Idris Elba on his early days: ‘I was DJ’ing, but I was also pushing bags of weed’

Sweet mother of all that it is holy. Idris Elba is the third and final cover man for GQ’s October issue. They really did save the best for last, and that’s saying something because I really enjoyed Jeff Bridges’ GQ article yesterday. First thing you need to do is GO HERE for Idris’ GQ photoshoot because it is full of really lovely photos of our Idris. Next, you can read the full Idris interview here (some highlights are below). Idris is promoting Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a film which man think will earn Idris his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. IDRIS!!

Idris Elba on formerly selling drugs & working as a doorman to make ends meet:
“Yeah, it was, because I was running with cats. I mean, I was DJ’ing, but I was also pushing bags of weed; I was doing my work. I had to. I know that sounds corny, but this is the truth.” He says he’d sell drugs at Carolines, and meanwhile all these successful guys would come through: D. L. Hughley, Dave Chappelle. “All those black comedians, they knew me as a doorman.”

…on his legacy of playing Stringer Bell on HBO’s The Wire:
“That really is more about the writing of The Wire than it is the performance. You know, Stringer Bell is a great character that was written. I happened to play him, but it could’ve been anybody playing that role.”

You really feel like anybody could’ve played Stringer?
“Listen, I think I brought Stringer to life my way, but The Wire isn’t a classic because of Stringer Bell. The Sopranos was a classic because of Tony Soprano.”

…on his feud with Liam Gallagher following the NME Awards:
And then he throws on “Wonderwall,” by Oasis, which is curious, because even though the mostly British crowd is howling the song back at him, Elba has been in the tabloids recently for an altercation with Liam Gallagher after this year’s NME Awards; the younger Gallagher brother removed Elba’s wool cap in an apparently disrespectful manner. Elba took issue; the two men got into it. So it seems suspicious, Elba playing Gallagher’s song, and the next day, when we meet up again, I ask him about it. “Wonderwall” last night—were you taking a shot? “No! F–k that idiot. No.”

Basically, Elba says, he just gave Liam a hug and an affectionate rub on the head.
“Didn’t like that. Don’t touch his hair, apparently. F–k off. Next time walk with a f–king hairdresser, then.” Laughter. “Well, ‘I’m a popular rock singer, so I’m going to be mean and f–king horrible to people just because they messed up my look.’ F–k off. I played his song because his song’s a classic. I couldn’t—I don’t even know what his songs are about now or what band he’s in now. No one gives a f–k, yeah? He was popular when he was in Oasis.”

Paternity drama:
He was dating a woman in Florida, had been for a couple of years. They were living together and in love. She became pregnant and gave birth to a boy. For a brief moment, it was among the happiest times of Elba’s life. “The celebration of having a son—from a man’s perspective, it’s massive.” He told friends about it. He told reporters about it. Then came the suggestion—not from the child’s mother, but from elsewhere—that not everything was what it appeared to be. “It wasn’t immediately obvious—well, it was, because he didn’t look like me,” Elba says. “But it wasn’t immediately obvious what had gone down.” Eventually, Elba decided to take a paternity test, which showed the child wasn’t his. “To be given that and then have it taken away so harshly,” he says, “was like taking a full-on punch in the face: POW.”

…on finding out he was not the father of a boy he was calling his own:
“You know, the truth is—like, even admitting it, I’ll probably get laughed at for the rest of my life. But it is just tragic, and it happened.” He looks directly at me when he says this. “But I wasn’t knocked out. I stood right the f–k back up, and I ain’t aiming to take another punch in the face ever again. Do you understand what I’m saying? It happened to me. I moved on.” In a paradoxical way, he says, it was freeing. “I’ve not been an angel in my life, either—do you know what I’m saying? So to a certain extent, what goes around comes around. But for me in the future, I’m about being comfortable. That’s it.”

He disappears: As a kid, Elba says, “I sort of blended into the background quite a bit. I wasn’t the guy that was a big personality. I was the tall, silent, quiet type.” Even now—I can attest to this—he gets lost in crowds. Walk into a room with him and watch him disappear. “I call it the invisible factor,” he says. “On any ordinary street, walking down in London Soho in a cap, I’m just a f–king tall black man walking along.”

