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The Untold Truth Of Jason Momoa

You probably know him as Khal Drogo or Aquaman, but there's no discounting the fact that Jason Momoa has become one of the biggest stars in the world over the last decade or so. The man is instantly recognizable, as his flowing locks and massive frame are tough to miss even on a screen filled with similar builds. Plus, his charming personality has won him fans all across the planet.

In addition to Game of Thrones and the DC Extended Universe, Momoa has landed roles in some of the biggest films and franchises around. He showed up in Stargate: Atlantis, he's a part of the star-studded Dune cast, and he's attached to the Cliffhanger remake. There's just no escaping the leader of the Dothraki. But even with roles in all these massive movies and series, Jason Momoa is still relatively new to things, so we're taking a deep dive into some lesser-known facts about the star of Aquaman. This is the untold truth of Jason Momoa.

Jason Momoa has a celebrity family

Jason Momoa has shared that it was love at first sight for him when he laid eyes on his wife. In an interview on The Late Late Show with James Corden, he explained that he first saw Lisa Bonet on The Cosby Show. He was smitten with her immediately, even though it would be almost two decades until the two actually met.

Fast forward to 2005, and a mutual friend introduced the two at a jazz club. The way Momoa tells it, they hit it off almost instantly and have basically been a couple ever since. They had their first child together in 2007 and a second just a few years later. The couple got married in 2017, finally making it official.

Since Momoa and Bonet are married, that also officially makes Zoe Kravitz (Bonet's daughter with her previous husband, musician Lenny Kravitz) his stepdaughter. And here's a fun fact — Momoa and Bonet's two kids are named Lola and Nakoa-Wolf. Zoe Kravitz named her band after her half-siblings, dubbing the group "Lolawolf."

He had a unique Game of Thrones audition

Though Jason Momoa started to make a name for himself on film and television when he was just a teenager, it wasn't until 2011 that he first gained mainstream attention. That was when he burst onto the scene as Khal Drogo on HBO's Game of Thrones. Up until that point, Momoa was mostly known for playing "pretty" characters, so he knew he'd have to do something impressive to land the role. Lucky for us, he did just that.

In an interview with The New York Times (via Time), Momoa explained that Drogo was a tough character to portray. The leader of the Dothraki is a man of few words, so Momoa knew he would have to demonstrate his powerful energy in a different way. When he stepped into his audition, he decided to begin with a haka, a Maori war dance, to show that he had the ability to be as physically intimidating as the role needed.

His heart was beating so fast afterward that the rest of the audition was difficult, but he apparently made enough of an impression to land the life-changing role.

He's had lots of watery roles

Jason Momoa broke into the mainstream as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, but his biggest role to date is probably in the DC Cinematic Universe, where he plays Aquaman. The DC films generally aren't met with quite the universal praise that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, but the film featuring Momoa's turn as the ruler of the seas is regarded as one of the best films that DC has put out there.

But before he became Arthur Curry, Momoa actually had several roles already in the surf. He grew up in Hawaii and had a successful career as a model before auditioning for Baywatch. He played the role of Jason Ioane until the series went off the air, and he returned for the TV movie Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding. He also had a lead role on North Shore, a series about an exclusive resort hotel.

Aquaman wasn't even the first time Momoa had been to Atlantis. He played Ronon Dex on Stargate Atlantis for several seasons, which is probably the role that started garnering him more attention for projects like Conan the Barbarian and Game of Thrones, which he joined just a few years later.

Jason Momoa is a budding biologist

Not only does Jason Momoa spend plenty of time in the surf as Aquaman, but he also has a real-world interest in marine biology. Growing up in Hawaii will do that to you. After moving to Iowa, Momoa was actually studying to become a marine biologist. He wound up transferring to Colorado State and moving into the more generic "wildlife biology" major.

Momoa didn't wind up finishing his degree, as he reportedly returned to Hawaii and then wound up being cast in Baywatch. From there, his acting career took off, and he's yet to return to finish his degree. Still, it's a fascinating turn of events that the man who was cast as Aquaman at one point studied marine life. It seems likely that his knowledge of sea creatures influenced his performance, as he would have a better understanding of what life in the ocean is like more than the average person would.

