The Untold Truth About Adam Rodriguez

For viewers of CBS procedural crime dramas, Adam Rodriguez has been a near-constant presence on the network for two decades. To fans of "CSI: Miami," he's best known for his 10 seasons as investigator Eric Delko. For fans of "Criminal Minds," however, he's recognized for playing FBI Special Agent Luke Alvez on the show's final four seasons. 

Rodriguez didn't always want to be an actor. "The dream was to play professional baseball, and I had a level of talent that made that dream something potentially possible," he told High Times. This pursuit didn't pan out due to what he described as a lack of "discipline" at the time, but he'd go on to build an acting résumé loaded with home runs. In addition to the aforementioned procedurals, his credits include the movie "Magic Mike" and its sequel, along with roles in popular TV series such as "Brooklyn South," "Felicity," "Roswell," "Ugly Betty," "The Night Shift," "Empire," and "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels." In 2021, the work kept rolling in — he joined the cast of the NBC drama "Ordinary Joe" and nabbed a starring role in the 2021 CBS holiday rom-com "A Christmas Proposal." 

There's no question that film and TV viewers have seen a whole lot of the actor over the years, but how much do they really know about the man behind all those roles? There's plenty more to learn by reading on and uncovering the untold truth about Adam Rodriguez.

Adam Rodriguez had legit strip-club cred before joining Magic Mike

When Adam Rodriguez was cast as a male stripper named Tito in "Magic Mike," he had just six weeks to get his body into peak shape for all those shirtless dancing scenes. Speaking with Men's Journal, he detailed the rigorous fitness regime he undertook and also revealed that he had some previous offscreen experience with strip clubs — he worked as a DJ in a club featuring female exotic dancers when he was just 16.

"There was a club my friends and I used to go to, and they weren't too diligent about checking IDs," he explained, figuring his employers "assumed" he was 18 and never bothered to confirm. "I loved music, had my own DJ setup and a ton of records, and they needed a DJ, so I started working there," he added. "It was kind of a dump, but my friends all thought [my job] was cool as hell."

Rodriguez had more to say about his DJ job during a 2015 appearance on "The Talk," as documented by Contact Music, hinting that he witnessed a lot more than just gyrating naked bodies while on the job. "My eyes were like saucers, but actually it was a bit more into the dark side of that life," he said. "It sounds more like, 'Oh, that must have been really cool,' but it actually was a lesson more than it was anything special." 

He really regrets his grandma going to see Magic Mike

Adam Rodriguez had built up an extensive roster of TV credits by the time he was cast as Tito in "Magic Mike," his first major film role. Given that, it's not surprising that the actor's grandmother would want to head to the nearest multiplex to watch him on the big screen, and when she did, she brought along a bunch of her friends from the seniors' complex where she lives.

However, as Rodriguez admitted in a 2015 interview with PopSugar, he really wished that she hadn't. "She was all excited to take her girlfriends to the movie, and they all went and she just left me a really nasty message after she got out of the movie about why did I let her go see this movie and why did I do that?" he recalled. "She didn't like it. She wasn't mad at me, but I think she was a little embarrassed. I don't think she knew what she was in for."

Discussing the 2015 follow-up "Magic Mike XXL," Rodriguez figured it was a pretty safe bet that his grandma wouldn't be going to see the sequel. But just one month later, he told RTÉ that she was actually looking forward to watching it — and so were her pals. "They're ready to 'make it rain'. They've got their money," he joked. 

Adam Rodriguez got married in Tuscany

In 2016, Adam Rodriguez tied the knot with model Grace Gail in a romantic ceremony held in Tuscany, Italy. According to a report in People, the wedding was held at Borgo Pignano, described as "a 750-acre hilltop estate." "There is love all around here," a guest proclaimed of the "beautiful" nuptials. Two years earlier, the then-unmarried Rodriguez spoke with Glamour and revealed that his dream wedding playlist would include a lot of Lionel Richie. "My wedding song would be 'Endless Love' with him and Diana Ross," he divulged. "And then we play 'All Night Long' and 'Dancing on the Ceiling' at the party!"

While Rodriguez didn't confirm that any of these songs were played at his wedding, what isn't in doubt is that he and Gail wasted little time when it came to starting a family; in fact, the newlyweds were already parents of daughter Frankie Elle, who had arrived two years prior to their wedding. She was followed by a second daughter, Georgie Daye, born in 2017, and, as People reported, son Bridgemont Bernard Rodriguez, born in 2020. 

