The untold truth of James Van Der Beek

Whether you swooned over James Van Der Beek on Dawson's Creek, Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23, or Varsity Blues, one thing is for sure: The heartthrob has still got it after more than 20 years in Hollywood.

Interestingly enough, Van Der Beek "never wanted to be an actor as a kid," according to a Good Morning America interview in March 2020. "I wanted to be an athlete," he said. But things took a turn when he "was 13 or 14 years old," which is when he "fell in love with acting."

In 1995, Van Der Beek starred in his first feature film, Angus, which didn't break box-office records, unfortunately. However, the Connecticut native persevered and continued to follow his dreams. "You just keep doing what you're doing," he said. "Trust your instincts." Then, in 1998, his big break came when he was cast as Dawson Leery in the teen drama Dawson's Creek. "My reaction to fame was to run away from it," he stated. "I didn't know what to do with fame. I didn't know what to do with recognizability."

Afterwards, Van Der Beek's career took off, and he went on to star in various television shows and movies, including Pose, CSI: Cyber, and What Would Diplo Do? More recently, in 2019, Van Der Beek made headlines after he appeared on Dancing with the Stars and immediately became a fan-favorite. 

Let's find out even more about Van Der Beek below. 

James Van Der Beek is done with his 'Dawson's Creek' character for good

Even though James Van Der Beek essentially owes his career to the WB show, Dawson's Creek, the actor would rather not talk about his stint as Dawson Leery — or reprise the role, for that matter. "Some characters live with you for a while and you wonder how they're doing and what they'd be doing now," he told The Guardian in 2017. "I felt pretty complete putting that one on the shelf and not looking at him again."

Don't even get Van Der Beek started on the catchy theme song, "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole. "If I was at karaoke and it started playing there's a part of me — and I'm a f**king grown a** man with four kids — that still wants to go hide under the table," he confessed. In fact, Van Der Beek recalled the time when he was "at a pharmacy in Philadelphia" when the catchy tune came on, and he "immediately went into a weird panic."

"I think it's tied to the pandemonium that accompanied that, for which there was no off button," he explained. "Walking around at that time was very tricky because one autograph could turn into a mob scene. So, I walked around in fear of teenage girls."

'Dancing with the Stars' totally transformed James Van Der Beek's body

James Van Der Beek got the chance to show off his moves every week on Dancing with the Stars in 2019, but the real transformation happened behind the scenes. In November 2019, the actor uploaded a before-and-after photo of his ripped body on Instagram. "Fight training vs. dancing," Van Der Beek captioned the snap. "I'd been training in Muay Thai three days a week for about six months (for the next project I'm writing) when I hit pause to dance six hours a day," he added. "Now, I can Rhumba."

As for what the Pose star ate while training for the reality show? "Lot of fruit, vegetables, lots of smoothies, salads," he wrote in reply to an Instagram comment (via Men's Health). "I danced early in the day so pretty much ate vegan until dinner. Had to keep it light fare because we didn't really take breaks. Not so much a diet... more like only wanting to eat what I knew would make me feel good under the workload."

Clearly, Van Der Beek hasn't forgotten about his dancing skills just yet, since he posted a sweaty selfie in July 2020. "Have to slide the kids' beds to the side of the room, use a mirror I made out of mylar, avoid doing it during nap time, and manage to barrel turn gently so as not to send my AirPods flying... but I'm dancing. And loving it," he wrote.

James Van Der Beek's wife suffered several miscarriages

James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly Brook, got married in August 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel, per Distractify, and since then, they've welcomed five kids into their lives. But in November 2019, Van Der Beek — who shares Olivia, Joshua, Annabel, Emilia, and Gwendolyn with his wife — revealed on Dancing with the Stars that Brook suffered a miscarriage.

"My wife Kimberly and I went through every expecting parent's worst nightmare," he said on the show, per People. "We lost the baby. The little soul that we had expected to welcome into our family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond." At the time, Van Der Beek told People that he and Brook were "hanging in there" following the "scary situation." However, Van Der Beek appreciated all of the sweet messages he received from friends, family, and fans.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck again in June 2020 when the parents announced Brook had suffered another miscarriage — her fifth in nine years, People reported. "After suffering a brutal, very public miscarriage last November, we were overjoyed to learn we were pregnant," Van Der Beek wrote on Instagram at the time.

"This time, we kept the news to ourselves," he added. "But last weekend, once again, 17 weeks in... the soul we'd been excited to welcome into the world had lessons for our family that did not include joining us in a living physical body."

Here's how James Van Der Beek bonds with his kids

Despite being a celebrity, James Van Der Beek enjoys the simple things — especially when it comes to hanging with his five children. The Varsity Blues actor admitted his favorite way to bond with his kiddos is when they all travel and go on adventures together. "We got in an RV this holiday and we just drove," he told Fatherly in January 2020.

"We had no idea where we'd sleep or where we'd park at the end of the day — we'd just get a map and try to find some out of the way place in nature," he said. "That kind of adventure, I discovered, is my favorite thing. You put your phone down. In most places, your phone doesn't even work. And you're just present with them."

Van Der Beek couldn't help but gush over the "amazing conversations" he had with his tots. "Just putting myself in a position where we get to connect is always the goal," he said. "But traveling like that? And going on those adventures, to places I've never been and we're all discovering at the same time? When you travel, you leave with your kids and you come back with teenagers."

Right now, Van Der Beek's kids still think he "is cool" — something he knows won't last forever. "I'm just relishing that while it lasts," he quipped. But could Van Der Beek ever actually be uncool? It sure doesn't seem like it!