"I love the feel in of freedom and control,” Matthew Fox tells us about his “true passion”: flying. “If I believed in reincarnation, I would absolutely, without a doubt, come back as a golden eagle.” Years before he was Dr. Jack Shephard on TV’s Lost, Fox was a kid in Wyoming who watched goldens circle the sky. Which is why Fox, now 46, loves doing the next best thing to actually being a bird: piloting a plane.
It’s probably safe to assume that the 6'2", 175- pound actor would rather be in the cockpit of his Bonanza G36 than at this Men’s Fitness cover shoot. Not to discount the beauty of Joshua Tree, the photo shoot’s setting: The rugged, chisel-jawed Fox looks in his element amid the miles of spiky Joshua Trees for which the national park is named. But shoots are about relinquishing control. Photographers telling you to go here, flex, smile. Stylists chopping your hair and dressing you.
“Being an actor, you only have control over what you’re doing,” Fox says. And in Alex Cross, Fox grabs the role of Picasso by the horns, losing nearly 40 pounds to play a psychotically fit serial killer. “But God, there is so much you don’t have control over.”
Fox is referring to the tabloid fodder that’s plagued his personal life. In August 2011, while Fox was filming Cross in Cleveland, a female bus driver accused him of drunkenly punching her (she later dropped her lawsuit). In May 2012, he was arrested for driving under the influence in Bend, OR, where he lives with his family. Later that same month, former Lost co-star Dominic Monaghan tweeted that Fox “beats women... Often.” Fox has remained tight-lipped about the incidents, but now he’s taking control to set the record straight.
Men’s Fitness: Over the summer, Summit Entertainment released a still of you from your film, Alex Cross, looking absolutely shredded, which had everyone talking about how unrecognizable you were. Is it refreshing to have the blogosphere buzzing about your work instead of your personal life?
Matthew fox: F—k yeah. It’s been a long, trying year of sitting on my hands on a lot of negative shit said about me, when they’re the furthest things from who I am. That I beat a woman in Cleveland when in fact I was assaulted by a man and did nothing but retaliate against him? The 46 years I’ve been breathing on this planet, I have never hit a woman before. Never have, never will. But I think there’s still gonna be a lot of people out there who’ll think it’s true no matter what the f—k I say. Out of all the negative shit, the only thing that’s true is that I was arrested for DUI.
A lot has been reported about that night. Is it true you were arrested on your way to a fast-food place?
[Grins] I was on my way home from a fast-food place.
Just goes to show that fast food...
...is never a good thing. I had a Del Taco in one hand while trying to drive my friend’s car with the other...
That better have been the best damn taco you ever ate.
It was f—king good! [Laughs] My friend’s car is a 1967 Cadillac, which is a sweet car. I’m sure that had something to do with why I was driving that night. But it was a stupid f—kin’ decision. I understand that [the media] reported that I got sentenced to, like, a year of alcohol treatment and all this shit. I got the lowest level of alcohol informational treatment the state of Oregon will allow for first-time offenders. I did my four Sundays of group informational treatment, and you know what? I learned a f—k load from that. Half of all people who get a DUI get another [DUI], and that’s astounding to me, because I will bet you any amount of money that I will never get behind the wheel of a car after even one drink.
Is there anything else about that night that you want to clear up?
Oh, the other thing reported was that there was an unidentified woman in the car. There were two dudes in the car, and one of ’em is bald and weighs 220.
So the DUI you own up to, but the rest...
The rest of it—the Cleveland situation, the [Dominic] Monaghan situation— was a pile of bullshit, and I’m not gonna waste too much breath on that.