Fatherhood, Rodriguez told Parents, has been "the most challenging role I've ever had. But it has also elevated the love I have for everything and made me a better husband, friend, and actor. It's a gift."

The actor's ideal travel destination is a European favorite

When Adam Rodriguez has some vacation time, one of his favorite ways to spend it is by traveling. Speaking with the Chicago Tribune, he revealed that his hands-down favorite travel destination is the country in which he was married. He pointed out that there are a lot of reasons to love Italy, saying, "You've got great food and wine, mountains, beaches, beautiful countryside, not overly populated if you stay out of the major cities during the high season, friendly people and on and on."

Due to a language barrier, he sometimes found communicating with Italians to be difficult. However, he said there was something "adventurous" about it. "I enjoy that. Having to figure things out with the use of hand gestures and little bits of English or Spanish thrown into my very broken Italian is a constant reminder that I'm actually traveling," he explained. He also recommended an off-the-beaten-path destination in the country that's become one of his favorites. "Porto Ercole. It's a small fishing village about an hour and a half north of Rome. It's quiet, clean and beautiful," he said.

Interestingly, his most cherished travel memory didn't take place in Italy but did involve the woman he married there. It was "a two-week road trip in a 1977 orange Volkswagen bus that my then-girlfriend and now wife drove up the California coast." He also told Glamour that he's fond of New York, describing the city as "just unbeatable."

Why he returned to CSI: Miami after a contract dispute led him to exit

Adam Rodriguez had been a series regular on "CSI: Miami" since its 2002 debut. In 2009, however, he shocked fans by announcing plans to leave the show. As Entertainment Weekly reported at the time, he softened the blow by negotiating a 10-episode return for the following season in order to give his character, Eric Delko, "a proper send-off." At the time, his crowded schedule also included a new role on "Ugly Betty."

However, the following year, Rodriguez proclaimed via Twitter that he'd be returning to "CSI: Miami" full-time, news that was confirmed by TV Guide. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rodriguez revealed his decision to exit came about when the network refused to meet his contract demands. During the initial talks about his future on the show, he said, "It was really CBS that walked away [from negotiations] quickly. I'm not going to pull any punches, that's just the way it was."

However, he and the network were eventually able to hammer out a deal, and Rodriguez credited the show's loyal viewers for bringing CBS back to the negotiating table. "I think when the fans got the news that Delko wasn't going to be back full-time and when they actually saw he wasn't back full-time, they felt there was something missing from the show," he explained. "They were very vocal about that and I have to give credit to CBS that they paid attention to it."

Adam Rodriguez fit right in on Criminal Minds

When "CSI: Miami" was canceled in 2012, Adam Rodriguez did not remain unemployed for long. Following recurring stints on a string of TV series ("Reckless," "The Night Shift," "Empire," "Jane the Virgin") — and reprising his role as Tito in "Magic Mike XXL" — he joined the cast of an entirely different CBS crime procedural when he was hired for "Criminal Minds" in 2016. As Essence reported, Rodriguez was brought in to replace Shemar Moore, who exited the show to pursue other opportunities. Moore later landed the lead role in another CBS series, "S.W.A.T." 

As Rodriguez explained in an interview with Parade, joining an already-established hit is a very different experience from forming the cast of a brand-new series as it launches. "Having done a show that aired for a decade, you know the camaraderie, the relationships that get formed, so being a new guy is a bit of a challenge, like: How am I going to fit in with this group that's already so close knit?" he said. 

However, Rodriguez revealed that he was immediately welcomed and felt like part of the "Criminal Minds" family from the moment that he arrived. "I've got to tell you, I've been here six months now, but probably from day two or three, I felt like I'd been there from the beginning," he gushed. "It's such a great group of people from the top down."

He once hosted a podcast with a very popular name

Like many actors and celebrities in recent years, Adam Rodriguez launched a podcast. In "The Rodcast," he and Brett Rodriguez, a military veteran and TV producer, discussed "what matters and make fun of what doesn't," with their wide range of topics ranging from sports to sex to current events. Adam tried doing standup comedy for one episode, and one of their guests was NFL player Keith Bulluck.

