M15 Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel star in Relativity Media's "Safe Haven." © 2012 Safe Haven Productions. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: James Bridges
Updated: March 11, 2013 6:25AM
When you’re married to a pop princess, what on Earth do you get her for Valentine’s Day?
Josh Duhamel, the lucky man married to the Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie, moans at the thought.
“I’m like many guys,” the actor says. “I think Valentine’s Day is a way for flower companies to make money. They oversell it.
“Why not bring your wife flowers every other day of the year?”
After nine years of matrimony, Duhamel has concluded, “It’s not so much about the big gestures, but the consistency and thoughtfulness of everyday life and appreciating who your mate is on an everyday basis.
“Appreciating your wife each day is the better way to express love.”
He’s also showing his romantic side at the movies. Opening on Valentine’s Day is “Safe Haven,” based on a love story by Nicholas Sparks. Duhamel plays a widower raising two young children, who meets a woman (Julianne Hough) hiding in his North Carolina town. She’s keeping secrets from everybody, including him.
Duhamel signed on for the project to work with director Lasse Hallstrom (“Dear John”).
“Lasse’s mantra was this movie will have sentiment without being overly sentimental,” Duhamel says. “We tried to play it honestly and not for the big romantic moments that feel forced.
“We definitely tried to stay away from the romantic clichés and the traps. I hate when you have this pressure to live up to the idea of a sweeping romance.”
He did have to do a romantic tearjerker staple: the dreaded dance scene.
“That scene was like my personal ‘Dancing with the Stars’ audition,” Duhamel frets. “Generally, I don’t like movies where the central couple just spontaneously dance. But I loved this script and it had a dance moment. I think it looks more natural because I’m not that good. It’s good because it’s not perfect.”
He hopes audiences will identify with the theme that love can catch you a second time around.
“These are two people who are broken,” Duhamel says. “They thought they found their love, but it didn’t work out.
“With love, it doesn’t always work out. You don’t always get the fairy tale ending. The idea of picking up and moving on was interesting for me because most people have been through some kind of a breakup. There are chances to find somebody else and move forward. The movie asks if you should take that chance.”
Duhamel took a chance on acting after attending Minot State University, where the native of North Dakota studied biology and played football. He abandoned plans to become a dentist and started modeling and then acting.
His work spans from a stint on “All My Children” to film roles in “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” (2004), “Transformers” (2007), “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (2009), “Life as We Know It” (2010), “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (2011) and “New Year’s Eve” (2011).
Filming the third “Transformers” in Chicago was a plus for him. “I always heard what a great city Chicago was and then I saw that it was even better than what I heard,” he says. “I just came to Chicago and took it all in.
“I loved hanging out by the river and just watching boats. You’ve got the beach and a beautiful skyline, plus it’s the Midwest. The people are great.”
Now 40, he’s in a marriage constantly scrutinized for baby news and does hope fatherhood is on the horizon.
“You start to recognize your mortality as you get older,” says Duhamel. “You think you’re indestructible when you’re young,” You think, ‘I’m not going to grow old.’ Now, the people I thought were old are my age! I’m the same age as those people in their 40s!
“I guess it’s all about your mindset. I’m smart now and I’m more content than I have ever been in my life.”
Big Picture News Inc.