10/10/2013 at 02:00 PM EDT
He's one of TV's most popular doctors, but there's a lot more to Dr. Sanjay Gupta than his job as a medical expert on CNN.
When he's not in front of the cameras, Gupta, 43, who also works as a neurosurgeon at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital, competes in triathlons.
Here's three other things you didn't know about Gupta, who's featured on the cover of Sunday's Parade
1. He wanted to change his name to Steve
Growing up in the small community of Novi, Mich., Gupta admits he encountered his share of prejudice and bullying. He thought his problems would be helped by changing his name to Steve – inspired by Steve Austin of The Six Million Dollar Man
– but his mom talked him out of it. "I told him to be proud of his name, that one day everyone would know it because of the wonderful things he was going to do," she says.
2. He's a poet
The father of three girls has published three books – including a novel Monday Mornings
, which was a New York Times bestseller and was adapted as a TNT show starring Ving Rhames last year – and he also writes poetry. He even proposed to his wife
, Rebecca, with one of his poems.
3. He's sexy
In 2003, the medical correspondent was named one of PEOPLE's Sexiest Men Alive
. Back then we reported that the doc, who performed brain surgery in Iraq while embedded with U.S. troops, liked to live dangerously by "driving too fast" in his Jaguar and that some of his fans call themselves Gupta Girls.