Celebrity Spotlight - Joe Manganiello
On screen and off, the star of HBO's True Blood answers the call of the wild.
Joe Manganiello’s life has gone to the dogs. So much so, he plays one on TV. Well, sort of. Joe is a regular on HBO’s hit vampire series, True Blood. His character, Alcide Herveaux, is an Alabama contractor who happens to be a werewolf. In real life, Joe plays pet parent to two dogs.
Joe is a relative latecomer to the world of dog ownership. While growing up with a pet-allergic father, Joe’s only furry friend was a rabbit. And even when Joe struck out on his own, dogs just didn’t work their way into his heart.
Joe’s first experiences with dogs were not that pleasant. He had a roommate with a Golden Retriever. When this roommate went out of the country, he asked Joe to pet-sit. “So I was left with this Golden Retriever not having ever owned a pet—and the dog got sick,” Joe says. “I was working in construction, so I’d go off to shovel sand and gravel, mix cement, haul cement bags, and jackhammer. I’d come home covered in dust to find the dog had diarrhea all over the carpet.” This went on for weeks.
His less-than-stellar dog encounters didn’t stop there. Another of Joe’s roommates had a Pomeranian that managed to bite Joe a couple of times. Also, the dog would constantly bark at him—to the point where Joe couldn’t concentrate or get anything done. “After those experiences, I said to myself, ‘OK, look, I don’t think I’m meant to have dogs,’” Joe says. “So I said, ‘You know what, there’s no way. I’m never going to wind up with someone with a pet. This is not going to happen. This is just not meant to be.’”
TURNING POINT: COURTING DOGS AND A SPECIAL LADY
But then Joe met his girlfriend, Audra, and that opinion quickly changed. When Joe went to pick her up for a date, two little dogs ran to greet him. “There was a moment of, ‘oh no,’” Joe says. “But, they’re the nicest, sweetest dogs ever. They’ve changed my whole view on dog ownership. I went completely against my rule.”
Hercules, a Yorkie, and Ralph, a King Charles Cavalier, are now a big part of Joe’s life. “I love the dogs,” he says. “They’re fun and they put a smile on my face. For the past couple of days, I’ve been following Hercules around and asking him, ‘OK, are you ready to be famous? Are you ready for this shoot? Are you ready?’”
HOME AND AWAY
Joe also likes to spend time with his dogs on game day. He’s a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and, of course, the dogs are too. “I bought Hercules a Pittsburgh bandana that he wears around the house. I love the guys. They make me super happy. Obviously, part of my responsibility now is taking them for walks. I’m Dad now!” he laughs.
The dogs even occasionally get to accompany Joe to pet-friendly hotels when he heads out to make appearances for True Blood. “I really haven’t had to travel with the dogs too far yet because the show films in L.A., so we’ve actually been kind of lucky in that I wound up landing a series that shoots close to home,” he says.
PLAYTIME WITH THE POOCHES
If the dogs aren’t traveling like TV stars, they’re watching TV. Ralph is especially captivated by the small screen. “The other night we were watching a movie, and Ralph looked up at the TV and saw someone sneaking around,” Joe says. “So he jumped off the couch and started barking and looking back at us. We had to tell him, ‘Good boy. It’s all right.’”
Hercules is more likely to sneak away from the tube. “The dogs are pretty well behaved for the most part,” Joe says. “We do have to keep an eye on Hercules sometimes. He has a little stuffed Smurf house, and every once in a while we have to do a bed check to see what he has in there.” Joe calls it Hercules’ safe spot—he’ll drag odds and end from around the house into his own little house. If he doesn’t hear Hercules for a while, Joe says it means the dog is in his house and up to something.
DOGMA: CONVERTED TO CANINE LOVER
All this dog watching fits Joe just fine. “It’s funny,” he says, “I play a werewolf on True Blood, so Audra calls the dogs my wolf pack. Sometimes when I’m on set I think about them a lot because there are similar behaviors.” Yep, it’s the dog days for Joe—and that’s definitely a good thing.
Veterinary Care for the Canine “Kids”
As self-proclaimed “dad” to dogs Hercules and Ralph, Joe Manganiello takes their care and well-being very seriously. “We have one particular veterinarian who we trust and take the dogs to,” he says. “We are very regular with our visits because these are like our kids, so you want to make sure that they’re healthy and happy.”
An Insider's Look at Joe
“One of my favorite authors in high school and today is Jack London. He wrote about dogs and wolves a lot. I’m sure every dog lover has probably read Call of the Wild.”
Favorite sports team
“I’m a big fan of the 1990s, so I like grunge. I’m a Soundgarden and Alice in Chains kind of guy. It’s great to listen to while I work out. I’m also a big Massive Attack fan. And I’m a fan of what Trent Reznor did with The Social Network soundtrack.”
The True Blood Basics
The popular HBO show True Blood explores what life is like when vampires and humans comingle. The premise: Thanks to a Japanese scientist’s invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed overnight from legendary monsters to fellow citizens. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures that have “come out of the coffin.”
The series follows Sookie Stackhouse—a barmaid living in Louisiana who can read people’s minds. Her life gets turned upside down when Vampire Bill walks into her place of employment two years after vampires have become widely known. As she explores this world, many magical creatures emerge, including fairies, shape-shifters, and, of course, werewolves, one of whom is played by Joe Manganiello.