Credit: W.Teodoro/Zeduce/Robert Wallace/Splash News Photo: Joe Manganiello Seen at the ASTRA Awards in Sydney, Australia on July 25, 2013

Original story (August 28, 2013):

Devoted Truebies already know that Joe Manganiello has wowed audiences with his killer abs as both loner wolf Alcide on True Blood and stripper “Big Dick Richie” in the feature film Magic Mike, but what they might not know is that the talented actor has a classically trained background with a degree from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University.

Although Joe appreciates his fortune, he does find himself a bit frustrated by the focus of these roles! The handsome actor talked to the NY Post recently, saying, “Sometimes all I’m being asked to do is rip my shirt off and growl.” Not that anyone’s complaining, but still, we get it. This guy wants to work … something other than just his muscles.

Joe told the Post that lately his life has been tricky, explaining, “... this past year, I’ve been shooting one or two scenes an episode, which means I’m acting two or three days a month. It’s easy to not feel like an actor. I have to get my creativity out somehow.” Thus his decision to take a muscle-bound role with some chops: Joe is playing Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee William’s classic play A Streetcar Named Desire on stage this fall.

But his struggles don’t end with trying to satiate his creative desires. Opening up about his past, Joe addressed his problems with alcohol addiction in his 20s, saying, “I was homeless, carless, broke, struggling, jobless. I had horrendous relationships with everyone around me, family, friends. I didn’t act for four years. That’s just a slice of it.”

Joe further explained his ultimate low point: “The plane didn’t just crash; it skidded along the ground for a while. You get to a place where you’re afraid you’re going to do irreversible harm to yourself or to somebody else. That fear grows so great that you wake up one day and you don’t know where you’re headed, and you don’t know what to do, but you just know you can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing. Luckily, I wound up meeting some like-minded people who’d been down that road, who helped me out.”

Luckily, indeed. Joe also said that it took him awhile to get back to reality, but he’s grateful he landed the role of Alcide, and he’s celebrating 11 years sober this month.

He added, “I’m a better man for having gone through it. When I was at the point where I had completely failed at life, I swore that if success ever happened, if I ever had another opportunity, I’d never take it for granted. I would spend every waking moment making sure I did the best I could — that I was the best actor that I could be, the best artist, the best producer, son, brother, the best boyfriend.”

We’re so proud of Joe, and can’t wait to see him back on True Blood Season 7 next summer. In the meantime, we’ll buy some tickets for the theatre, read his upcoming exercise/memoir Evolution, and keep an eye out for the documentary he’s directing about a real-life male stripper in Dallas.

Whew! This gorgeous man has sure been busy. Anyone else keep re-reading that “best boyfriend” quote and almost passing out, or is it just us?

Update (December 4, 2013):

Joe describes his problem years in his new fitness tome, Evolution — and, in a new interview with HuffPost Live in promotion of the book (viewable below), he offers more reflection on the turbulent time.

"There was a period of about four years where I needed to quit drinking. And the drinking got in the way," he remembers. "It was one of those obstacles that I had to get over, and once again I needed to clear the road in order for these things to happen, so it really is an inside job. I had to clean up my act and figure that whole situation out."

Glad he finally found clarity in his life… and an enviable career!

Source: NY PostHuffPost Live