Hanging with Antonio

Antonio Sabato Jr. tells all about putting his underwear model body back on the line as a mysterious gay seducer in the upcoming film Testosterone.

BY Advocate.com Editors

July 19 2004 11:00 PM ET

There’s a quick moment in your movie that reveals drugs were a part of Dean and Pablo’s relationship. There’s even mention of the term “speed freak.” You’re no doubt aware of the domino effect of sex and drugs and HIV. Have you ever had a gay friend with a serious drug problem?
No, thank God. Drugs are an epidemic, and it’s devastating. It’s destroying souls, relationships, careers, families. People are losing everything they ever worked for, and it’s really hard to get out of it. That’s the worst part about it — you can’t force someone to go to rehab; they’ve got to do it on their own. If I did have friends like that, I’d be there for them. And I’d ask them, “What in life is worth living for? Is yourself enough? And if it’s not, you’ve got to think about other people around you.” As for AIDS, the sad thing is that our government is not doing anything about it. It’s important to raise money outside to fund programs to help. I always want to know my [gay] friends are OK.

Did you go through a party phase yourself?
Yeah, especially when I was living in New York in my early 20s. Man, I was out there. I’ve been around the world, from Spain to St. Tropez, where you start going out at midnight.

You still have a wild side. You race cars, ride a Harley, ride horses, go shark fishing. But how metrosexual are you — do you go for mani’s and pedis?
Manicures, pedicures? I love them. I hit the tanning booth and get massages too.

With the popularity of shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, are gay guys hitting on you more these days? Any wolf whistles? 
No, but people of both sexes have grabbed my ass. I hate that. I’ve been at nightclubs and signings, and somebody grabs my ass! If somebody asked me if they could touch my ass, I’d probably be OK with it. I might even say, “Let me touch your ass!” But if somebody doesn’t ask and I don’t expect it, I’m pissed! I don’t like not knowing in general. When I was a kid and somebody would tap me on the back of my head, I’d get really furious. If somebody hides behind a corner and jumps out and goes boo, I hate that! [Laughs] I have a temper — a lot of testosterone — and I’ve gotten into a lot of fights in the past [most recently, a backstage brawl at a fashion event in Los Angeles in April]. But I try to calm myself down now.

Point noted. So you’ve gone dancing at gay clubs?
Yeah, I’ve got many gay friends, and I love the music [at gay clubs]—house, techno, trance; it’s awesome. I have a lot of gay friends in Miami. Gianni [Versace] was one of ’em, God bless his soul. We were close. We respected our careers, hanging out with each other and [Versace’s sister] Donatella.

You kind of danced in Janet Jackson’s video for “Love Will Never Do Without You” [1992]. Did you ever have a wardrobe malfunction during a Calvin Klein underwear shoot?
No! But if I did, I could handle it. I’m not shy about anything. I’m pretty cool with walking around in my underwear. I’m happy with my… my thing… my friend… whatever you want to call it.

Testosterone is partly about taking passion too far — have you ever obsessed over someone yourself?
Oh, yeah. [Rolls eyes] You know a model by the name of Inés Sastre? She’s Spanish. She’s a [Lancôme cosmetics] girl. She’s got a little mole here [points to face], dark hair… you’ve seen in her in every magazine. Years ago — this is complimenting her, like you care, Inés — I was in New York [at the offices of the Ford modeling agency], and she was there. I didn’t know who she was, but I was just stunned. It was like hit-and-run! We talked briefly, and she left. For a year I tried to get in touch with her. She never got back to me. I’d send her flowers wherever she was, around the world. I was pretty obsessed. She’s in Spain, probably dating millionaires. I also called Britney Spears one time to see if she was single. But she never called me back!

You’re a romantic, then?
[Smiles] I was more, back then. Now I focus on things that are more important.

Have you ever had to console a gay friend with a broken heart?
Yeah, and I would always say first of all, “Respect yourself. You deserve better than this. You can’t take yourself down and give up. You’ve got to think about yourself and not the other person. Otherwise, you’ll destroy yourself.”

Has a guy friend ever fallen for you?
There was one, and he didn’t know how to approach it; he just felt this thing for me. I said, “Hey, man, if we’re going to be friends, you’ve got to respect me like I respect you. [If you don’t] our friendship’s not going to work.”

You have a crush on a guy yourself in a way… why the tattoo of Batman on your lower back?
Because he’s the only superhero that is human. I’ve loved reading comic books since I was a kid. I love the colors of his suit, the Batcave, and the fact that he’s very dark. I guess I relate because when I first came to America I couldn’t speak the language. He has these two lives. He’s got nobody in his life but this old man who loves him.

Hmmm.
[Laughs] What I like is that he knows what he’s meant to do, and he does it. And nothing will come in the way — women or distraction — of his goal to help people.

If you had to marry a guy, who would it be: Hugh Jackman or Brad Pitt? Ticktock, ticktock…
[Laughs] I know them both. I’d probably pick Hugh Jackman because he sings — The Boy From Oz was great — and he’s Australian. I love Australia! Not to say I wouldn’t pick Brad. Brad’s cool, but he smokes a lot.

John Kerry or George Bush?
Oh, no-o-o.

Will or Jack
Oh, Jack! He’s fun. He brings the best and worst out in you, man! There’s always something going on with him.

Does anyone still call you Junior?
My mom [Yvonne]. She calls me J.R., actually.

What’s the most important advice she has given you?
To be humble.

Is there anything small about you?
My ass. I’ve got a small ass. Everything was moved up front.

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