Channing Tatum: I’ll Never Medicate My Child for Learning Disabilities

 Vanity Fair

Right about now, Channing Tatum is taking a crash course in parenthood alongside wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum as they get acquainted with infant daughter Everly, born just five days ago in London. (Us Weekly first broke the news over the weekend, with the Hollywood couple announcing their daughter's name online Tuesday, June 4.) Before that happy day, the Magic Mike actor, 33, spoke to Vanity Fair about how he was getting ready — or not — for his first child's arrival.

"I don't think you can prepare," Tatum reasoned. "It's a bit of a freestyle." (Married to Dewan-Tatum, 32, since 2009, the Vow hunk correctly predicted his baby's gender, telling the magazine: "My wife thinks boy. I think girl.")

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He said his own parents "weren't perfect. I don't know anyone who did have perfect parents. It's provided me with lessons I'll try to improve upon when I'm up to bat. I'm just going to be a good friend to my kid."

One of his father's less-than-perfect moments? "That whole 'I don't want you to make the same mistakes' mentality," observed the star, currently shooting Jupiter Ascending in the UK. "My dad didn't have much money growing up; he didn't have much of an education. He forced that on me, and I didn't want it."

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His father's emphasis on education underscored the future star's lesser known struggle with a learning disability. "I [still] read so slow," Tatum confided. "If I have a script I'm going to read it five times slower than any other actor, but I'll be able to tell you everything in it. It kills me that there are standardized tests geared towards just one kind of child."

In an effort to tackle his problem head-on, a young Tatum was medicated — which led to a traumatic experience.

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"I truly believe some people need medication," he clarified. "I did not. I did better at school when I was on it, but it made me a zombie. You become obsessive." Likening drugs such as Dexedrine, Adderall to "coke, or crystal meth," the new dad explained: "The more you do, the less it works. For a time, it would work well. Then it worked less and my pain was more. I would go through wild bouts of depression, horrible comedowns."

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"I understand why kids kill themselves," he continued. "I absolutely do. You feel terrible. You feel soul-less." So little Everly or any future siblings will not be medicated in the same way, he vows: "I'd never do it to my child."

The July issue of Vanity Fair will be available on newsstands in New York and L.A. on June 6 and nationally on the iPad, Nook, and Kindle on June 11.

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