It’s been virtually 20 years since Patrick Dempsey sauntered onto the small display screen as neurosurgeon Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on ABC’s Gray’s Anatomy (even longer since his breakthrough function as an endearing outcast in 1987’s Can’t Purchase Me Love).
His heartthrob standing created such a fan frenzy that he graced the pages of this very difficulty numerous occasions through the years. Now he’s taking residence the Sexiest Man Alive crown.
“I’m glad it’s taking place at this level in my life,” the Maine native, 57, tells PEOPLE on this week’s cowl story. “It’s good to have the popularity, and definitely my ego takes slightly bump, nevertheless it provides me the platform to make use of it for one thing constructive.”
Closest to his coronary heart is the Dempsey Heart, which he based in honor of his late mother to assist most cancers sufferers and their family members.
Different passions embrace being a household man to spouse Jillian, 57, a make-up artist and founding father of her personal clear magnificence line, and their children Talula, 21, and 16-year-old twins Sullivan and Darby, in addition to honing his penchant for race-car driving.
So what went by way of his thoughts when he first heard the information? “I used to be utterly shocked, after which I began laughing, like, this can be a joke, proper? I’ve all the time been the bridesmaid!” he says, laughing.
“I’d utterly forgotten about it and by no means even contemplated being on this place. So my ego is nice.”
As for a way his children will reply, Dempsey insists they’re “simply going to make enjoyable of me and decide on me and work out each motive why I shouldn’t be,” he says. “Which is nice, they preserve me younger.”
In December he’ll exhibit his racing expertise within the Michael Mann–directed biopic Ferrari (which obtained an interim settlement from SAG-AFTRA amid the actors’ strike), enjoying Italian driver Piero Taruffi. The movie taught him a lesson in risk-taking — however off the monitor.
“I’d been following the film for years, so I referred to as Michael and stated, ‘I need to talk about being part of this,’ ” Dempsey remembers. “That taught me in the event you actually need one thing, it’s important to do it your self.”
For extra on 2023’s Sexiest Man Alive, decide up this week’s difficulty of Folks, on newsstands Friday.
Now the actor is studying that good issues actually do come to those that wait.
“I’ve bought the bumper stickers, T-shirts, posters,” he jokes of his new title. Does this imply he’s peaked? “I peaked a few years in the past,” he says, laughing. “However I’m nonetheless right here.”
Ferrari is in theaters Christmas Day. For extra info on the Dempsey Heart, go to dempseycenter.org.