The actor is opening up about his turbulent history with his Magic Mike costar
The 25-year-old, who was noticeably absent from the 2015 sequel, Magic Mike XXL, is owning up to his role in what he claims was an ugly falling out with Tatum and the rest of the cast in a recent interview on writer Bret Easton Ellis’s podcast, B.E.E.
“It’s true,” says Pettyfer of the rumors that his and Tatum’s relationship soured on set. “Because Channing Tatum does not like me – and for many reasons [and] many being my own fault.”
Tatum’s rep has not commented on Pettyfer’s statements.
At the time the film was being cast, Pettyfer had gained a bad boy reputation in Hollywood, partly stemming from a 2011 interview with VMan magazine, in which he called Los Angeles an “insidious pool” and described a tattoo on his crotch that reads “thank you” “in case [he] forgets to say it.”
“[Tatum] was not sold on me being a part of this film because he looked upon me as being a risk,” says Pettyfer, adding that if it were not for the film’s director, Steven Soderbergh, vouching for him, he might never have been cast at all.
Making matters worse, when Pettyfer arrived on set, he refused to talk to anyone. “I didn’t speak on the movie,” he admits. “I was scared to speak. I actually did my work and I sat in the corner and listened to music because I had been told that anything I do is wrong by my reps.”
He adds, “I was very insecure as a human being and that also gave me a bad rep because they said, ‘Oh Alex thinks he’s f—— better than everyone else because he doesn’t speak to anyone,’ and that’s not true. I was just genuinely nervous and scared to be myself. I was in character.”
But according to Pettyfer, things really came to a head when he and his then-girlfriend Riley Keough rented an apartment from a friend of Tatum’s in New York. The actor says he ended up leaving the apartment after four months, complaining he was having an allergic reaction to dust and mold, and forgot to pay for rent after his cousin died.
“They asked for the four months rent, which in hand I should have paid there and then,” he admits, explaining, “What happened was my cousin passed away, his lungs collapsed and he died … and I was devastated and dealing with family drama and forgot about the situation which was the apartment.”
That’s when Pettyfer says Tatum got involved. “And I all the sudden got a very negative email from Channing, rightfully so, saying ‘Don’t f— my friends. You owe money. Pay the f—— money. Don’t be a clown.’ ”
Unfortunately, the actor says, “I really took that the wrong way, which I shouldn’t have, and emailed him back and said ‘Listen I’m in a really negative situation, negative head-space could you respect me for a moment and blah blah blah.’ And then I just got hounded through this time of grieving for money, and by the end of it I just basically said ‘F— them. What is money when life is so much more. I’m not dealing with this and I’m not paying. And I should have just paid.”
While Pettyfer admits he was “wrong in not paying the rent,” he still thinks “[Tatum] was just looking for an excuse not to like” him. When the cast returned for reshoots, Pettyfer says Tatum “had already told everyone he didn’t like me and what Channing says goes because he’s a movie star.”
Looking back on the experience, Pettyfer says not everything was negative. “Channing was actually an incredible influence on me because after this whole situation happened – this was kind of the end of my immaturity and all my experiences put into one – and Steven Soderbergh was a huge part of that as well and I owe my life to that man,” he says. “It was an incredible experience making Magic Mike. I wouldn’t replace it for anything.”