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What to know about Alan Ritchson, the man-mountain star of Amazon's 'Reacher' TV series

Alan Ritchson at the "Ordinary Angels" premiere in New York, and as Jack Reacher in "Reacher."
Alan Ritchson at the "Ordinary Angels" premiere in New York, and as Jack Reacher in "Reacher."John Nacion/Variety via Getty Images/Amazon Prime Video
  • Alan Ritchson is the star of the "Reacher" TV series, based on books by Lee Child.

  • The Amazon show is about a former military investigator who roams the US and fights criminals.

  • Here's what you need to know about Ritchson.

"Reacher" revolves around a ferocious former military investigator, Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson), who roams the US as a nomad and helps those in need. The show's second season ended in January 2024, and Amazon is already filming "Reacher" season three.

Alan Ritchson leads the show, and audiences might recognize him from "Smallville," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," and "Titans."

Thanks to "Reacher" press tours in the last few years, the actor has spoken a lot about himself, so here's what you need to know about the star.

He married his high-school sweetheart, Catherine Richardson

Catherine Ritchson and Alan Ritchson at the Los Angeles screening of "Reacher" season 2.
Catherine Ritchson and Alan Ritchson at the Los Angeles screening of "Reacher" season 2.Peru Williams/Variety via Getty Images

Ritchson met his now-wife, Catherine Ritchson when they were 17 and in the same high-school ballet class in Florida.

In February 2024, he spoke to Men's Health and recalled how nervous he was to talk to her, saying: "After the millionth time of us sitting next to each other, inches away, tying our shoes — so now it's super awkward — I was like, 'So, I heard you ice-skate'"

Although the pair broke up after one summer, Catherine told the "The Road to Wisdom" podcast that they later reconnected when Ritchson came to Miami as a model while she was at college.

The couple tied the knot in 2006 and have been together ever since. Their first son, Calem, was born in 2012, and his brother Edan was born a year later in 2013. They had a third son, Amory, in 2015.

Alan Ritchson is 6 feet 3 inches tall, but 6 feet 5 inches in “Reacher”

Alan Ritchson promoting "Reacher" season 2 at the Allegiant Stadium  Las Vegas.
Alan Ritchson promoting "Reacher" season 2 at the Allegiant Stadium Las Vegas.Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Prime Video

One of the most recognizable things about Ritchson in "Reacher" is his towering stature. He looks like a giant compared to some of the villains in the series.

Ritchson is 6 feet 3 inches tall. But when speaking to Kinowetter in 2022, he said he wore boots on the show that added an extra two inches.

The character is 6 feet 5 inches in the books by Lee Child, so at least the show is committed to being accurate.

Ritchson wrote a letter to Tom Cruise before starring in “Reacher”

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher and Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.
Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher and Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.Amazon Prime Video/Paramount Pictures

The Amazon series isn't the first time that Lee Child's books have been brought to the screen. In 2012, Tom Cruise played the role in the "Jack Reacher" movie before reprising the role in its 2015 sequel: "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back."

Fans weren't pleased with the casting considering the character's towering stature. In January 2024, Ritchson told "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" that he wrote a letter to Cruise about stepping into his shoes when he was cast in the series.

"This guy still did two movies that grossed over $300 million and brought so many eyes to this series," Ritchson added. "We would not have the success that we have without it. So out of gratitude, I write him a loving, heartfelt letter, a page-long letter, and I give it to Don Granger, a partner of his at Skydance."

"'I think we should give this to him, I want him to know I'm grateful he's passing the torch and all that,'" Ritchson added.

But Granger, who is also a producer on "Reacher," decided not to give Cruise the letter, saying that the star had moved on.

"He said, 'We're not going to give it to him. It's a terrible idea. He's fine with it because he's moved on in life. He's moved on, and you need to move on, too.'"

Ritchson auditioned to play Thor but didn’t take it seriously

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher and Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher and Chris Hemsworth as Thor.Amazon Prime Video/Marvel Studios

A decade ago, Ritchson started landing bigger roles in Hollywood movies like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." But his rise to fame could've been much quicker if he had taken a Marvel audition more seriously.

In the Men's Health profile, Ritchson remembered auditioning to play Thor in the 2011 movie. He explained that he thought he would get the role if he looked the part.

"I didn't take it seriously," Ritchson said. "I was like, 'They'll throw me the part if I look like the guy; nobody really cares about acting.'"

As Marvel fans will know, that wasn't the case, and Chris Hemsworth was cast as the God of Thunder.

He also told Jimmy Kimmel he filmed a fake storyline for "American Idol" season three

Alan Ritchson on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Alan Ritchson on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"Randy Holmes/Disney/Getty Images

In 2003 Ritchson appeared on "American Idol" but was cut during the second round. He recalled the experience on his "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" appearance in January.

He explained that the producers also sneakily got him to film a fake storyline.

Ritchson noted that he was asked to film a segment with a female model about how they were enjoying their time filming "American Idol."

He recalled: "I was like, 'Oh my god, that's amazing [to get] screen time. So within 10 minutes of being at the hotel in Los Angeles, I'm down at the pool in my board shorts and they're like, 'Why don't you sit in the hot tub, we'll ask you a couple questions.'"

