James Corden on How He Overcame Bullies as a Heavy Child: 'If You're Big at School, You're Going to Be a Target'

James Corden opened up about how he survived growing up, heavier than his classmates

Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

James Corden makes millions of people laugh each night on The Late Late Show. But growing up overweight, Corden was all too aware of what it felt to be laughed at.

“If you’re big at school … you’re going to be a target,” he explains of his childhood bullies in the cover story for the new issue of Rolling Stone.

Lucky for Corden, he quickly adapted a technique that would assure the haters wouldn’t come his way: humor and confidence.

“If you go to school and you’re me, you go, ‘Right, I’m just going to make myself a bigger target. My confidence, it will terrify them,’ ” he said. “That’s how I felt in school.”

“Inside, you’re terrified. But if you’re a bit funny, if you’re quicker than them, they won’t circle back on you again,” he continued.

Being comfortable in his own skin opened doors for Corden, whose fame rose when playing a character in the stage play The History Boys whom also avoided teasing by cracking jokes.

It’s done well for him on late night, too – like in his popular Carpool Karaoke series, which will bring Britney Spears in for a ride Thursday.

While he’s confident off-screen, Corden’s still played a lot of characters on-screen who struggle with their weight, including his roles in Gavin & Stacey, All or Nothing and Fat Friends.

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It’s not doubt part of the reason he wants to see a change on how Hollywood seems to see larger people.

“I could never understand when I watch romantic comedies, the notion that for some reason unattractive or heavy people don’t fall in love,” he said.

“If they do, it’s in some odd, kooky, roundabout way,” he complained, pointing out that in the real world, that’s not the way things tend to work.

Said Corden: “It’s not. It’s exactly the same. I met my wife; she barely owned a television and worked for Save the Children. We sat down one night and we fell in love and that was it.”

Corden and his wife Julia Carey were married in 2012, and have two children together – Max, 5, and Carey, nearly 2.

The Late Late Show with James Corden airs weeknights (12:35 a.m. ET) on CBS.

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