Tragic Details About Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum is known for his fit physique and notable roles in films like "Magic Mike" and "21 Jump Street." A runway model for designer brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Sean John, he found success in the fashion industry. However, he revealed in an interview that he did not see himself as a model for long. "I don't know if I'm a long-term model. I don't really think I've got what it takes to make a million bucks or whatever," he said during Milan Fashion Week in 2002 (per Glamour). Even then, Tatum knew acting was in his future, stating, "I would love to go into acting or even some kind of designing or something like that. We'll see."

The "Magic Mike" star worked as a real-life male strip club dancer prior to landing modeling gigs. He spoke on why he was drawn to dancing in an interview with Vanity Fair. "I was broke, a vagabond," Tatum admitted. "I did it because it was fun. We say a line in [Magic Mike]: 'It's girls, money, and a good time.' That's all you need for an 18- or 19-year-old. I liked the dancing."

Tatum's eventful background eventually led him to become a successful movie star. While it may seem like he has had it all, however, he has endured some devastating moments. From childhood trauma to a difficult divorce, these tragic details about Channing Tatum suggest the star often pushes past the pain to deliver his best performance.

Channing Tatum had to 'starve' himself for Magic Mike

Channing Tatum's role as Michael "Magic Mike" Lane in the "Magic Mike" films brought attention to his muscular build. Many fans might assume the actor's toned abs are the result of an extremely healthy lifestyle, but this couldn't be further from the truth. 

Tatum opened up about the strict (and unhealthy) diet and workout plan he had to adhere to while preparing for "Magic Mike 3." During an interview on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Clarkson asked Tatum about his typical workout habits. He clarified that the brutal movie preparation was not normal. "Even if you do workout, to be that kind of in shape ... it's not natural," the actor revealed. "You have to starve yourself ... I don't think, when you're that lean, it's actually healthy for you," he explained.

The regimen was so intense that Tatum considered passing up his role in the film. When a photo featuring the actor's body in "Magic Mike" showed up on the screen behind him during the interview, he told Clarkson that "that might be the reason why" he was hesitant to film "Magic Mike 3" at first, hinting that he had difficulties with the unhealthy lifestyle he was expected to stick to in order to maintain that lean physical appearance.

The actor lost his childhood best friend

In 2018, Channing Tatum shared a heartfelt message on social media regarding the passing of his childhood friend, Corey Vaughn. The actor tweeted a photo of what appears to be him and Vaughn as children in their football uniforms. 

Along with the photo, the actor shared a message that read, in part, "I'll never forget his crazy a** and how he stuck up for and protected me when I first moved to Mississippi. He'd a fought anybody. All the laughs and trouble we [got into]." Tatum continued, writing about how Vaughn's passing made him prioritize his loved ones. "'I'll never be able to see that smile of [Corey's] again in this life. And it just made me need to remind everybody don't put off anything. Seeing a friend, or even calling or texting. You never know what's next."

Tatum's ex-wife, Jenna Dewan, shared a message of support for the actor during the difficult time. She commented on a now-deleted Instagram post that her ex-husband shared in remembrance of Vaughn. "RIP Corey. All the love in the world to his family right now," Dewan wrote (via Marie Claire). The tragedy must have had a significant impact on Tatum, given that his ex-wife publicly reached out amid their separation.

He was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia as a child

Channing Tatum has been very transparent about how his ADHD and dyslexia diagnoses impacted his childhood. 

In an interview with The New York Times Style Magazine, the actor spoke about how he struggled with school and learning. "I have never considered myself a very smart person for a lot of reasons," he admitted. "Not having early success on that one path messes with you." Tatum continued, mentioning how he felt like he didn't fit in at school at all. "You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, Okay, so this is where I'm at," he shared. "Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, All right, I'm obviously not like these kids either. So you're kind of nowhere. You're just different."

Tatum still deals with the impact of his ADHD and dyslexia as a successful actor. He explained to Vanity Fair that he has setbacks when reading scripts, but he doesn't let this get in the way of his performance. "I read so slow," he told the magazine. "If I have a script I'm going to read it five times slower than any other actor, but I'll be able to tell you everything in it."

The 21 Jump Street star had depression as a child

Channing Tatum's ADHD and dyslexia did more than just affect his time in school — they led him to develop depression as a child. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Tatum shared that he was prescribed stimulants to help him focus in school, but the medication had adverse effects on his mental health. "I truly believe some people need medication," he said during the interview. "I did not. I did better at school when I was on it, but it made me a zombie. You become obsessive. Dexedrine, Adderall. It's like any other drug."

It seems the impact was so severe that it influenced Tatum's parenting choices. He told the publication that he would "never do it" to his child as a result of his own experiences with these drugs. "The more you do, the less it works," he stated. "For a time, it would work well. Then it worked less and my pain was more. I would go through wild bouts of depression, horrible comedowns. I understand why kids kill themselves. I absolutely do. You feel terrible. You feel soul-less. I'd never do it to my child."

