Matt Bomer won our hearts with many of his charming and sometimes racy roles in projects like "White Collar," "Magic Mike" and "American Horror Story." But the actor — who turns 40 on Oct. 11, 2017 — has shown that he won't be boxed in. He demonstrated his range with his heart-rending performance in HBO's adaptation of "The Normal Heart," and he's doing it again as Cal in "Walking Out," which hits theaters on Oct. 6. The film follows an estranged father and son pair as they go on a hunting expedition in the cold mountains of Montana and are stranded in the wilderness after an accident. If you're itching for more facts about Matt, we've got you covered. Wonderwall.com has rounded up 19 other things you should know about the actor. Keep reading for more…
1. Theater was his first call to acting
Matt Bomer started doing theater in high school, where he performed scenes from one of his biggest inspirations, playwright Larry Kramer. "I just knew … that these were my people," he told Out magazine in a May 2017 interview. "I thought I was just going to be in theater for the rest of my life. And it was only by circumstance and luck and faith that I got to experience other mediums." Matt received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University Drama School in 2000 and acted at Houston's Alley Theatre before moving to New York City to pursue Broadway.
2. 9/11 precipitated a defining moment in his career
Matt Bomer was working as a bellman at New York City's Hudson Hotel when he landed a role on Broadway in "Thoroughly Modern Millie." But while the cast was still waiting for a theater to open up, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened, and Matt was laid off from his day job since tourists weren't flocking to the city in the wake of the tragedy, leaving him out of work. A soap opera casting director had promised to let him know if something came up, and it did during that dark time — and Matt got the part. Not only was it the first time he started to support himself by acting, but his gig on "Guiding Light" was also his first major break in TV.
3. He came out to himself while performing at a Shakespeare festival
It was while Matt Bomer was performing in "Romeo and Juliet" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in the Utah Shakespeare Festival that he made the decision to come out as a gay man — at least to himself. He was dating a woman in the company at the time. "I remember someone there who was a hair and makeup artist [who was gay] who I found really inspiring. I thought, 'If this person can live their truth, what am I doing?'" he told Out.
4. It took a while for his family to accept that he was gay
After Matt Bomer, who grew up in a Christian, conservative home in Spring, Texas, wrote a letter to his parents to share that he was gay, he received six months of complete silence from them. The actor later took a trip home, which resulted in a big fight. But slowly, they tried to figure things out. "I'm here to tell people it can get better. Because I had so many people in my life saying, 'You need to get rid of all expectations — you need to cut them out.' But I was like, 'They're my family,'" he told Out.
5. He felt a personal connection to the dad he played in "Walking Out"
Although he didn't grow up in the frozen mountains of Montana, Matt Bomer still felt a special connection to his 2017 film "Walking Out." His real-life family's roots and traditions are similar to those of Cal, the father figure he plays in the 2017 film. Matt grew up in Texas, where hunting was a form of male bonding just like it is for Cal and his estranged son. "One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this film was that the men in my family have a shared DNA with Cal," he told the Hollywood Foreign Press Association while promoting the movie at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival (he's seen here with co-stars Bill Pullman and Josh Wiggins). "They love hunting and fishing as a means of bonding, and some of my best memories as a kid were getting to go on a fishing trip with my dad and getting one-on-one time with him where we got to see things and experience new places."
6. He's lost as much as 40 pounds for his roles
Matt Bomer's physical state is usually dictated by the characters he plays. Though he's known for his shirtless, muscular, cut body in projects like "White Collar" and "Magic Mike," the actor has also gone to the opposite extreme. To play "The Last Tycoon" character Monroe Stahr, a hyper-disciplined film producer who doesn't eat during the week, Matt dropped 25 pounds. To play "The Normal Heart" character Felix, a closeted gay New York Times writer whose life was claimed by AIDS, Matt (seen here in the HBO project with co-star Mark Ruffalo) lost a shocking 40 pounds. "I think a lot of people didn't know how to act around me. I had ridden the subway and walked on the streets and seen the way people looked at me differently and tried to use whatever that response was to get a better understanding of Felix and what he was going through," Matt told Glamour in June 2016. He also had to prep his kids and leave the house at a certain point to ensure they wouldn't be troubled by his physical transformation. But his sacrifice and hard work paid off: Matt won a Golden Globe for his performance in the project.
7. He almost played Superman
Back in 2002, Matt Bomer was director Brett Ratner's top pick to play Clark Kent/Superman in a reboot of the 1978 classic superhero franchise. But after months of waiting, the project got scrapped and director Bryan Singer took the helm. The film ended up being completely different by the time it came out in 2006 as "Superman Returns" starring Brandon Routh. Although it would've been amazing to see Matt in the title role, he's fine with it. "I have zero regrets about that. I feel like I've gotten to do such a rich array of roles and so many different things and I haven't been locked too into one [genre]," Matt said in a "Happy Sad Confused" podcast. And he still got to walk the path of his superhero idol later on when he voiced the Man of Steel in the animated film "Superman: Unbound."
8. He went to high school with Lee Pace
Matt Bomer and longtime friend Lee Pace both went to Klein High School in Texas and co-starred in several plays together. Other celebrities that went to their high school include Lyle Lovett, Lynn Collins, Sherry Stringfield, director Tom Vaughan and former Olympic diver Laura Wilkinson.
