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08.23.13

‘My First Time’: Josh Duhamel on His First Kiss, First Heartbreak & More

Josh Duhamel leaves rom-coms behind in his new ‘Scenic Route,’ a dark thriller about lifelong friends stranded in the desert after their truck breaks down on a road trip. The actor is also bracing for his own life change, with wife Fergie ready to give birth any day now. Duhamel kicks off The Daily Beast’s ‘My First Time’ series, remembering some of his biggest firsts, from first kiss to first heartbreak.

1. Describe the story behind your first kiss.  

It was on a dike next to the river behind her parents’ house. It was pretty intense. I didn’t know what I was doing. I swore I would never French kiss somebody again.  

2. Describe the first time you fell in love.

It’s hard to say, because love is sort of a vague term. What you think is love in eighth or ninth grade is very different. There’s nothing more intense than that feeling and the heartbreak is just as bad. I just remember the excitement of seeing her. We had this big square that the kids would cruise before school and I knew that she liked me. There’s no replacing that feeling when you’re a kid and you’ve first got a crush.  

3. Describe the first time you had your heart broken.

I had my heart broken a lot growing up because the girls that you’d fall in love with usually ended up wanting to date the older guys. I got dumped a couple of times for the older guy. I caught one of my girlfriends from high school in bed with one of the guys on the football team. That was the worst. I think it’s a necessary thing to have to go through. You can’t have your heart broken if you weren’t in love first. It’s good to feel both of those.   

4. Describe the first time you fell in love with acting.  

There was a scene with Marj Dusay on All My Children. She played my mom on the show and we had a sort of strange Oedipus Rex relationship. We would fight and we were grifters. Some mistook us for lovers and it was weird. Almost incestuous. We had a fight one time in a scene and I had to lose it with her. I remember losing it and going somewhere else. I went to this scary place. The crew and everyone in the scene had never seen anything like that out of me before. I realized that I had the ability to do this. It was a huge confidence-builder for me to now know that I just stretched the boundaries on where I could go. I became obsessed with it and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. That was the first moment where I felt I should be doing this.

5. Describe your first fight. 

This wasn’t my first fight but probably the funniest one. I was in quite a bit of fights growing up. We were in Detroit Lakes, Minn., for the Fourth of July at the Zorbaz bar. I don’t remember how it started, but we were both drunk. We ended up wrestling underneath one of the booths. I was punching him and punching him. Then we both got thrown out of the bar. I’m not a fighter—I must have been drinking whiskey or something. The street in Detroit Lakes is a row of bars, then it’s the street and then it’s the beach. Everybody is around there. The guy wanted to fight more. I started to see his buddies gathering up outside. I threw my left as hard as I could and I caught him. He had this dazed look—I almost knocked him out. It was in slow motion. And then I just ran and ran back to the hotel because all of his friends started chasing me. I wanted to go back to the bar to where my friends were, so I went and changed my shirt and hopped the fence to go back to party with my friends.

6. Describe the first time you traveled outside the country?

One of the first times was when I was trying to model and went to Milan. I sucked at modeling. I don’t know why I ever tried. I never really made any money at it. I never felt comfortable. I was just bad at it. I remember not having any money. I worked as a fit model for Prada, which is how I made enough money to get through. My buddies and I took a train up to Cinque Terre, which is a beautiful part of Italy in wine country. There was a nude beach there and we were excited to go, but it ended up being a bunch of old naked men on the beach. I couldn’t stop laughing like Beavis and Butthead.  

7. Describe the first time you experienced loss.  

One that really affected me was my grandmother, who died a few years ago. One of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met. My wife actually really reminds me a lot of her. She finally passed after several years of suffering. I was there when she died. It was one of the most striking things I’ve ever seen. I’ll never forget watching her spirit pass on. I was actually happy in a way, because she was ready, but I remember just being mesmerized watching it. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything like that and the only time since. My sister had just had twins who she couldn’t leave, but she wanted to see my grandma because they were very close. When my grandma was sick, my sister would always go sing “You Are My Sunshine” to her. Grandma was hanging on and she was barely there. Ashley was able to get someone to watch her twins for a couple of hours and was able to show up. She started singing “You Are My Sunshine,” and Grandma got a smile on her face and less than five minutes later she died.  

8.  Describe the first time you felt true bliss.  

I think I have yet to feel my first true bliss, but it’s about to happen in a few weeks.  

9.  Describe your first audition. 

I don’t know if it was my first audition, but it’s the one I remember. My agent at the time was hip-pocketing me, to test me out to see if there were any responses. The auditions hadn’t been going well. I didn’t know how to rehearse. I was too green to really even be going out, to be honest. They sent me out on this TV-show audition that didn’t go so well. A buddy who worked at the agency asked how it went. I said it went pretty well. He said that if I didn’t do well on the next few, then they wouldn’t send me out anymore. That was my a-ha moment. Are you going to half-ass this, or are you going to get serious about this? That was when I really realized that I needed to change the way I approached the whole process.