like Dela Cruz isn't the only one that's turned to this form of martial arts as a way to practice mindfulness. Other A-listers, such as Demi Lovato, have also praised jiu-jitsu as a means to de-stress.

There were thousands of actors vying for his role

When Josh Dela Cruz auditioned to become the host of Blue's Clues & You!, he was unaware of the scope of the search. As he revealed during a conversation with BUILD Series, it wasn't until he'd received his first callback that he discovered he was among 3,000 actors in contention for the role — including, it was rumored, WWE star John Cena (although that was never under serious consideration, and sprang from the wrestler making a joking bid for the role during Nickelodeon's 2018 upfronts).

As it turns out, the original Blue's Clues host, Steve Burns, was part of the team that chose Dela Cruz. As the former host declared in a Nickelodeon press release, "I give Josh two thumbs up! He can definitely fill my shoes, and the rugby shirt."

On Dela Cruz's first day of filming, he told BUILD Series, Burns pulled him aside and offered some advice. "We cast you because we love you, and we love what you're bringing to the table," he recalled, with Burns suggesting he shouldn't try to imitate him or former host Donovan Patton. "Just do you and be proud of that," Burns said.

Josh Dela Cruz changed children's television

When Nickelodeon hired Josh Dela Cruz to star in Blue's Clues & You!, not only did the network add a new face to a revamped version of a familiar show, they also changed children's television. Casting an actor of Filipino descent was groundbreaking, given that it marked the first time an Asian-American led the cast of a children's show on U.S. television. "I really feel honored that I've been given this opportunity to be in a role where it didn't require somebody that was Filipino American, you know, where I could just be myself," he said in an interview with NPR

As Dela Cruz told ForbesBlue's Clues certainly wasn't seeking to specifically cast a Filipino-American in the role and alluded to the typecasting that Asian-American actors often experience. "To be cast in this role, without having to be specifically Filipino or Asian is so important because that is inclusion at its very best," he said, explaining that he wasn't hired because the show "[needed] an Asian," but because his personality stood out and he "[happens] to be Asian which is something [they're] going to celebrate."

Blue's Clues' new host grew up watching the show

For Blue's Clues & You!'s Josh Dela Cruz, his role as the third Blue's Clues host has taken him full circle, from watching the show as a child to starring in it as an adult. As Dela Cruz told, he recalled watching the show and singing along with original host Steve Burns — something that ultimately spurred him toward a career in theater. In fact, he admitted he began to sing the show's "Mailtime Song" to his sister as a way to feel less self-conscious about singing in public. To this day, added Dela Cruz, he has Burns and the show to thank for pushing him to "get past the shy barrier," which led him to join his school choir and to ultimately pursue a career on stage.

"Some of my fondest memories come from watching Blue's Clues with my youngest sister," Dela Cruz revealed in an interview with BSCKids, musing, "All of those wonderful memories sitting on the floor of my aunt's bedroom watching the show with my little sister... I'm so honored that I get to be a part of that experience with families all over the world as they watch our show."

Living the Blue's Clues dream

When Josh Dela Cruz received a message from his agent about auditioning for Blue's Clues & You!, he had no idea he was competing with thousands of other actors vying to host the new Blue's Clues reboot. When the show's future host subsequently learned of the nationwide casting call he was part of, Dela Cruz admitted how mind-boggling it was that he was the one person chosen out of all those actors. "It's absolutely nuts," he told, declaring that "never in a million years" did he ever think that he'd "be that guy someday."

At the time, Dela Cruz confessed that he still hadn't come to grips with the reality of his new role. "I pinch myself every day. I keep thinking it's a dream, and I'm going to wake up and I'm on a show where I got Punk'd," he said. 

From Nickelodeon's perspective, however, Dela Cruz was selected because he was a standout. As Cathy Galeota, Nickelodeon's Senior Vice President of Preschool Content said of Dela Cruz in a Nickelodeon press release, his "wonderful theater background and his natural charisma checked all the boxes for us."

Josh Dela Cruz has performed on Broadway

Before he was cast in Blue's Clues & You!, Josh Dela Cruz had some limited TV experience, appearing in small roles in such TV series as Bull and Time After Time. His primary experience, however, had been as a theater actor in New York City. According to Nickelodeon's press release announcing his hiring, Dela Cruz appeared in such off-Broadway shows as David Byrne's Here Lies Love and Encores!: Merrily We Roll Along.

