This man makes us swoon! We can’t believe his trifling ex pulled the wool over his eyes like this. Elba is featured on one of three different covers for GQ’s October “Style Manual” issue. (The other covers are Jeff Bridges and Justin Theroux.) GQ catches up with Elba while DJing in Ibiza, opening for Fatboy Slim, and discusses his rise to fame, as well as the hardships he’s endured along the way, including selling drugs to make ends meet before scoring his big acting break on The Wire, ironically enough, as a drug dealer, but of course we were most intrigued by his story about how he was tricked into believing he had a son…
Here are the details via GQ:
…on finding out he was not the father of a boy he was calling his own:
In 2010, when Elba was doing press for a forgettable movie called The Losers, he began excitedly telling reporters that he’d had a son. In The New York Times, he spoke of the child by name. Soon afterward, though, Elba stopped mentioning him. When Essence asked Elba a year later how his daughter enjoyed being an older sister, he answered point-blank: “I only have a daughter.”
Elba doesn’t like to talk about what happened—has never talked about it, in fact, understandably so—but today, for whatever reason, he does.
The story is this:
He was dating a woman in Florida, had been for a couple of years. They were living together and in love. She became pregnant and gave birth to a boy. For a brief moment, it was among the happiest times of Elba’s life. “The celebration of having a son—from a man’s perspective, it’s massive.” He told friends about it. He told reporters about it. Then came the suggestion—not from the child’s mother, but from elsewhere—that not everything was what it appeared to be. “It wasn’t immediately obvious—well, it was, because he didn’t look like me,” Elba says. “But it wasn’t immediately obvious what had gone down.”
Eventually, Elba decided to take a paternity test, which showed the child wasn’t his.
“To be given that and then have it taken away so harshly,” he says, “was like taking a full-on punch in the face: POW.”
And then there was the fact that he’d mentioned the kid in public, the knowledge, even then, that at some point he’d be sitting in a room like this one, being asked about the worst, most humiliating thing that ever happened to him.
“You know, the truth is—like, even admitting it, I’ll probably get laughed at for the rest of my life. But it is just tragic, and it happened.” He looks directly at me when he says this. “But I wasn’t knocked out. I stood right the f**k back up, and I ain’t aiming to take another punch in the face ever again. Do you understand what I’m saying? It happened to me. I moved on.”
In a paradoxical way, he says, it was freeing. “I’ve not been an angel in my life, either—do you know what I’m saying? So to a certain extent, what goes around comes around. But for me in the future, I’m about being comfortable. That’s it.”
WOW… Just wow… What would you do if put in his position?
Hit the flip for more from the interview
Idris Elba on formerly selling drugs & working as a doorman to make ends meet:
“Yeah, it was, because I was running with cats. I mean, I was DJ’ing, but I was also pushing bags of tweeds; I was doing my work. I had to. I know that sounds corny, but this is the truth.” He says he’d sell drugs at Carolines, and meanwhile all these successful guys would come through: D. L. Hughley, Dave Chappelle. “All those black comedians, they knew me as a doorman.”
…on his legacy of playing Stringer Bell on HBO’s The Wire:
“That really is more about the writing of The Wire than it is the performance. You know, Stringer Bell is a great character that was written. I happened to play him, but it could’ve been anybody playing that role.”
You really feel like anybody could’ve played Stringer?
“Listen, I think I brought Stringer to life my way, but The Wire isn’t a classic because of Stringer Bell. The Sopranos was a classic because of Tony Soprano.”
…on his feud with Liam Gallagher following the NME Awards:
And then he throws on “Wonderwall,” by Oasis, which is curious, because even though the mostly British crowd is howling the song back at him, Elba has been in the tabloids recently for an altercation with Liam Gallagher after this year’s NME Awards; the younger Gallagher brother removed Elba’s wool cap in an apparently disrespectful manner. Elba took issue; the two men got into it. So it seems suspicious, Elba playing Gallagher’s song, and the next day, when we meet up again, I ask him about it.
“Wonderwall” last night—were you taking a shot?
“No! F**k that idiot. No.”
Basically, Elba says, he just gave Liam a hug and an affectionate rub on the head.
“Didn’t like that. Don’t touch his hair, apparently. F**k off. Next time walk with a f***ing hairdresser, then.”
“Well, ‘I’m a popular rock singer, so I’m going to be mean and f**king horrible to people just because they messed up my look.’ F**k off. I played his song because his song’s a classic. I couldn’t—I don’t even know what his songs are about now or what band he’s in now. No one gives a f**k, yeah? He was popular when he was in Oasis.”
More on the flip
…on unleashing his emotions in Luther:
He was filming the Luther pilot. This was 2010. And there was this scene in the script: Luther’s married but separated from his wife, played by the actress Indira Varma. He hopes to reconcile, only to find out that she’s moved on and is dating another man. The script called for a furious Luther to, among other things, slam a door.
“And you have to understand, I had just gone through the worst thing in my life with, you know…”
The Florida thing.
“Yeah. So Luther came at a time where, you know, it was gaga therapy for me, man. Stupid. I was like, ‘I’m going in…’ And that is what I fawking did. I’ll tell you: I did that take, and I remember the room…Indira Varma, the beautiful Indian actress—beautiful girl… The crew were at this end of the room, all packed in. Indira was over there. And I fawking let go. Like, all kinds of shit happened in my head. I mean—blitz. Fawked up this door, I mean fawked this fawking door up. The emotion was going so long after the fucking actual scene was ended that everyone sat in silence. Indira was in fucking tears; I was in tears.”
The camera was still rolling. No one knew what to do. The silence just kept going. And then, finally, someone called, “Cut.”
We love this man!!! Can’t wait to see the Mandela movie.
Peep a behind the scenes video from the feature below:
And check out more photos HERE
The issue hits stands September 24th.
Photo Credit: Sebastian Kim / GQ