Michael B. Jordan has racked up accolades for his acting talent for nearly two decades, but he's still learning to be comfortable in the Hollywood spotlight.
He recently discussed with Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY how he navigates this dynamic, especially when it comes to his relationship with model Lori Harvey. Earlier this year, the "Black Panther" star, 34, confirmed they were dating with a sweet Instagram post, surprising fans who'd been used to the actor being very private about his personal life.
"Is it easier for you to kind of let that wall down a little bit?" Willie asked.
"You know, just understanding the industry, it's not all glitter and gold. I'm still very private," Jordan answered. "I still keep a lot of stuff to myself."
But Jordan is starting to become more open, he said, with one particular goal in mind.
"There's certain areas of my life that I chose to put out there, more of a way to be like, 'All right, it's there. Now we've got to move on, right?'"
"Yeah, we can move on," he added, laughing.
The actor, who currently stars in the thriller "Without Remorse," based on the Tom Clancy novel, is also getting more comfortable with his bonafide sex symbol status. After People magazine named him the Sexiest Man Alive last year, Jordan took it in stride, even if the title made him a target among his closest pals.
"I just smile, man," Jordan said. "Hey, look, just smile and enjoy it. Trust me, I got enough people around me, my friends and family who give me enough s---. They keep me pretty grounded and humble. But it's it's all fun."
He added: "Imagine all the group chats of your closest friends, and everything that you do is because you're the Sexiest Man Alive. It's annoying after a while. But it's cool."
Years before earning the title, Jordan was growing up in Newark, New Jersey, and focused on sports. When he was 11, a chance encounter in his mom's doctor's office led to career as a child model.
"The receptionist had two little boys who were in the industry," he recalled, adding that the receptionist encouraged Jordan's mom to bring him to an upcoming audition.
"I crashed this audition and ended up booking it. I got in trouble because I didn’t have any representation or whatever the case is," he quipped. "Honestly, you know, the rest was history."
Modeling led to small acting parts. Jordan booked guest appearances on hit TV shows including "Cosby" and "The Sopranos" before landing his breakout role as Wallace on HBO's "The Wire" in 2002.
"That was when I really fell in love with acting," Jordan said of his time on the critically acclaimed series.
The following year, he joined the soap opera "All My Children," taking over the role of troubled teen Reggie Montgomery from his future "Black Panther" co-star Chadwick Boseman. In the Marvel flick, Boseman played the heroic king T'Challa while Jordan played his villainous cousin Erik Killmonger. The duo may have had a bitter relationship in the movie, but off-screen the actors were close friends.
Boseman died of colon cancer last August at age 43, and Jordan remembered him as a "special person" who'll continue inspiring fans for years to come in his conversation with Willie.
"It's a tragic loss for all of us ... for me ... our community," he said. "We're still dealing with it, you know? I think we're still processing."
"His legacy that he left behind, the impact that he's made on so many people around the world, his family — he lives forever."