However, this was cut together with clips of host Ryan Seacrest looking for Ritchson during a songwriting task, to make it look like the actor wasn't taking the competition seriously.

"They have Ryan Seacrest running around asking people where Alan and Tina, or whoever the model was." He added: "And then they cut to us in the pool splashing around like we're just… What the hell!"

He lost out to Brenton Thwaites to play Robin in “Titans,” but still won the role of Hawk

Alan Ritchson as Hawk and Brenton Thwaites as Robin in "Titans."
Alan Ritchson as Hawk and Brenton Thwaites as Robin in "Titans."Warner Bros. Television

When speaking to Men's Health, Ritchson also touched on his audition to play the DC vigilante, Robin, in the "Titans" TV series for HBO Max.

After the audition, the actor originally felt like the role was his, saying: "I was so confident. I was like, 'This is the best damn audition I've ever had in my life. There's no way they can do this show without me.'"

Per Men's Health, Ritchson we so convinced that he bought a Tesla to celebrate, but Brenton Thwaites was cast as Robin.

It's worth noting that the star did land a supporting role on "Titans" as Hank Hall, who suits up as fellow vigilante Hawk.

He caught a criminal while he was on a date with his wife

Catherine Ritchson and Alan Ritchson at the New York premiere of "Ordinary Angels."
Catherine Ritchson and Alan Ritchson at the New York premiere of "Ordinary Angels."John Nacion/Variety via Getty Images

Ritchson's public personality has seemingly fused with "Reacher" because it relies on his physicality in the role. Still, he took that further when he stopped a man from breaking into someone's car in Montreal.

During an interview with ETalk in early 2024, the actor recalled the incident and explained that he was out on a date with his wife when the couple spotted someone breaking into a parked car.

"I saw somebody—we were on a date in Montreal, walking to a very nice dinner, all dressed up, and we saw somebody breaking into a car," Ritchson said. "She put it together before I did because it was just hanging out with glass everywhere, like, [going] through somebody's stuff."

The star then admitted that he chased the perpetrator for four blocks before catching him and waiting for the authorities.

"She goes, 'I think he's breaking into that car,' and I was like, 'By gosh, I think you're right'. And she goes: 'Don't do it.' And I was like—instant Reacher mode," he continued. "Some justice has to be done here, and I chased that dude like four blocks until I tossed them into a building, and the cops came."

Ritchson added: "She was very, very mad at me for not just taking her on our date. You know, we got there eventually."

Ritchson used testosterone therapy before "Reacher" season two

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher in "Reacher" season two.
Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher in "Reacher" season two.Amazon Prime Video

"Reacher" fans might have noticed that Ritchson bulked up considerably for the second season of the show, and when he spoke to Men's Health about his training, the star said he used testosterone therapy.

He explained that the physical toll of training for the first season, as well as a demanding shooting schedule, meant that he was exhausted. Once Ritchson had wrapped the series, he said he was "utterly fatigued and broken."

During the break between the two seasons, his doctor recommended that he try testosterone replacement therapy, which would also help him add muscle mass.

Ritchson noted that some have criticized it as "steroids with a doctor's note." But, he said, he still works out five times a week to work on his physique.

He added: "I didn't even know that it was considered an anabolic steroid to some people. It was just: There was a hormone that was missing for me, and I needed it."

Ritchson has spoken openly about having bipolar disorder

Alan Ritchson and Catherine Ritchson at the "Reacher" season one premiere in Los Angeles.
Alan Ritchson and Catherine Ritchson at the "Reacher" season one premiere in Los Angeles.Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The star also told Men's Health that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2019 when he was 36. The condition affects a person's mood, and can cause depression, as well as emotional highs and fatigue.

During a lengthy conversation with Man of Metropolis back in 2022, he explained the difficulties of living with bipolar, saying: "I'm bipolar. I wasn't diagnosed until just a few years ago, but when you're bipolar, you have no perspective as to how you're doing every moment. That's what's so difficult about it."

"If I'm having a moment where I'm getting incredibly frustrated by whatever stimulation there is or the conversation that might seem completely normal to me and in my head, I'm justified for feeling this way, and I'm going to make sure everybody knows," he added."

Ritchson also praised his wife for helping him stay balanced and to keep on top of taking his medication.

"My wife would ask me if I took my medication. She's my barometer. She helps me look into the mirror, and then she's always been that way well before we knew I was bipolar," he continued.

"She knows when I need help adjusting to the amount of stimulation. She's always been the one person on Earth who if she tells me I'm not doing something right, I reflect."

He also opened up about a suicide attempt

Alan Ritchson on Michael Rosenbaum's "Inside of You" podcast.
Alan Ritchson on Michael Rosenbaum's "Inside of You" podcast.Inside of You/YouTube

Ritchson also spoke about his suicide attempt in 2022 when he appeared on Michael Rosenbaum's "Inside of You" podcast, and talked about trying to hang himself.

He said it came after somebody attempted to blackmail him, threatening to ruin his career.

"It's still hard to think about the fact that, like, I would do something like that to myself, especially with kids," the actor said.

"But I now understand what it's like when people are like, 'I don't understand why they would kill themselves.'" Ritchson continued: "I'm like, I can tell you from experience they thought they were giving the world a gift."

He added: "I thought I was doing my family and my community a favor because I was such a mess."

Read the original article on Business Insider