In a 2019 Instagram video, Tatum revealed that he attends therapy, and encouraged his fans to do the same. "I was just in therapy yesterday ... Yeah I'm in therapy, whatever. Everybody just be in therapy," he said.

The actor went through a divorce

Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum met in 2006 while filming "Step Up." The pair soon began dating and eventually got married in 2009. The duo welcomed their first child (their daughter Everly) in 2013. On the surface, it seemed that Dewan and Tatum's marriage would survive the pressures of fame and Hollywood, but, as with many relationships, there were problems behind-the-scenes.

In a 2018 interview with Health magazine, Dewan opened up about some of the challenges she and Tatum faced in their relationship. "When people say you guys have such a perfect life, I want to scream and tell them no one's perfect," the dancer shared. She also explained that while she and Tatum were willing to put in the work to maintain a healthy relationship, they still had their moments. "We fight like other couples, we disagree about things, we have days where we don't really like each other."

The couple announced their divorce a few months after the Health magazine article was released. Dewan broke the news on Instagram by sharing a post that clarified there was no animosity between her and her ex-husband. "There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision — just two best-friends realizing it's time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible." Even with Dewan's reassurance that the couple ended things on a positive note, Tatum was likely deeply saddened by the drastic life change.

He almost quit acting after his divorce

Channing Tatum opened up about the hardships he faced after his divorce. In an interview with Variety, he revealed he was so shaken by the split that he reevaluated his entire career and questioned whether he wanted to continue acting. "Was I going to direct? Do I want to be in the industry anymore? I got lucky. I won a creative lottery ticket. I made a little bit of money, so I could take a step back and figure out what life is," he told the publication. 

And that was exactly what he did. Tatum stepped away from acting to pursue other endeavors. "I really took time off," he continued. "I sculpted. I took pictures. I wrote my own stuff, not like a script or anything. Just creating on different levels. I wanted to take a breather."

Luckily for fans, the "Magic Mike" star refocused his creativity rather than abandoning it entirely. He wrote a children's book and worked on TV shows and movies behind-the-scenes. Tatum was interviewed by Parents magazine about the book he wrote, called "The One and Only Sparkella," that was intended to help single fathers connect with their daughters. He said he had "a lot of fear" being a single father, but the situation became a positive one. "I jumped with both feet into this magical world, and I was rewarded with a kind of love that I don't think I would have ever been able to have otherwise."

The White House Down star's initial directorial debut fell through

Channing Tatum opened up to Variety about being upset when his plans to direct a movie based on the "X-Men" character, Gambit, fell through. Tatum and his production partner, Reid Carolin, had gotten pretty far along in developing the movie when they got the news the studio was no longer interested in the project. "We were right on the one-yard line," Carolin told Variety. "We had cast the film. We'd opened up a production office. We were on our way to shoot in New Orleans." Unfortunately, things came to a halt when The Walt Disney Company acquired Twentieth Century Fox, leading to a potential reboot of the "X-Men" franchise. 

The duo's lack of directing experience didn't help either. "The studio really didn't want us to direct it," Tatum admitted. "They wanted anybody but us, essentially, because we had never directed anything."

Tatum revealed he was so hurt by the film's cancellation that he essentially boycotted Marvel films. "Once 'Gambit' went away, I was so traumatized," he said. "I shut off my Marvel machine. I haven't been able to see any of the movies. I loved that character. It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him." Tatum revealed he was still open to play Gambit, but maybe not direct, admitting, "I don't think we should direct it. I think that was hubris on our part." 

His actual directorial debut was inspired by the death of his dog

Although he was unable to make his directorial debut with "Gambit," Channing Tatum did eventually find himself behind the camera, helming the film "Dog," inspired by the story of his own dog, Lulu. 

When Lulu was diagnosed with cancer, Tatum decided he wanted to make her last moments special, so he embarked on a road trip with her. That trip would go on to inspire the plot of "Dog." "When I went on my last road trip with my puppy, [I experienced] that feeling of, 'There's nothing I can do. There's nothing left to do,'" he revealed in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. "You just have to accept it and be thankful for the time that you did get and know that they're not supposed to be here forever. I'm supposed to go on and she has to go someplace else."

"Dog" focuses on a veteran who drives a military dog to her handler's funeral and the bond the duo form along the way. And luckily for the audience, the star of "Dog" survives the film. "We're doing a very different story," Tatum clarified in the Yahoo! Entertainment interview. "It was the end of a relationship that inspired us, but we wanted to make sure that we told a story about the beginning of a relationship and the parts of our friendships with our dogs that really left these lasting impressions of fun and adventure in our lives."