Where did he get his iconic scar?

Jason Momoa was a model growing up and says that he was often referred to as "pretty." However, starting with his roles in Conan the Barbarian and Game of Thrones, he's seen much more as a ruggedly handsome, rough-around-the-edges type of actor. So, what changed?

Part of it might be a scary event in 2008 that gave Momoa the prominent scar on his eyebrow. He told Access Hollywood that he was at a bar, and a man approached him. Suddenly, Momoa was smashed in the face with a pint glass. He had to get over 140 stitches and have some surgeries to repair the damage. He believes it was some sort of gang initiation, as the attack occurred with no provocation. Talking about the jagged line running across his eyebrow, Momoa said, "It just doesn't grow there anymore. I got my wife beforehand, so ... if she doesn't like it, too bad. She likes it."

Obviously, Momoa is a talented enough actor to play large, aggressive characters like Khal Drogo and Conan. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to look the part a bit, and his scar certainly contributed.

Are those real or fake tattoos?

Jason Momoa often has his shirt off for his roles, and that's not a fact that many people are going to complain about. However, that can make it tough to tell how many (if any) of his tattoos are real and how many are added to give his characters a bit more personality. Well, if you're wondering, some — but not all — of the tattoos you see on Momoa's characters are very real.

The most obviously real one is often visible in his public appearances. Momoa has a tribal pattern on his left forearm. It's a tribute to his Hawaiian roots, and it's designed to resemble a shark's teeth. On the inside of his other arm, Momoa has the phrase "Pride of Gypsies" inscribed. He also has the French phrase "etre toujours ivre" on that same arm, which translates to "always be drunk."

And according to O, The Oprah Magazine, Momoa has a few hand tattoos, including a skull near his thumb and the word "diablo" on his finger. Finally, he has the signatures of his two children on his chest. Momoa isn't nearly as tatted up as Khal Drogo or Aquaman, but he still has plenty of ink.

It's a lovely day for a Guinness

Jason Momoa is a bit of a party animal. After all, this is a man who has a French phrase that translates to "always be drunk" tattooed on his arm. Reportedly, Momoa's beverage of choice is Guinness. 

That love of the Irish stout apparently runs both ways, as Guinness decided to create a beer specifically for Khal Drogo. It's called "Mano Brew," and it's the company's first sour beer. They sent the actor several bottles, and the label is adorned with a few touches that are sure to make the big man proud. Hawaiian flowers and a leaping shark decorate the label along with a motif that's reminiscent of Momoa's forearm tattoo. In addition, the actor's signature is prominent across the label. Entertainment Weekly writes that he shared pints of the Irish brew with Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff while they were on set in Northern Ireland.

It doesn't appear that Mano Brew is publicly available at this point, and it certainly isn't replacing the centuries-old traditional Guinness anytime soon. Still, keep your eyes peeled for Momoa's sour next time you're shopping, just in case.

Jason Momoa has his own production company

Charisma and a commanding screen presence are pretty apparent qualities of Jason Momoa. It's tough to take your eyes off of him whenever he shows up in a film or TV show. The actor apparently has those same qualities when he's behind the camera, as he started his own production company in 2010 (one year before Game of Thrones debuted) called Pride of Gypsies.

The name refers to a pride of lions and a gypsy as a nomadic or free-spirited person, so the company sees their identity as an adventurous collective of atypical filmmakers. They've shot a few trailers for television series, like Frontier, and they've worked with Carhartt for a number of ads over the last few years. They've also made three feature films as of this writing — 2014's Road to Paloma, 2018's Braven, and the 2021 release Sweet Girl.

Though Momoa is the name behind the production company, the only feature he's directed thus far is Road to Paloma. However, he's reportedly attached to direct and star in a passion project called Ko'olau the Defiant One, about the Hawaiian folk hero.

Jason Momoa was in financial distress after Game of Thrones

We tend to imagine that, once someone becomes a household name, they're in the clear. Sadly, that's oftentimes not the case. For proof, look no further than Jason Momoa.

