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The Untold Truth Of The Umbrella Academy's Tom Hopper

You know Tom Hopper as Luther, the Umbrella Academy's nominal leader, gorilla warrior, and former Man on the Moon. By the time Hopper landed the most high profile role of his career so far, he'd already had memorable parts in several other prestige shows. Notably, he played Billy Bones on the epic pirate series "Black Sails," and defiant would-be inheritor of House Tarly in "Game of Thrones."

There's much more to Hopper than his most famous characters, though. Before those roles opened doors for him, he got his start the same way most British actors do: with one-off parts on a couple of long-running medical series. He also had a small role on a classic British TV show that has traveled the world — not to mention all of time.

Beyond work, Hopper is as committed to fitness as someone with Luther's muscles (some of them) needs to be. But he's also a big family man, and he has a podcast with one of his "Umbrella Academy" co-stars, to boot. This is the untold truth of Tom Hopper, self-proclaimed vegetable connoisseur offscreen, onscreen pirate, knight, and superhero.

Tom Hopper has a podcast with another member of the Umbrella Academy

If one of your favorite things about "The Umbrella Academy" is the dynamic between the dysfunctional family at the center, you'll be pleased to know that the main cast are close offscreen, too. These bloopers that make us love "The Umbrella Academy" even more offer snapshots of those friendships. And Hopper and Robert Sheehan — aka Klaus, aka Number Four — have channeled their creative chemistry and friendship from the set into podcasting.

Alongside business consultant Byron Knight, the duo launched Earth Locker, on which the hosts interview experts (certified or self-appointed) in various fields, including entrepreneurship, meditation, spirituality, and the environment, in pursuit of advice on how to be better humans. Sheehan told Irish magazine Motley that his dream guests include Jesus, Elvis Presley, Malala Yousafzai, and Greta Thunberg, so the expectations are high. The podcast has over 40,000 followers on Instagram, not to mention a selection of fan art, and 20 episodes, as of this writing. 

Filming "The Umbrella Academy" Season 3 has put it on an indeterminate hiatus, however.

Tom Hopper has been through some grueling workouts in the name of TV

One of Luther's superpowers is incredible strength, enhanced by his gorilla-sized torso and arms. When Hopper was cast in the role, he'd already been on one show that required an intense fitness regimen and diet. He told Collider that on "Black Sails," the cast was put through a "punishing" workout schedule and a strict diet. In that case, the end goal was to get them looking like a group of lean, mean, and probably quite hangry pirates, who can't just order food delivery when they feel like it.

Originally, Hopper and "Umbrella Academy" showrunner Steve Blackman decided that most of Luther's bulk would come from Hopper. With this aim in mind, Hopper set about building mass. "I went to town on the weights ... I was eating so much food to get as big as I could," he told Netflix's Behind the Scenes podcast. "I was eating more sweet potato [than] I think anyone has eaten ever in history."

It worked — maybe too well. When Hopper arrived on set in Toronto looking "ballooned," as he put it, Blackman told him they'd decided to use prosthetics instead. That didn't mean no more working out though: Hopper told the podcast that during filming, he's usually in the gym by 3am or 4am before his 5am pickup.

Some people are still ready to give Hopper all the credit for Luther's superhuman muscles, though. "So many people ask me if that was my real body ... [It's] hilarious ... that guy's got muscles that no human's got," Hopper told Behind the Scenes.

Tom Hopper is a reformed junk food fan

Hopper's conversion to gym bunny and health food fanatic didn't happen overnight. He told People that in his 20s, he smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and ate a lot of junk food. "An average McDonald's trip would be a Big Mac meal, with a large strawberry shake. And then two cheeseburgers on the side," he said.

Hopper started to feel the health effects catching up with him: He says that he constantly had headaches. But going to the other extreme of cutting out all carbohydrates and existing on chicken and broccoli left him with no energy. Now, Hopper thinks he's found the right balance. He told Collider that he still tries to choose healthy foods — including responsibly farmed chicken — and enjoys making sure it also tastes good. "Healthy food doesn't have to be boring," he said.

Delish got the chance to find out exactly what Hopper has in his kitchen. On a virtual tour, Hopper showed off his herb garden and spice rack, which help add flavor to all those chicken dishes, and his favorite kitchen staples, including cacao powder, coconut flour, ghee, chia seeds, nuts, and anchovies. No Griddy's Donuts here.

Tom Hopper is a family man

Where Luther's family is dysfunctional and preoccupied with saving the world, Tom Hopper thankfully has a much happier home life. He met his wife Laura at a party in 2009, or so PopDust has inferred based on an Instagram post, and they married in 2014. The couple's son Freddie was born in 2015, and they had a daughter in 2018. Both parents' social media feeds are full of adorable family photos.

In 2020, Tom and Laura posted a joint video to Instagram in which they explained that they had learned a few months before that Freddie is nonverbal autistic. In an interview with People two months later, Tom said that they had decided to talk about the experience of raising an autistic child to make other parents in the same situation feel less alone. The couple also said that there was no one way to parent a child who has autism, because autism is not a single experience; it's different for everyone. Instead, they had to learn what Freddie needed from them. 

Hopper added, "My son has autism, and he amazes me every day. His brain just works in a different way."