Idris Elba is PEOPLE magazine's latest Sexiest Man Alive. The news of the 2018 title holder came late Monday, with the British actor saying he was shocked by it.
"I was like, 'Come on, no way. Really?'" he told the magazine. "Looked in the mirror, I checked myself out. I was like, 'Yeah, you are kind of sexy today.' But to be honest, it was just a nice feeling. It was a nice surprise — an ego boost for sure."
In a tweet announcing the news, Elba thanked the magazine for the title and encouraged his American followers to vote in Tuesday's midterm elections.
Who'd have thought it! Thank you @people & all the fans for naming me #SexiestManAlive. Don't forget to grab your issue this week //t.co/WI7eWfXOPB. I'm honoured & thankful. What’s even more important is your vote in the midterm elections. Your vote can make a difference!👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/TBQapjxJsT— Idris Elba (@idriselba) November 6, 2018
"Who'd have thought it! Thank you @people & all the fans for naming me #SexiestManAlive," he wrote. "I'm honoured & thankful. What's even more important is your vote in the midterm elections. Your vote can make a difference!"
The 46-year-old first rose to fame playing Russell "Stringer" Bell in HBO's The Wire. He's starred in Marvel's Thor franchise, among others. Add deejaying under the name DJ Big Driis, designing his own clothing line and kickboxing in Thailand and you've got a good understanding for the man Elba is.
In the Sexiest Man Alive issue, Elba opened up about being the son of African immigrants growing up in East London. He played first-string football, basketball, cricket, hockey and rugby at his all-boys school, but says he, like most people, went through an awkward phase.
"I was very tall and skinny," he said. "And my name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, OK? I got picked on a little bit. But as soon as I could grow a mustache, I was the coolest kid on the block. Grew a mustache, had some muscles, bonkers."
Elba is PEOPLE's 33rd Sexiest Man Alive, capping off the growing list that began in 1985 with a 29-year-old Mel Gibson. Its latest addition before Elba was Blake Shelton in 2017.
No matter how many projects the star — who is currently working with former Sexiest Man Alive Dwayne Johnson on a Fast & Furious spinoff movie — has taken on, the dad of two says fatherhood is the biggest joy of his life.
"Being witness to the birth of my children is the biggest and best thing ever," he said. He has a 16-year-old daughter, Isan, and a 4-year-old son, Winston, both from previous relationships. "I'm super doting, big hugs, kisses, lots of love-yous. I'm sure my daughter's like 'All right Dad, chill out.' My son is still at that age where he loves a cuddle."
The heartthrob, who proposed to fiancée Sabrina Dhowre, 29, in February, disappointed fans when he said he would not be playing James Bond in the upcoming 007 movie. After years of speculation fueled by media reports and even a Bond-themed social media post from Elba himself, the actor gave a definite "no" when asked about the rumors. When Good Morning Britain asked over the summer if they were looking at the next Bond, he simply replied, "No."0comments
But in his Sexiest Man Alive interview, Elba said he doesn't dwell on things he hasn't done yet.
"Life isn't about thinking about what you should have done," he said. "I think everyone should adopt the philosophy that tomorrow is not promised so just go for it today, man. You might as well do it to your heart's content."