[From GQ]

I didn’t know about the paternity drama with a woman in Florida. Damn. That’s harsh. Doesn’t he have another baby-mama in Atlanta too? Or is that the same woman who was fooling around on Mr. Elba?! Honestly, I kind of ignore Idris’ personal life. I think he’s probably a mess in his personal life. But the man is really hot and he can ACT. And he’s hot. Did I mention that he’s hot?

Photos courtesy of Sebastian Kim / GQ.

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50 Responses to “Idris Elba on his early days: ‘I was DJ’ing, but I was also pushing bags of weed’”

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  1. T.fanty says:

    What a beautiful day here at CB. I don’t keno where to look!

    What a wonderfully forthright interview. I think his personal life is a bit shady, but oh dear god, I would still hit it. And pretend I didn’t hear the bit about how a man really needs a son. Sixer, I might need to borrow your ball gag.

    • Nev says:



    • Sixer says:

      It’s taken me ten minutes to be able to type.


      I love that he’s borderline rude. I just know that he needs ME to excavate that latent sexism.

      I will let him talk and PuddleTom has suddenly been locked in the understairs cupboard now I’ve seen these photos – so yes, Fanty, gag’s all yours.

  2. Sephora Wilson says:

    He seems more American to me than British. I don’t know why. When he comes to mind I just think American. I always forget he’s a Brit.

  3. tifzlan says:

    It’s gonna be a wonderful day today. I can tell.


  4. blue marie says:

    Oh Egg-y (haircut makes it look less so?), you would never be invisible with me.

    I can’t imagine what it would feel like to think you have a child and then to learn it’s not yours, must be heartbreaking.

    • V4Real says:

      I heard the rumors about him selling weed a few years back. Also on some of the other websites people were talking about the kid not being his. He does have a daughter with his ex wife.

      He’s such a hottie and sharing such private info just makes him even hotter.

  5. SouthernGal says:

    Good GAWD this man is fine. Thank you sweet baby Jezbus for this beautiful specimen of a man. Oooooooweeeeee!!!!

  6. Elodie says:

    IDRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSS! Le unnnnnnnnnnnnfffffffffffffff OMG this makes up for all the TIFF pics miss thank you CB woohoooooo!

    It’s just awful to be lied to like that, or then perhaps the woman was scared and couldn’t get herself to tell him? Either way, it’s just wrong and heartbreaking! But um… yeah the guy is a mess personal life wise he flirts and hits on shamelessly, I can confirm :D

    But hello a child is a child, the whole thing of having a son is a bigger deal… I mean… eh??? But then again perhaps from his point of view and feelings.

  7. Nev says:


  8. Mia 4S says:

    He has a daughter with an ex wife who lives in Atlanta I believe. Very sad that he believed he had a son too but didn’t. I hope the little boy was very young when it came out because thanks to his selfish mother he lost the “father” he would have known since birth.

  9. T.fanty says:

    Also – a DJ doubling as a dealer? Say it ain’t so! *clutches pearls*. What is the world coming to?!?

    • Sixer says:

      Well, in all honesty, he’s not that great at DJing, so I expect he needed the money…

      See? I’m an equal opportunities critic. Dry your tears, Tommy-omelette.

      • T.fanty says:

        I have never experienced his music. For the same reason you stay away from TommyAnne’s twitter. I need the illusion of infallibility. Unless we’re talking about DUC, in which case I need the illusion of never-ending fallibility.

      • Sixer says:

        Wise move.

        Idris’s Twitter tells me that he was a ten pound baby. So was I. We were meant to be. Gestation counts.

      • T.Fanty says:

        Sorry. All I can think of now is Hiddles announcing a ten-pound little Tom on twitter. Then posting his baby weight.

      • Sixer says:

        How did the stork carry Tommyette all the way from the gooseberry bush if Tommyette weighed that much?

      • T.Fanty says:

        If you go around the back of the bikeshed with him, Tom will show you how it all REALLY happens. And have you back in time for English class.

      • Sixer says:

        I’m only doing that if he carves our initials in a heart on the big tree at the end of the playing field.

      • T.Fanty says:

        Are you kidding? You’ll get an Orlando-esque terrible verse sellotaped all over the tree:

        My love doth have a name, and it is Sixer,
        When she criticizes me, I wisheth to fix her,
        And then she calls me Puddletom, and my desire is to kiss her,
        Sixer, Sixer, Sixer, how I adore thee,
        Your beauty is more forthright and barkey than this tree.

      • Sixer says:

        Grazie mille.

        As the recipient of some T.Fanty mockverse, I now feel my life is complete!

