For those of us who only know Shemar Moore as that shirtless wonder who causes a viral frenzy every time he goes jogging on the beach, let it be known: still waters run deep. In a surprisingly candid interview, the Criminal Minds star talks to us about his next move, the challenges he faced growing up biracial in Oakland and why "it's no accident" he's still single.
Plus, we finally get the scoop on his tabloid-heavy relationships with Toni Braxton and Halle Berry.
You're wrapping up the eighth season of Criminal Minds. Are you surprised the show has taken off the way it did?
We're definitely the little show that could. You really roll the dice when you sign up for something like this, but it's always the shows you think are going to tank that catch on and the ones you think will take off that never get out the gate. But right now, our contracts are up so there's no guarantee that the show will be renewed next year.
Have you started thinking about your next move?
To be honest, if it works out I have many good reasons to stay, but leaving would give me the one thing I haven't had in a long time, which is freedom. After eight years on Young and the Restless and eight years on Criminal Minds, I'm ready for that next phase of my career. I wanna chase down Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Will Smith. I would love to start my film career. But it's all pending what the network decides it wants to do next.
You've been in the game for nearly 20 years. Did it come easily to you, or did you have to struggle to make it?
I could describe my career in two words: who knew. I was on the path to becoming a professional baseball player, but I got injured in college. When I decided to move out to L.A. to try acting, nobody was betting on me, not even my family. But it's always been that way for me, nothing has come easy. I grew up outside of the country, first in Denmark, then Bahrain and Ghana. When my mother moved us back, it was a very difficult transition. I still remember the first time somebody called me n*****.
Wow, when did that happen?
It was after we moved back. I was six, and I remember how different everyone made me feel when I was in school. Why does your hair look like that, why is your skin that color, how come your mom is white, how can you be cousins with so-and-so. That's how I learned I was good at baseball, because kids would chase me after school, so I started picking up rocks and throwing them to fight back.
You've been linked with some high-profile women, including Toni Braxton and Halle Berry. Were those relationships for real, or just tabloid gossip?
[Toni Braxton] was my first Hollywood relationship. I was a baby, I did not know s***. I had just graduated from college, I had no money and I was on Young and the Restless. She called my agent when she was shooting a video in Miami, and it just went from there. I was like the little kid who found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It was a wild ride with Toni. She would never sing for me, though. That always bothered me.
What about Halle?
She was the first woman to really knock my socks off. I fell hard for Halle. A lot of people now know we dated, but we had to keep it hush-hush at the time because she was fresh off her divorce from David Justice. I'm still grateful for that relationship. I was smitten not just because of who she was, but because we were so similar in so many ways. She was biracial, she was kind of going through the same things I was in Hollywood. Toni was a fun ride, but Halle was a necessary experience. It made me much stronger as a man, and knowing the caliber of woman I want in the future.
She hasn't had the greatest luck with men since then. Any regrets there?
No, none at all. She's a tough cookie. I'm glad she's got a family now. If this love she's got with this guy is real, then that's what she needs.
You're turning 43 next week and have been a bachelor for a while. Any thoughts about settling down?
It's no accident that I'm not married and don't have kids yet. Because despite what I've achieved in my career, I'm always wondering when somebody's gonna tap me on the shoulder and say, "OK, the gig is up." I don't mind being uncomfortable. In fact, I like being uncomfortable, picking up and moving, and all that. But, it's not exactly the best scenario for a family. Of course, I want to be able to share that with somebody one day. When I do tie the knot, it will be one time, for good.
Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 9/8 Central on CBS. Check your local listings.
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