Much as JTT loves spreading happiness and enjoyment, he couldn't be as successful as he is if he weren't happy himself. Sure, acting and doing charitable works fulfill him, but he's hardly an "all work and no play" kind of boy.
At home Jonathan is like any other young teen. That's where he can really be himself. One of his favorite pastimes is working and playing with his computer. A prized possession of Jonathan's is the CD-ROM game Wolfenstein. "It's like you're a soldier in World War II and you're fighting the Nazis," JTT explained to a reporter from People magazine. You can also find in Jonathan's computer corner lots of educational CD-ROM software such as a geography program that breaks down the top cities in the U.S. - "It searches your priorities like a low crime rate and great schools and prints out a list," he said. And then there's Encarta, which is "an encyclopedia on CD-ROM. I use it when I'm writing reports."
Of course, when Jonathan really needs a little one-on-one help with his schoolwork, he turns to big brother Joel. "Joel's really, really smart, not a nerd though," Jonathan said in a Q-and-A with Disney Adventures magazine. "He's always writing these lab reports for honors biology and I have no clue what he's saying."
But once the homework is done, both Jonathan and Joel head outside for a little hoop time. "He's an incredible basketball player," said Jonathan of Joel, "Sometimes we'll play a game of basketball and he kills me. He just dunks over me every time."
Jonathan's life at home is far from the Hollywood scene - there are no stars there. That means that both Joel and Jonathan have their assigned chores to do every week. Jonathan takes care of the cat litter boxes, keeps his room neat and in order, and cleans the backyard garden and pool. "There are snails in the backyard and they're always eating our plants - sometimes they fall in the pool," Jonathan said. "I get the wonderful job of cleaning the pool and vacuuming it and getting the snails out - someone's gotta do it!"
Another job Jonathan has is helping plan dinners. Since he's a vegetarian, it's usually pretty simple fare like soup, vegetables, salads, and pasta like macaroni and cheese. Of course, Jonathan is the first to say he doesn't actually cook because "nobody would eat it if I did!"
Obviously Jonathan has a full day of work, school, and chores, but that doesn't mean he goes to bed early. No way. He likes to stay up late. "I'm a night person," says Jonathan, who likes to watch C-SPAN on TV before he goes to sleep. "I gotta keep up on daily events," he explains. He also likes to read in bed, and when he can, he stays up to the wee hours just to finish a book.
When asked by Kidsday what kinds of books he favors, Jonathan revealed, "I read a book I like several years ago called The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, who also wrote The River. He writes about living in the country and surviving. I also like war stories. I've read The Upstairs Room by Joanna Reiss. Art Spiegelman also writes interesting books. His dad was in a concentration camp. Art recorded his story, and he expressed his dad's feeling very well in books he writes."
When it finally time for Jonathan to go to sleep, he often has company, his dog Mac. "Mac's a short guy - he just thinks he's a big German shepherd," describes JTT. "He's real ornery, but he's a great dog." So great that Jonathan puts up with his strange sleep habits! "Mac sleeps at the foot of my bed and at night, I don't know why - maybe his mouth is dry - he smacks his lips. He has plenty of water down in the bowl, but he just goes like this (Jonathan makes smacking noises) the whole night."
One person who appreciates hanging out with Jonathan in his room and talking fishing is his friend Scott Morrison. He and JTT have been buddies since they met in the fifth grade. "He's just a very cool guy," Jonathan told Big Bopper magazine about Scott. "He's really nice, and he's easy to get along with, and he's very funny."
The two were almost inseparable romp the moment they met, but in 1993 Scott and his family moved from Los Angeles to Toronto. Obviously that's made it difficult for them to get together often, but they still manage trips back and forth several times a year. Distance hasn't taken a toll on their friendship, and Jonathan explains, "My best friend is like the same - I don't have a new best friend for every week."
As for Jonathan's Los Angeles friends, he likes to keep his personal relationships away from the show business side of his life. "I figure, in the little free time that I have, if I'm going to hang out with a friend, I don't want to have it industry involved, because that's already 99.9 percent of my life," Jonathan confessed to a friendly reporter. "I don't want to talk about showbiz."
One thing Jonathan does like to talk about is SPORTS. But more than talk about sports, he loves to participate! Jonathan isn't shy about admitting he has a competitive nature - "Everyone who plays sports has to have one" - and that's one reason he likes to play team sports. Unfortunately, with his busy schedule today, he's no longer on a soccer team, but he makes up for it by playing basketball and roller hockey whenever he can. Another sport he's becoming quite adept at is snow skiing, which he first attempted while on a vacation with his family.
Of course, Jonathan remains an avid fisherman. It's been his all-time favorite sport since he was first introduced to it when he was five years old and he and his dad would fish the lakes and streams near their home. Since then Jonathan has tried to fish everywhere he travels. "I crave fishing," he says when asked about the sport.
