07/06/2014 AT 12:00 PM EDT
At 6'5", with linebacker-broad shoulders, Joe Manganiello is the kind of guy who makes any woman standing beside him feel petite. (Instant body-image boost!)
He drives an Escalade, prefers his steak cut thick and can bench-press like a bodybuilder.
Even his last name (pronounced MANG-guh-NELL-o) is substantial.
But long before he was a sexy werewolf on HBO's True Blood or a stripper in 2012's Magic Mike, he was a scrawny Star Wars fan boy in suburban Pittsburgh.
He's come a long way since then – but he's still searching for The One.
"I'm at my best when I have someone to wake up next to and come home to," says Manganiello, 37, whose directorial debut, the strip-club documentary La Bare is out now.
"I know she's out there."