"Magic Mike" star Channing Tatum has been named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2012, joining an exclusive club of leading men that includes Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Hugh Jackman. 


"My first thought was, 'Y'all are messing with me'," Tatum, who is married to actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum, told People. "I told Jenna after we'd been in the bathtub washing our dogs because they'd gotten skunked." 


While Tatum, 32, has starred in a number of films, it was his role in this year's male stripper film "Magic Mike" that really caught the attention of the public. To get the ripped body demanded for the flick, Tatum says he followed a strict dairy- and gluten-free diet and worked out three hours a day.


"It was the most painful thing I'll ever do," he told People in June. "And it's something I'll never do again."  


This year's Sexiest Man Alive also has a thing for a bit of rain forest adventure, as evidenced by a recent trip he took with 10 good friends to Guyana. After consulting with survival expert Bear Grylls, the group took off into the rain forest with two Indians to see "how long we could last."


"It really truly makes you understand how much you really don't need on a daily basis," he told Letterman. "We had a hatchet and a hammock, we were sleeping in trees ... We had MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) ... but mainly (we) fished ... We just wanted to get away, we felt like if the world ever comes to an end, we would not know what to do in the wild."


"It was truly one of the most beautiful things I've ever done," he added.


You can catch Tatum on the big screen in next year's GI Joe sequel "Retaliation." 


Related story on MNN: Channing Tatum's extreme rain forest adventure


Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Channing Tatum named 'Sexiest Man Alive'
'Magic Mike' star Channing Tatum says the People magazine honor was a huge surprise. It was Tatum's role in this year's male stripper film "Magic Mike" that rea