The Unforgettable Encounter: Channing Tatum’s Awkward First Meeting with Matt Damon that Still Haunts Him Today

Channing Tatum awkward encounter with Matt Damon

Channing Tatum may be setting the dance floor on fire as Magic Mike in Magic Mike’s Last Dance, but when meeting his idols, he’s got two left feet and a case of the jitters. The actor recently cringed over his awkward first encounter with the one and only Matt Damon while shooting Steven Soderbergh’s film Haywire in 2011. When Damon walked in and joined them, Tatum was having a drink with the director at a hotel bar in Albuquerque, NM.

Channing Tatum awkward encounter with Matt Damon
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 04: Actor Matt Damon from Focus Features’ “Stillwater” attends Deadline Contenders Film: New York on December 04, 2021, in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Deadline); LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 01: Channing Tatum poses for a photo before he signs copies of his new children’s book “The One and Only Sparkella Makes A Plan” at Barnes & Noble at The Grove on June 01, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for ABA)

As the ultimate fanboy, Tatum tried to play it cool on the outside, but on the inside, he was “just beside himself” seeing Damon in real life. He told PEOPLE, “I’m such a fan, and still am,” he recalled. “I sat down next to him, and I was like, ‘Hey, man. Where are you from?’ — and I was like, ‘I just asked Matt Damon where he’s from.'”

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Despite the awkward start, Tatum shared that he and Damon ended up having a great conversation, proving once again that even the most prominent celebrities are just regular people. Tatum is still a huge fan of Damon’s, and the encounter will always hold a special place in his heart. And who knows, maybe next time they meet, Tatum will ask Damon if he knows any good dance moves.

When Channing Tatum had the chance to chat with Matt Damon at a hotel bar in Albuquerque, NM, he didn’t expect it to be a defining moment in his life. But as it turns out, the casual conversation starter sent Tatum into a tailspin of embarrassment and self-doubt. After all, Damon is widely considered one of the kings of Boston, alongside Mark Wahlberg and Ben Affleck.

“Everyone on the planet knows where Matt Damon is from, and he obviously knows that I know where Matt Damon is from, and I almost didn’t recover,” he said. “I don’t think I said anything for the next maybe two hours or so, and I still think about it today. Every once in a while, I’ll just have a cold sweat and feel like, ‘I can’t believe….'”

Tatum admitted that he tries to avoid meeting famous people or idols because he tends to panic, but Damon was such a “good guy” that he made Tatum feel at ease.

“He knew I was freaking out and just didn’t even acknowledge it. Because he’s such a personable guy,” Tatum said. “He just took care of me in that moment and answered me. It was like nothing ever happened. He was just like, ‘Oh, I’m from Boston. Where are you from?’ and I was like, ‘I’m from Florida.’ In my head I just kept screaming: ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry!'”

Despite the awkward encounter, Tatum says he and Damon are now friends, and he’s able to “kind of, sort of” keep it together when they meet. But who knows, maybe Damon doesn’t even remember the encounter. And if he does, hopefully, he’ll have a good laugh about it as Tatum has.