Jonathan admits that he's a bit superstitious about his fishing gear and even has a lucky fishing rod. But it doesn't stop there. "I have the best luck when I wear this," Jonathan confessed while showing off his favorite fishing hat and vest.
Naturally Jonathan also has some fish tales to tell. There's the one about a trip he took in 1990. "I was fishing down in the Coronado Islands off the coast of San Diego and Mexico," he remembered. "This nice yellowtail came by and thought my bait looked mighty tasty and chomped on it - so I hooked him!
"I got the fish stuffed, which was a big mistake. It was expensive - ten dollars per inch (for a total of $360) I now try to let the fish go."
Even when Jonathan goes on promotional junkets, he brings his fishing gear along because "you never know when you're gonna get the chance to fish!" Lately, though, Jonathan has been trying his hand at something new - fly-fishing. Ever since he saw the movie A River Runs Through It, he's been trying to find the perfect river fishing spot.
Jonathan becomes more adamant about the decision he made a long time ago to be a vegetarian. He hasn't eaten red meat since he was four years old. "I don't like the concept of eating dead animals," Jonathan has explained of his choice. "When I sat down and realized what I was eating, what I was putting into my body, realized it wasn't good for me. That's the thing. I didn't feel well when I ate this stuff - I got headaches from it. So I said, `What am I getting out of this? A little flavor that lasts for a second?' So I just dropped it."
Even though he turns down burgers and steaks and the like, Jonathan has a lot to choose from when it comes to his menu. He likes pasta, Mexican food like quesadilla, beans and rice, hummus and other Mediterranean foods, salads, collard and mustard greens. His favorite dinners consist of boiled artichokes, salads with wild rice, baked potatoes, asparagus, tofu and tempura, and for desert, melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe. And ever the comedian, Jonathan adds, "I'm also an excellent pizza orderer - Domino's Pizza, they love me!"
Important as being a vegetarian is to him, he knows it's not for everyone. "I won't give in to peer pressure from friends," he insisted. "But if they want to go to McDonald's, I'll go, have a milkshake, go to the salad bar. I can live with it. I have no problem with people who eat meat - otherwise, I wouldn't have any friends!"
However, Jonathan would be pleased if he does influence one or two friends by his vegetarian example. "I think kids need to learn how to eat healthier," Jonathan has said.
Another aspect of Jonathan's offscreen life is his love of travel. It's hands down one of his favorite things to do, and because of his celebrity status, he gets to do lots of it. Whenever he makes personal appearances, Jonathan tries to find some historical sight in the area to visit. One of his all-time most memorable trips was in 1994 when he went to Europe for the first time. It was for the black-tie premiere of The Lion King in London, and while he was there he toured the city like a regular tourist. Since Home Improvement doesn't air in England, Jonathan wasn't recognized, so he got to roam around freely. He even visited a Doc Martens shoe factory to see where his favorite footwear was made.
Another trip he will never forget was when he visited Washington D.C. and the surrounding area. He toured Robert E. Lee's mansion, saw Ford's Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and visited the graves of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. But the sight that moved him the most was one of the newest additions to Washington's sightseeing attractions - the Holocaust Museum. "I'd just finished reading three books on it for school and for my own personal interest," Jonathan recalled. "It was a very traumatic period of time, a horrible experience for everyone. I was very moved by these pictures in the museum and a lot of real-life footage."
Those who have listened to Jonathan describe this visit to the Holocaust Museum are impressed with his very mature observations and historical knowledge. It's much more than anyone would expect from a teenager. It's obvious from even a short time with Jonathan that he is a caring, sensitive person, who also has a true sense of himself.
It is that understanding of who he is that gives him his special style. He is not a trend-follower, but he has developed his own particular image and approach. As for his clothes, well, Jonathan likes the casual but somewhat conservative look. He'll wear jeans, but not ripped ones. He prefers turtlenecks under plaid flannel shirts to T-shirts, and he loves vests. "I like clothes a lot," Jonathan explained. "I think good attire, dressing cool is very popular. I like dressing up and looking my best. I like shopping for clothes that are real cool and neat looking."
But all this talk about mature and conservative might give someone the wrong idea about JTT. He's all boy and all fun! He even describes himself as "Real curious, fun-loving, and like Simba, always getting into mischief."
Jonathan likes to joke around a lot but never at another's expense just silly stuff like going around and around in a revolving door two or three times when his mom is waiting for him outside. Or telling a story in a funny accent. Actually, Jonathan is a nonstop talker. He loves telling stories and describing something he's recently seen or read. But it's not all about him. Jonathan also asks a lot of questions because he wants to learn. He's curious about people, places, anything that interests him.
And, of course, there is one thing that's beginning to interest Jonathan quite a bit lately ... girls.
Part of The Jonathan Taylor Thomas Archive - JTTArchive.Net
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