The podcast was short-lived, consisting of just six episodes that aired in early 2016. While the podcast appears to now be defunct, its Twitter account still exists as of this writing, albeit with just 76 followers and no new posts since 2016, while its Instagram account — which likewise hasn't been active since 2016 — has just 213 followers.

While Adam hasn't spoken publicly about why he didn't continue the podcast, its lack of longevity could have something to do with the fact that there are other podcasts out there with identical titles. For example, there's a "Rodcast" that discusses property and business management in Britain. Another "Rodcast" is named for its host, Roderick Tolliver. Adding to the confusion is the existence of a third "Rodcast" that serves as the official podcast of the American Hot Rod Foundation. There's also a Canadian blog devoted to flyfishing called The Rodcast.

The Magic Mike star has appeared in his fair share of music videos

In addition to Adam Rodriguez's impressive array of film and television work, he's also appeared in several music videos over the years. Among these are videos for the Jennifer Lopez hit "If You Had My Love," Busta Rhymes' "Respect My Conglomerate," 50 Cent's "Many Men," and Lionel Richie's "I Call It Love," in which Rodriguez gets to make serious goo-goo eyes at Richie's daughter, Nicole Richie.

When he received an offer in 1999 to appear in JLo's video, he was initially hesitant. "When I got the call to do that video, Jennifer was a friend at the time," he told TooFab. "I actually think she called, she called and said, 'Do you want to do this music video?' and I was like, 'I'm an actor, I don't really want to be in a music video, it's not what I'm shooting for.'"

After a bit of cajoling from Lopez, he finally agreed. "Sure enough and smart of me, got off my stupid high horse ... I went and did it, fortunately," he said. On "A Little Late With Lilly Singh," Rodriguez described his character, saying that he was supposed to be "fantasizing about" Lopez and was "naturally enthralled by" her in the video, which went on to rack up more than 146 million views on YouTube. "Never imagined the video would have the amount of eyeballs that have seen that over the course of time," he told TooFab. 

Adam Rodriguez's strangest job was also his most disgusting

Prior to becoming a famous, highly paid actor, it's fair to say Adam Rodriguez wasn't living in the lap of luxury. That hit home during a 2018 appearance on "Larry King Now" when he was asked to divulge the strangest job he'd ever held. "Cleaning toilets in Penn Station," he replied with no hesitation. "I did it one day, I never went back."

According to TV Guide, that was just one of many non-glamorous jobs he'd held before hitting it big. He was a bellman at a hotel, and he worked in construction while he was enrolled in community college. He never graduated, and his forward-thinking parents didn't approve of his decision to focus on becoming an actor instead. "My family was very big on education," he explained to Fox News. "A formal education didn't seem like something that was going to help me at the time."

What did seem like something that would fuel his dream was becoming a stockbroker. "I thought perhaps being a stockbroker would be a way I could build a nest egg for a few years, not have to be a 'starving actor,' and then go out and pursue what I really wanted to do," he explained in an interview with High Times. Eventually, however, he quit when he came to the realization that he didn't want to inadvertently become consumed by a career that would prevent him from chasing his true passion.

He has accumulated a tidy fortune

Given that Adam Rodriguez starred in not one, but two of CBS's most successful procedural crime dramas — "CSI: Miami" (at one point the "most popular" television series in the world) and "Criminal Minds" — it shouldn't be surprising to learn that the actor made some big money over the years. In fact, he's accumulated a nest egg estimated at $16 million by Celebrity Net Worth.

We're not certain what exactly Rodriguez was getting paid for his biggest TV roles, but Shemar Moore's salary doubled from $50,000 to $100,000 per episode of "Criminal Minds" in 2011, per Deadline. Since Rodriguez was Moore's replacement, it's safe to say that his paycheck was also nothing to sneeze at. According to The Hollywood Reporter, even little-known actors could make up to $25,000 per episode as series regulars on television in 2014.

Rodriguez has come a long way since he worked as a bellman, a job that earned him just $8 an hour in the '90s, he told Hispanicize. He said that he "was always a hustler," recalling how he shoveled snow, collected bottles, and "sold greeting cards door-to-door" to make money as a kid. "Anything that I saw an opportunity to be able to capitalize on, I went after it," he revealed. After he became a successful actor, some of his splurges included a trip to Maui and tickets for Game 1 of the 2013 World Series, which cost an average of $795, per SeatGeek.

