June 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM ET
Channing Tatum will soon show moviegoers a side of himself he's never revealed on the big screen before when his highly-anticipated, stripper-centric summer flick "Magic Mike" comes out. But for the actor, there's nothing new about the role.
In this case, the fiction is heavily inspired by reality, and Tatum knows a thing or two about taking it all off.
During a Wednesday morning visit to TODAY, the star shared details of his own stripper past and eventually revealed much more.
"Man, it was a crazy time in my life," he said of his not-so-glamorous dancing days at the age of 18. "I'm not ashamed of it, but I don't know if I'm … not proud of it. It was definitely a crazy part of my life, and I survived it."
And back then it was all about survival. Tatum wanted to make it on his own and not have to rely on his parents, who, as it turns out, were none the wiser about his gig.
"They never knew," he told TODAY's Al Roker. "I never told them. I was like, 'Ah, you know, I'm just working at this other job over here, over there.' But my dad ended up having to find out when I did ('The Ellen DeGeneres Show'). I gave Ellen a lap dance."
So much for family secrets. But of course, as far as his wife, actress Jenna Dewan is concerned, it was never a secret.
"She married a stripper -- kind of," Tatum insisted. "She knew what she was getting into, and it was kind of a prerequisite that I would always, you know, give her dances if she wanted one."
After that reveal, Tatum explained his Broadway ambitions for "Magic Mike," but he was soon interrupted by his body-rolling co-star Joe Manganiello. Of course, it was an interruption that Tatum was prepared for, as it kicked off a flash mob led by the easy-on-the-eyes actor.
Tatum and a few dozen dancers then showed off some of the moves that make "Magic Mike" a must-see flick right in the middle of Rockefeller Plaza.
"Magic Mike" opens in theaters nationwide on June 29.