Channing Tatum, T Magazine

Collier Schorr/T Magazine

Is Channing Tatum more brawns than brains?

According to the hunky Foxcatcher star, he's more of the former. As he reveals in the Oct. 19 issue of T, The New York Times Style Magazine, he struggled with A.D.H.D. and dyslexia during his childhood. As a result, he was prescribed stimulants and performed poorly in school. "I have never considered myself a very smart person, for a lot of reasons. Not having early success on that one path messes with you," he says. "You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, 'OK, so this is where I'm at.' Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, 'All right, I'm obviously not like these kids either.' So you're kind of nowhere. You're just different. The system is broken. If we can streamline a multibillion-dollar company, we should be able to help kids who struggle the way I did."

In spite of it all, Tatum says his desire to learn never waned. "My mom said, 'Be a sponge.' And so I've learned more from people than I have from school or from books," the actor says of educating himself.

Reid Carolin, Tatum's best friend and production partner, says that kind of attitude made the actor a success. "Chan's a blue-collar person, a worker by nature," he says. "So when he's producing or financing or developing, he doesn't just want credit for something. He's looking to get into it, to learn to do it."

While it's easy to dismiss someone like Tatum, a former model, as mere eye candy, Carolin insists his friend is more than meets the eye. "He's s so physically talented and good-looking and all that movie star stuff, but there's a curiosity in him that originates in the fact that he really did struggle," he says. "Football didn't stick. College didn't stick. And yet he has the highest emotional intelligence of anyone I know. And he has the ability to teach others, including me, how to make decisions from that place."

In fact, Tatum argues that he's more thoughtful than many people realize.

"I've always negotiated the world very physically, from football to tussling at the playground to taking my clothes off," the 22 Jump Street star and former stripper says. "My dad's a physical guy. I think that's how I wanted to see myself as a kid, how I won approval, and it's no secret that that's how I got into this business. But over time I've been able to develop other aspects of myself, sort of on-the-job training."

Tatum is constantly evaluating his life, especially after he and wife Jenna Dewan welcomed their firstborn daughter, Everly, in May 2013. The Magic Mike XXL star, 34, says, "You notice your behavior, like, 'Wow, I don't have much patience right now. Why is that?' You spend the day watching this thing constantly taking in information, and you have to be sure you're making that happen. At the end of the day when I put her to bed, I feel glad to have some peace but say to myself, 'That was so much fun.'"

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