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Few people seem to win like Joe Manganiello, the 42-year-old. Men & # 39; s Health Cover Star and Leader in Bottom of the Ninth (as of July 19) .You probably know Manganiello best as the mangled 6-foot-5 colossus that is in True Blood (19459011) and Magic Mike (19459011), or as Sofia Vergara – he married the 46-year-old Colombian star of the modern family in 2015.
Manganiello, however, suffered its own slump.  "There was a point where I really believed that I was broken beyond the point that I can not be fixed anymore," Manganiello said in an interview for the June cover of Men & # 39; s Health . It was 2002 and Manganiello was a 25-year-old, his first Ka He played a role in Spiderman – while struggling with a serious alcohol misuse problem.
"Drinking was a way for me not to have to deal with myself," he says. "And I think acting was a way for me not to be myself. So I could go on stage and not be me, come off the stage and go to the bar and not be me. Rinse and repeat.
The fight was so serious that Manganiello did not act for four years. Instead, he tried a number of side jobs as a DJ, as a roadie for the band Goldfinger and as a demolitionist. He also spent two summers distributing cigarettes for Camel.
"When I look back on this phase, I do not like to think about myself," he says. "And if I had a son selling cigarettes, I would be like that, do not do that." I'm just telling this to prove a point, but I donated my car to the American Cancer Society instead of selling it to alleviate any kind of guilt I would later feel. And I did not mean to be a hypocrite, or if there is karma, whatever karma is, to break that. I'm not telling you that so I look like a good person. It was not really altruistic. I wanted to feel better. He says the work he did with his hands helped him find his inner compass. "Hard physical work is the best work you can do for your soul, even when working in the garden."
Manganiello is now sober for 17 years. When he stopped drinking forever, he assessed every aspect of his life and set a new course. During his self-discovery phase, he also began to practice transcendental meditation, which he still does today.
"I'll do it as soon as I wake up. Twenty minutes, "he says." Yes, I'll sleep and just sit up and do it. There is a reason why meditation is 4,000 years old. The word Mantra – thought vehicle – I think true. During meditation, some profound things happened to me.
A more physical activity that helps Manganiello reduce stress has a positive effect. "I usually train six days a week – a mix of bodybuilding and CrossFit," he says. "The thing with me is, that I'm thin by nature. I will lose weight if I do not exercise. I let the air off. My wife jokes and says I'm full of air because when I'm not exercising while I thin out and then a week back at the gym and I blow up again. She says, "There has to be a bicycle pump in the basement."
Manganiello adds that he likes roles like [19459010mag] Magic Mike and the upcoming Deathstroke which requires him to gain a lot of muscle power. "It's fun to lift so much, all your numbers go up when you start gaining weight, and I ate like an animal, I trained so much that I could eat what I wanted, one of everything on the breakfast menu, Porterhouses for two just for me, I like it's easy to be big, really big. "
Manganiello lets off a different kind of muscle as he hosts his weekly session Dungeons & Dragons in the basement of his home. "I love it – while playing Dungeons & Dragons, I found out how to develop a character and how to narrate long storytelling stories like in a TV show," he says. He even develops some new characters for Dungeons & Dragons . "I'm going to make characters heavy metal and as evil as anyone has ever seen, I'm talking to Iron Maiden . I've also turned to friends in other bands. It's a possibility for me, between projects I try to find things that I have a passion for, because everyone is at their best when they have a passion for something. "