Jesse Metcalfe got honest about a tough time in his life, not long after his breakout on Desperate Housewives when he took on the leading role in the film John Tucker Must Die.

The actor, 45, took part in an onstage panel at Epic Cones Chicago alongside his film co-stars, Sophia Bush and Arielle Kebbel, where they discussed the body image “pressure”.

Jesse Metcalfe during "John Tucker Must Die" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by J.Sciulli/WireImage)© John Sciulli
Jesse Metcalfe at the John Tucker Must Die premiere

“You guys have no idea,” he said. “I was not eating, and I was working out three times a day,” adding that he would be at the gym “anytime that I was not on set.”

To play the role of womanizing teenager John Tucker, Jesse ended up “working out and eating salmon every night.” He added: “I was taking it pretty darn seriously.”

He added that he felt “a lot of anxiety” about being the lead actor in his first major project, which led to the extreme diet and exercise habits. But it seemed he wasn’t the only person who felt the pressure.

Jesse Metcalfe (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)© Jeffrey Mayer
Jesse opened up about the body image pressures to keep up his physique

Sophia, 41, and Arielle, 39, both agreed that the movie set “was rough in terms of body image” for all actors involved.

Despite the rigorous workout routine and diet, Jesse revealed that he actually gained a lot of confidence while filming the teen comedy, loosely based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor.

“I had a complex about if I could pull off the comedy,” he said – particularly “running around in women’s underwear in front of the entire cast and about 40 extras”, which he described as “humbling, to say the least.”

He added that another of his favorite scenes was “scaling the building in a towel and dropping the towel and setting myself up on the bed” in the lacy underwear. 

“And the women’s volleyball coach comes in and grabs me by the ear, pulls me into the hallway — amazing. That was a hilarious scene… but also one that was terrifying.”

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