Adam Rodriguez launched a second career as a director

When Adam Rodriguez renegotiated his deal to return to "CSI: Miami," he told Entertainment Weekly that he convinced the network "to sweeten the deal" by letting him "write and direct at least one episode" of the show. "That was something that was really attractive to me," he said.

As Rodriguez's IMDb credits demonstrate, he went on to direct two episodes of "CSI: Miami" in 2011 and 2012, in addition to an episode of the CBS drama "Scorpion," followed by two episodes of "Criminal Minds" after he joined the show in 2016. Stepping behind the camera to direct shows in which he's also an actor — and give direction to his fellow cast members — is not without its challenges, and he admitted he tends to tread lightly. "Actors who've performed the same role for years know that character better than any director who comes in wanting to give them a note, quite honestly," he explained in an interview with TV Insider. "But there's a way to give direction that excites the actor, especially if they've been caught up in the day-to-day work and forgot that they can have fun!"

He also shared the big takeaway he's learned from directing that has continued to resonate with him. "Knowing the rules of the game, and then seeing how creative you can be within those rules," he said.

He's committed to the advancement of Latino actors in Hollywood

Being of Puerto Rican heritage, Adam Rodriguez has had a firsthand glimpse at the struggles of the immigrant experience in America. As an actor, he's also weathered the challenges of being a minority in Hollywood, where a 2019 study found that Latino actors had less than five percent of all speaking roles in television and film. 

Rodriguez is committed to increasing opportunity for the Latino community in Hollywood, and he has determined that a big part of achieving that lies behind the camera. "I think that we [Latinos] have to increase our presence on the creative side," he told Hispanic Network. "We have to grow writers and directors and executives and people that become people of influence within the system. We can't expect a business that is not run by us to all of sudden decide they want to include us. We have to do the work to get in there and make ourselves important."

However, he added an important caveat: Whenever shows featuring a Latino cast and storylines do get made, it's incumbent upon the community to demonstrate its support in order to achieve successes that can be built on. "When we do get into those positions of power, when we are creating the content we want to see; we have to show up to consume it," he explained. "We have to show up for ourselves."

Everybody keeps mistaking Adam Rodriguez for David Blaine

One thing that has continually dogged Adam Rodriguez throughout his career has been his resemblance to magician David Blaine, known for such headline-making stunts as spending seven days in a coffin made of plexiglass and encasing himself within a giant ice block for over two days. 

According to Rodriguez, getting mistaken for Blaine has become something of a regular occurrence in his life. In an interview with TV Guide, he recalled attending a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York City when someone he assumed was a fan asked him to pose for a photo.

"The guy I'm taking the picture with is going, 'Hey, don't disappear on me or anything,' and I'm like, 'Alright, I won't,'" Rodriguez recalled. "And then he said something else alluding to magic and I go, 'Who do you think I am?' And he goes, 'You're the magician guy! David Blaine!' And I'm like, 'No!' And his friends are going, 'No! He's on that show 'CSI: Miami!'" While Rodriguez isn't a magician, during an appearance on "A Little Late With Lilly Singh," he did reveal that he possesses a talent that many of them have: the ability to juggle.

He's a weed aficionado — unless he's working

Living in California, a state in which marijuana is fully legalized, it's not surprising that Adam Rodriguez has become quite fond of cannabis. However, while he'll use weed recreationally, it's not something he'd ever do on the job. "I don't work high because I feel like I'm getting paid to do work that I need to be completely present for," he admitted in an interview with High Times, noting he feels that marijuana places his mind on a "different frequency." 

There are some weed-related areas of overlap between his recreational and professional life. "However, I will read scripts with both the sober and high mind, and will certainly spend a lot of time pontificating about aspects of a character and their personality with both minds," he said. Marijuana also popped up in the storyline of a "CSI: Miami" episode that saw Rodriguez's character, Eric Delko, almost lose his job after purchasing it.

As Rodriguez explained, his affinity for marijuana deepened considerably when he began growing his own. "I wanted to know where my stuff was coming from and where it was being sourced from, so I decided to take things into my own hands and grow my own plants," he revealed. As he spent half a decade perfecting the process, he "really developed a greater understanding and appreciation for cultivating that opened my mind to a lot of things about life and how it works and nature in general."