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Hero Complex: Leading Men Who Struggle With Body Image

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Henry Cavill as Superman (Warner Bros)

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Channing Tatum as Magic Mike (Warner Bros)

Channing Tatum and Henry Cavill made headlines this week with revelations about how they relate to their bodies – and it's not the stuff of smirking confidence you might find on a movie poster.

“I was fat … I was Fat Cavill," British actor Henry admitted in the summer issue of Details magazine.

One wouldn't expect that candor from a young man whose pumped shoulders are weighed with rebooting the Superman franchise.

Likewise for Tatum, the flexing stallion of "Magic Mike." His projected image tends to disrobe and save the day, but, admittedly, he'd rather skip the major sacrifice it takes to look the part.

"I'm a fat kid on the inside," he recently told Cosmo. "I love food so much and I fluctuate about 25 to 30 pounds between movies."

Tatum underscores his preference for pizza, cheeseburgers, and beer in the article. Cavill also forgoes the conventions of a leading man magazine profile – no cheeky breakdown of his diet and ab routine, but instead a palpable anxiety.

"They’d get me up at the crack of dawn, and we’d go to work in this tiny gym at the bottom of the very cheap motel we were staying in. We’d go for an hour, an hour and a half, and then we’d film all day in 100-degree temperatures," he said.

While body scrutiny is sadly prevalent with leading ladies, it's not the first time image issues have plagued men in Hollywood. A few more examples …

Russell Crowe

The notoriously grumpy Crowe has never openly addressed his fluctuating weight, but throughout his career his body has been a more popular topic than his work.

Take his 2009 political thriller "State of Play," where a soft and scruffy Crowe played opposite a lean and polished Ben Affleck. Cultural pundits ripped Crowe apart with gems like, "God, [he's] a slob."

While Crowe has offered the occasional self-deprecating fast food joke at a press conference, he frequently takes to Twitter to share his workout routine. This isn't a movie star boring us with daily minutia – it seems more like he's looking for a sense of community and support in his struggle to stay fit.

Russell Brand

Another Russell with an equally unpredictable personality. The British beanpole was admittedly a bigger kid, and Brand’s addictive personality manifested with an eating disorder.

"It’s awful to be bulimic but I lost a whole lot of weight when I needed to … I was a fat kid, not obese but chubby," he said in 2006.

Seth Rogen

The pot-loving star of "Knocked Up" became an instant darling thanks to Judd Apatow's magic wand, but soon raised eyebrows when he took on a slick superhero role in "The Green Hornet."

Though he showed dedication in slimming down, many fans were displaced by his new look. The movie, which co-starred Cameron Diaz, was both a critical and box office disappointment. In sliding back to his natural build, Rogen didn't find any comfort.

"I'm slowly outgrowing all the clothes I bought last year," he said in 2011 just after the film was released. "It's a sad thing. I gave away all my fat clothes, thinking 'I won't need these anymore,' but I do!"

Jonah Hill

Things didn’t fare much better for Rogen pal Jonah Hill, who dropped a stunning amount of weight and had the same confused following. At first, Hill thought looking after his health was a part of growing up.

"I think it's about the work you are doing. Getting in better shape is a sign of maturity. I think you are taken seriously," he said last May.

He's gained some weight back, but hasn't piped up on what it does (or does not) mean.

Jerry O'Connell

Being universally adored as the heavy kid in "Stand By Me" has had a lingering effect on the very fit O'Connell.

"I was a typical American kid," he told Men's Fitness, "I ate a bag of chips on the way home from school and a box of Entenmann's when I got there."

Joe Manganiello

The massive "True Blood" hunk reveals a bit of internal competition in this month's Men's Health U.K.

“I’m not 18 anymore. But you won’t hear me saying that, because me at 36 would destroy me as a teenager. In my mid-thirties I’m making bigger gains than I’ve ever made in my life," he said in the issue.

What do you make of these men and their body struggles? Tell us in the comments.

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