  10. Cora says:

    Idris has a daughter named Isan with the woman in Atlanta.

  11. GeeMoney says:

    One word: YUM!

    Between the posts about him and Cumberbatch today, I think my ovaries just exploded.

  12. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    That happened to one of my uncles. When he was younger, he had a girlfriend who had two or three other kids, and eventually she became pregnant and had a son. Well the kid looked like her and all the other kids, so he didn’t even question it. I think they broke up when the kid was very young (under a year old), so my uncle, naturally, paid her child support. After a few months of that, he wanted to make it official–child support and visitation.

    So that meant going down to the courthouse, getting a paternity test and so on–so he told her what day their appointment was, he went–she never showed up. One of life’s great mysteries…..(not)

    Anyway, I guess it’s too much to ask or hope, but I would hope that Idris would’ve kinda stepped in and adopted him or something. Because for a while there, yeah, he thought it was his kid, and he treated him like it. Those feelings don’t (shouldn’t) automatically go away once you find out, biologically, the kid ain’t yours.

    Maybe he still is involved in his (de facto) son’s life and just doesn’t want to say anything….

  13. Ag says:

    He’s hot as hell. That’s all I’ve got.

  14. bijlee says:

    Yes to all of those pictures. Just yes.

  15. Etana says:

    He sounds like work. A bad bad boy. So my brain says no but the rest of me says Take Me Now, IDRIIISSSS!

  16. Tiffany says:

    The paternity story, wow. I would not wish that kind of heartbreak on my worst enemy.

    On a completely superficial note, NEW PHOTOS. WHEEE….EEEE….EEEE.

    • Kim says:

      He’s hot as hell and before he talked about the boy, i would have been all over that. But, is it heartbreaking for him or the boy? Did he walk away from a child that had bonded to him because he wasnt his biological offspring? If so, it happens, but the one its a real tragedy for is the boy who lost the only father he ever knew….i dont have a tremendous amount of sympathy for him, other than for being lied to. And what, is his female child chopped liver?

  17. stinky says:

    but these photos are comical – who shot em,
    Terry Richardson?
    Dude is better than that.

  18. Humane says:

    I don’t find him hot at all.

  19. truthSF says:

    I will gladly carry your child Idris. We just need to have a go at atleast 5 times a day just to be sure it takes.

  20. Lib says:

    He sounds like the anti-Hiddles. Thank you Idris my baby for exorcising all memory of that simpering, pandering mess of an English man. Call me?

  21. Megan says:

    I love HIM. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE him. I also love how modest he his, but he is wrong, the Wire needed Stringer and he is Stringer. But I think it is wonderful he is modest about it.

    Also based on previews alone if he doesn’t get an Oscar Nomination I will be enraged. I want a Stringer and Wallace rematch- at the Oscars!!!

  22. j.eyre says:

    Well, he sure looks good.

  23. Nattie says:

    Just read the full piece. OMG he is such a mess. A 41 year old with a daughter who lives out of suitcases. Heres the thing though, I would still hit it hard. All day. And I would take photos too of me hitting it. And I would put those pics on my fridge, and my facebook pics, and on my Christmas card.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Yup. Posted the same below.

      Hit it and quit it like a bad habit.

      …and I mean RUN FAR, FAR AWAY after I hit it.

      Maybe leave his scent on me for a while so I can enjoy the memory.

  24. Jayna says:

    I love a man who can rock a great suit. It’s so sexy. The big legs don’t hurt. No skinny chicken man legs for him.

  25. Samtha says:

    No words, just drool.

  26. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Super-sexy, incredible actor but I agree that he seems like a hot mess.
    I’ll just say this: this interview (and most of his interview actually) do NOT make me love him.
    At all.

    However, I do enjoy looking at the pictures of his fine ass.

  27. ThruRoseColouredGlasses says:

    Gawd that man could get it every which a way every single day. Mmmm. Idris. Yes.

    His personal life seems shady because he admits he wasn’t the most faithful. I think now that he’s a bit older that he understands what he wants out of a relationship… not just a fast f*ck.

    Idris… when you’re ready I can be reached at 832….

  28. Ari says:


  29. Miss M says:

    I don’t want read any of interviews ever again. He is an uninteresting mess!

    But, I won’t complain if I see nice pictures of him, :)

  30. lu says:

    This is a real English man, forget those weak, pathetic posh boys cumber and hiddle whatevers.