His most high-profile role was with the Broadway production of Disney's Aladdin, in which he served as a member of the ensemble as well as understudy for both Aladdin and Iago. As reported, he stepped in to play Aladdin for a temporary run in 2017 when star Adam Jacobs left the show to head the cast of the touring production.

Having been part of Aladdin since 2014, Dela Cruz admitted that by 2019 he was looking to expand his horizons. "There was still something more that I wanted at that point," he told ABC News. "I'd been with the show for just about five years. And I wanted to use the gifts and the skills that I had learned to help someone. [So] my agent sent me an audition for Blue's Clues."

Aladdin prepared Josh Dela Cruz for Blue's Clues

His years as part of the cast of Disney's Aladdin on Broadway proved to be the ideal training ground for Josh Dela Cruz and his subsequent role as host of Blue's Clues & You!. In an interview with SheKnows, Dela Cruz discussed how performing in the family-friendly stage production prepared him for his new gig. 

"Aladdin did me such a service, because I was able to play with the audience," he recalled, explaining how performing in front of those enthusiastic crowds, usually full of children, allowed him to to "feel their energy, bounce off their energy and really work on my timing and trusting myself and my instincts."

All of that enthusiasm came to be all the more important in Dela Cruz's new role, he pointed out, since he's performing sans-audience, in front of a green screen, with the animated elements of the show added in later. For an actor accustomed to responding to the energy of a crowd, Blue's Clues presented a new set of challenges. "Because when you get to [the Blue's Clues] set, everybody has to be quiet, so even if it's funny, nobody's laughing, and you just have to trust it," he explained.

Starstruck for the Black Eyed Peas

As the new host of Blue's Clues & You!, Josh Dela Cruz was tapped to appear in the 2019 edition of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, riding on the Blue's Clues float. Among the other performers at the event was pop group the Black Eyed Peas, and Dela Cruz admitted that he found himself becoming starstruck when he met band members Taboo and

Much how Dela Cruz is breaking boundaries by becoming the first Asian-American to lead the cast of a children's show on U.S. television, the Black Eyed Peas were also praised for their diversity during the height of their fame. "Apl has a lot of songs that are paying homage to his native tongue," explained Taboo to NPR in 2010. "He's from the Philippines. He has songs inspired by his culture. We have songs that are inspired by the Latin side. We have songs that are inspired by rock, African rhythms."

"My family and I idolized the Black Eyed Peas for their music, message and representing diversity," gushed Dela Cruz on his Instagram page, adding, "I still can't get over how down to earth and kind they are." It looks like the feeling was mutual, too, as Taboo can also be seen in the photo geeking out over Dela Cruz, with both celebs gleefully pointing at one another.

Josh Dela Cruz's proposal to his wife was incredibly sweet

Long before he became host of Blue's Clues, Josh Dela Cruz wound up making headlines for a stunningly romantic proposal he cooked up for longtime girlfriend Amanda Phillips (now his wife). Dela Cruz hatched a plan in which his lady believed they were creating a video of a choreographed dance routine, set to Frank Sinatra's "You Make Me Feel So Young," in various locations throughout New York City's Central Park. 

As they near the end of the number, Dela Cruz suddenly drops to one knee, something that he had not done in any of their previous rehearsals. As Phillips' face registers confusion, Dela Cruz pulls out a ring and pops the question. "She said yes!" declares an onlooker. 

Unbeknownst to Phillips, Dela Cruz had been secretly planning the proposal for some time. "It took about a month and a half to coordinate this with my castmates Donald Jones Jr. and Angelo Soriano, our choreographer and videographer respectively," Dela Cruz told Bustle. "I wanted it to be 100 percent real world scenario so that she wouldn't suspect anything. So we had about three rehearsals, spacing in the park, and even a rain date." We're not crying, you're crying.

Josh Dela Cruz was 'trending as a thirst trap on Twitter'

When Josh Dela Cruz was hired to be the host of Blue's Clues & You!, photos from his past began resurfacing on the internet, including a sultry shirtless pic that led the new star of a wholesome children's show to become the subject of some very unwholesome online conversations. 

Dela Cruz responded to all that online thirst in an interview with BuzzFeed News"It's definitely flattering," he shared but admitted it was also "a little weird only because you don't think in your life you'll ever get this kind of exposure ... I never, ever thought that I would trend on Twitter in any capacity."

Dela Cruz's wife, Amanda Dela Cruz, joked about Twitter's sudden obsession with her husband in an Instagram post, sharing her favorite quote from his BuzzFeed interview: "So thank you to everyone who's keeping this story alive, and in my old age I'll look back at the fond day that I was trending as a thirst trap on Twitter."