SEXIEST MAN ALIVE

The country superstar and voice judge gets honest about being a heartthrob, life with Gwen and why no one should ever see him naked

by Melody Chiu & Julie Jordan

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Blake Shelton really hates being the center of attention. So when it came to his being named 2017’s Sexiest Man Alive, his girlfriend of two years, Gwen Stefani, had to take charge. “She goes, ‘Listen to me,’ ” recalls the country-music star. “  ‘You’re going to regret this for the rest of your life if you don’t take this gift and just live in the moment.’ ” Rightly so. Having just released his album Texoma Shore and a Christmas duet with Stefani, the 6'5" Oklahoma-bred Shelton, 41, is embracing a new pace in life. But what he’s most looking forward to is sticking the title to his fellow judge on NBC’s The Voice (and former Sexiest Man Alive) Adam Levine. “I’ve been ugly my whole life,” Shelton adds. “If I can be sexy for a year, I’m taking it!”

At this point I'm not covering anything up. I'm not hiding anything about myself.

-Blake Shelton

"It all started as a couple of people ready to stand by each other," says Shelton of Stefani.

So what did you think when you first heard that you were going to be named the Sexiest Man Alive?
That y’all must be running out of people. Like, “Wow, we’re down to somebody who is somewhat symmetrical.” And then the next thought I had was, “Man, I can’t wait to shove this up Adam’s ass.” As proud as I am and honored that you guys asked me, that’s really the only thing I care about.

Is it hard not to shout it from the rooftops?
Trust me, trust me, it will be shouted. I’m not going to treat this like Hugh Jackman or one of those guys who’s humble about it. People are going to hate me over this. Because it’s going to be used in every conversation, whether it’s at The Voice or at the feed store in Tishomingo, Okla., or in a conversation with a doctor. Until I have to hand the title, which is what it is to me, over to someone else, this is mine. This is like a certification.

How would you describe yourself as a kid growing up in Ada, Okla.?
I think to describe myself as a child, one word comes to mind. And that’s “fat.” People say I haven’t changed since before I made it. And I’m still fat today. That’s proof!

Have you always been comfortable in your own skin?
No, not until I turned 40 and I just kind of figured, you know what? I made it. I’ve got a job. And people have accepted me, so I guess I just don’t care anymore. [Laughs]

What’s one of the biggest misconceptions about you out there?
That I’m this big partyer. In my 20s, hell yes I loved to party, but that was a long time ago. In fact there’s nothing that I hate more than going to a party. I’m half deaf, and I can’t hear what people are saying to me. There have been times where I would say, “How you doing?” And they’ll tell me something horrible that’s going on in their life, and I’ll just say, “Well, I’ll be damned, that’s great.” And not realize what that person just said to me.

Does Gwen tease you about anything?
I’m younger than Gwen, and lately things like, I don’t know, gout and a back going out. Or my knees are constantly bothering me. Those are things she’s like, “Aha! How do you like that? You’re 41 now, Blake.” She teases me about my age.

How did your friendship evolve into a romance?
When you’re where she and I were, and you just feel so betrayed and on bottom, this bond that we formed when we found out what each other were going through, it’s still there. Like this unified front of, “You know what? I know how you feel right now, and I’ve got your back.” What’s most important to Gwen is somebody who has her back and is a best friend, so that’s kind of how it started, and it just kept snowballing into what it is now, and it just feels like it gets stronger all the time, you know? It’s crazy.

A lot of people couldn’t really see you guys together like that.
I’m right there with everybody. I see people all the time going, “I just don’t get it, I don’t understand the Gwen and Blake thing, it’s got to be fake.” That doesn’t upset me, because it’s a hard thing to wrap your head around. She and I, on paper we couldn’t be more different, but in life nothing’s ever worked better for me.

What do you love most about being around her three sons?
The best part for me, selfishly, is discovering a part of myself that I guess I never really knew was in there. It’s definitely an instinct that kind of kicks in. For a long time it was awkward trying to figure out what my place is, and in their mind too. There’s days where you go, “Oh my God, when does school start?” And then an hour later you’re going, “God, I can’t wait till they get home.” They’re so damn funny. It’s just my first time being around it, and it’s easy to fall in love with those kids. They’re pretty special.

What’s your perfect date night?
Oh my God, it’s so easy: Lying in bed and watching a movie, that’s it. That is such a coveted, special-like and rare thing for her and me, you know? And I rarely make it through the movie, which I think drives her crazy too.

Would she say you are romantic?
I don’t know. I try to be a gentleman as much as I can. I think the thing that she needs most in her life is to be put on a pedestal. Every day that I’m around her, that’s what my goal is.


His first time...

first girl i kissed
Monica Cash. We were 12 or 13. She’d been my girlfriend for two months, and we finally kissed. I’m sure she broke up with me after that.

first car
A gmc stepside 5-speed. My dad wanted me to learn how to drive a stick shift.

first person who made me feel good
My mom. She’d always say something that would completely turn the day around for me.

first recognized
Early on at what's now the CMA fest. I heard someone behind me go, “Terri! Terri! Terri!” they thought I was Terri Clark. I got a haircut soon after that.