Momoa had a few acting roles that gained exposure before bursting into the mainstream as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones. But while Drogo was a major character in the first season of that series, it's important to remember that Momoa was in fewer than a dozen episodes. It was also the first season of the show, before it gained complete mainstream saturation, so it's not like Momoa was off making golden crowns for himself after his time on the series ended.

In fact, the opposite is true. Momoa has stated that he was totally broke and struggling to pay bills. "I mean, we were starving after Game of Thrones," the actor told InStyle. "I couldn't get work. It's very challenging when you have babies, and you're completely in debt."

Obviously, Momoa and his family are in a much better financial situation now, as he's hardly struggling to land major parts. In addition to his ongoing role as Aquaman, Momoa is involved with plenty of other big productions like Dune and See. It seems he'll be a part of the A-list conversation for quite some time.

A very successful model

Jason Momoa is an undoubtedly handsome man, and he's cultivated a "rough around the edges goofball with a heart of gold" image as his fame has grown. Even before he became the tough guy we regularly see onscreen, Momoa was busy melting hearts with his steely gaze through his modeling career.

A lot of actors move between modeling and acting, especially as their careers are getting off the ground. However, Momoa was not just some unknown quantity: he was actually discovered by acclaimed designer Takeo Kobayashi while working in a surf shop in his native Hawaii. Kobayashi convinced Momoa to try his hand at modeling, and the young Khal was named Hawaii's Model of the Year one year later.

Not long after, Momoa began auditioning for film and television roles, and he landed his first major role on Baywatch not long after. Not bad for a teenager working in a surf shop.

A 'friend' broke his nose

Part of Momoa's draw in playing intimidating characters like Khal Drogo and Aquaman comes from the fact that he's a bit banged up. He obtained his prominent eyebrow scar when someone smashed a glass into his face at a bar, requiring well over 100 stitches. However, that isn't the only appearance-altering injury Momoa has taken into his roles: he also went into another with a broken nose.

After being cast in the role, Momoa reportedly told a friend of his that he would look more like the character if he had a broken nose. Taking this as an invitation, Momoa's buddy punched him in the face, helping him to achieve the desired look. When you take a look at some of the stills from Conan, it does appear that Momoa's nose (which is normally very straight) isn't quite picture-perfect.

Many of the greats have done method acting over the years, but this is taking it a little too far. Hopefully Momoa is done having bones broken for his roles.

He hates 'traditional' workouts

Momoa plays a lot of tough dudes in his roles, and he certainly looks the part. He's naturally a pretty big guy, standing at 6'4" and boasting a physique that makes it look like he could lift a small car over his head. That said, Momoa isn't much of a gym rat; he tends to prefer more practical workouts to lifting weights. In fact, the star reportedly "hates" the gym.

Momoa's workout of choice is rock climbing — it's something he enjoys doing, and it helps him get the physique he needs for his physically demanding roles. Speaking with Men's Health, Momoa explained that he has a "really hard time training for vanity," but looking like the character is part of his job. For the Aquaman shoot, they had a rock climbing gym built for the actor to train on, and he says it kept him "in a beautiful place."

"If you're passionate about something, you don't need pushing," Momoa said. "You can push yourself." Judging from how often Momoa was shirtless in Aquaman, his workout routine was pretty successful.

He's performed with heavy metal acts

It isn't terribly hard to picture Momoa as a metalhead. With his long, flowing hair and imposing stature, he looks like he'd be right at home in the center of a mosh pit. It should come as no surprise that Momoa has regularly rocked out to classic metal acts Pantera and Slayer, even claiming on an Instagram post that Khal Drogo "wouldn't exist" if it weren't for the inspiration of bands like Pantera.

That post came from outside a show with both of those bands, which Momoa and his two children attended. They weren't content to just stay in the crowd, however. Momoa actually got onstage and belted out some of the songs. Momoa later went into the studio with Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo to add vocals to his current band, Scour.

Momoa's not just gifted with heavy metal roars, either. The man is also a fairly gifted guitar player, and plenty of footage exists of him winding down on set with a little strumming.