9. He kept his marriage on the down-low for three years
An expert at keeping his private life away from the public, Matt Bomer didn't publicly mention husband Simon Halls, a top Hollywood publicist, and their three sons until his acceptance speech at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards gala in 2012. And his 2014 interview with Details magazine was the first time he revealed he and Simon have been married since 2011. Their New York wedding was very small, with only their nearest and dearest present.
10. He's an Amazon-holic
Matt Bomer revealed to Glamour magazine that he makes about 700 purchases a day. (Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.) "My family had an intervention with me, because I was away on location, and part of my guilt-based parenting and family contribution is that when I'm gone, I will order things for the household via Amazon. Simon [Halls], my husband, sent me a picture of a stack of Amazon boxes on our front door and was like, 'Stop,'" Matt said.
11. He's an award-winning activist
Matt Bomer has spoken out for LGBT rights and is an advocate for children in need. He received the Arts and Activism Award at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards gala in 2012 because of his work to combat HIV/AIDS. He and his husband, Simon Halls, are #RelationshipGoals as they've both been presented awards including the 2012 Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Inspiration Award in Los Angeles, and, most recently, the 2017 Ambassador of Children Award at the Norma Jean Gala.
12. He doesn't want his kids to be child stars
Matt Bomer is a dad to three sons — 12-year-old Kit and 9-year-old twins Henry and Walker — with husband Simon Halls. He told People in 2015 that he wants them to have a "nice, normal childhood" like he did instead of raising them as child stars. "When I was 8 years old, I asked my parents to get me headshots, and they were like, 'What are you talking about?! Go outside and play!' I'm so glad they did," he said.
13. He practices transcendental meditation
Matt Bomer was introduced to transcendental meditation through the book "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda after the actor moved to New York in 2000. TM is a form of meditation that allows you to settle into a restful state of mind and that gives you some reprieve from stressful or overwhelming thoughts. If you think it sounds kind of woo-woo, he did too. But after trying it out, he realized that it was key to helping him feel centered and focused. "We're living in exponential times, and there's so much information and marketing coming at you on a daily basis that for me, I just needed 20 minutes a day to really center myself and quiet myself so that I could listen," he said in a 2016 interview with Men's Fitness.
14. He educated himself on how to eat right
When he was 27, Matt Bomer realized he wasn't treating his body right. For more than 10 years, he poured over books and talked to nutritionists until he learned several important things about diet, which is 80 percent of how he maintains his body, from learning the philosophy of food combining to drinking tea or eating sugar-free cough drops as a way to keep cravings at bay.
15. This guy can sing
Many were wowed by Matt Bomer's singing voice in "Magic Mike" and "Magic Mike XXL" when he crooned "Heaven" by Bryan Adams and, what he thinks is the sexiest song ever, "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" by D'Angelo. (His latter cover, by the way, ranked as one of the most viral tracks on Spotify in 2015). But his singing appearances didn't just end there. Matt also sang on "Glee," dueting with Darren Criss a few times, on "White Collar" with Diahann Carroll and at the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors with Kelli O'Hara.
16. His first headshots were terrible
In a 2016 interview with Backstage, Matt Bomer said that his first headshots after he got out of Carnegie Mellon "were terrible" and his manager made him retake them, telling him, "You can't use these. I can't get you a job with these." Said Matt: "I think they were just very stock. It seemed like there was always some weird trend going on with headshots. 'Everybody wants three-quarter now,' or, 'Everybody wants super close-up,' or, 'Everybody wants black and white,' or, 'Everybody wants color.' I guess being in Pittsburgh for four years, I was completely out of the loop with what was in vogue at the time."
17. Trying to hide his sexuality taught him to be an actor
Matt Bomer has said that hiding his sexual identity when he was younger was acting of the highest order. It's heartbreaking, but he learned to select his behavior and make choices in order to survive in suburban Bible Belt Texas, which included signing up for the school football team. Having secrets taught him how to act. "I created a character in order to survive," Matt told Mr. Porter in July 2017. "I used to work on a gas pipeline with my brother and I'm certain some of the people I worked with were ex-convicts. I had to learn how to protect myself in those environments."
18. He believes in ghosts
When asked by PopSugar in March 2016 if he believed in ghosts, Matt Bomer said, "It's a bigger conversation than that, a bigger conversation than that, but ultimately, it's a yes." As an example, Matt — who, of course, starred on "American Horror Story" (seen here) — talked about how, when he was in Santa Fe shooting "The Magnificent Seven," he heard a lot of clamoring going on at night and thought it was outside his hotel room. When he talked to the concierge, he found out the hotel was haunted. So naturally, he decided to burn some sage in his room (he was working on a sage field that day) and told the ghosts to go away and let him sleep for the next day's shoot.
19. The best advice he ever got was from his dad
In an 2012 interview with GQ, Matt Bomer revealed that though he has gotten a lot of advice over the years, one thing that truly stuck with him came from his dad. He had just graduated from college and landed in New York City and was barely scraping by when he called his old man, who told him, "I paid for college. You're on your own now." Said Matt: "It was a harsh lesson, but it really lit a fire under my ass. From there on out, it was all bets off. I knew I was going to have to make my own way in the world." And he sure did.