I feel like people know what I look like, and there's no reason not to embrace who I am anymore.

-Blake Shelton

They bicker like brothers on The Voice, but Levine is “one of the most loving people I’ve ever known,” says Shelton (above, with the Maroon 5 frontman and former contestant RaeLynn).

Are you good about taking care of yourself? Do you like to work out?
I’ve never been good at it. You can see pictures of me; it is what it is. I’ll lose a bunch of weight and feel good about it, and what do I do when I feel good? I eat. Then next thing you know, some picture comes out of me, and I’ve got three chins.

So what’s your biggest vice?
Chips. I love, like, corn tortilla chips and any kind of cheese dip. There’s nothing I can do about it, and I can’t just have a bite. It’s a problem.

What do you eat in a day?
That’s easily the toughest question you’ve asked me today. There’s nothing typical about it. If I’m at home [in Oklahoma], it could be 2 o’clock in the afternoon before I eat, and then I realize I’m starving, so then it’s a bag of Cheetos. And there’s a Sonic in town—they got jalapeño poppers. And then I’m not hungry again until 10 o’clock. Well, what’s in there? Fish sticks. And, like, a big pickle, those pickles that come in their own package with juice? It is really bad.

Have you learned from any of your failures over the years?
Hopefully I’ve learned from all of the things I’ve failed at. I’ve learned to just keep my mouth shut and go about my day. I’ve gotten way better at ignoring haters. You just get to a point where you go, “Man, I have got to grow up.”

What’s still on your bucket list?
This probably sounds stupid, but there’s really not much left on my bucket list after I met Dolly Parton. I’ve been so blessed and so lucky, and it’s happened in a short amount of time. I’m going to look back at all this extra bucket stuff that I didn’t even probably really let soak in at the time. Like The Voice, it’s coming at you so fast—even though we’re having a blast, it’s a lot at once.

Do you sing around the house?
I don’t sing as much as I used to. I wonder why that is, now that you say that. I’m a TV star now—I don’t sing. [Laughs] I don’t even sing in the shower much anymore.

On that note, when were you last naked?
I guess it would’ve been in the shower this morning. I normally get naked to get in.

Do you ever walk around the house without any clothes on?
No! Oh Christ, I wouldn’t do that to anybody. I wouldn’t want my dog to have to see me naked. It’s like half-melted vanilla ice cream with little hairs stuck to it. That’s what I look like naked.

So what do you normally wear around the house?
I wear a T-shirt and Air Jordan shorts that go down to my knees. I’m a jeans and-button-up-shirt kind of guy—always have been. You can dig up pictures of me in high school and see I like plaid and flannel.

And you often wear a hat.
It’s all about I don’t want to mess with my hair. When it used to be brown it would do what I said, but when it goes gray it turns into a Brillo Pad, so I put a baseball cap on. The Brillo Pad drives women crazy.

Do you ever pamper yourself?
No. I do not want anybody touching me. And I’m proud to say that I’ve never had a manicure or a pedicure. Proud of that.

When Adam was Sexiest Man Alive, he told us he waxes so you can see his tattoos better. Could he persuade you to try that?
No! I don’t want people to stare at my body so badly that I have to remove hair from it. Just saying that out loud is a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

So how do you think you’ll wear the crown better than he did?
Because when they’d say to Adam, “Mr. Sexy,” you’d always see him go, “Well, awwww . . .” If you say that to me, it’s going to be, “You’re damn right, I’m Mr. Sexy! That’s Blake Shelton, Mr. Sexiest Man Alive to you.” That’s how I’m going to treat this. To me, if you’re going to get this, don’t be bashful about it. I’m owning this moment.


blake fills in the blanks...

the oldest thing i have in my closet is...
A pair of boots from high school that I don’t throw away because I think one day if an apocalypse happens, I’ll need ’em.

i always borrow gwen's...
Gum. But it’s really more like stealing. You don’t give that back.

i'm self-conscious about...
My man-boobs. My moobs.

i've checked into a hotel as...
Butch McLintock. My favorite movie at some point was McLintock! with John Wayne, and people used to call me Butch in high school.

if i want to look sexier, i...
Suck in. [Laughs]

if you look in my glove box you'll find...
Uh, vehicle registrations from various years. A flashlight, some loose change and probably ketchup packets.

THROUGH THE YEARS

"Mom and Dad made a very wise investment getting me a guitar."

"I'm missin' a front tooth. Those glasses. And that mullet. That is unacceptable."

"Apparently I found an old Opry member's jacket. It's just bad."

"My mom always made me feel super-good about myself."

I've just been so lucky and gotten to do things I never, ever would've dreamed I would get to do.

-Blake Shelton

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