Brad Benedict can be seen starring as one of the leads in TLC’s first-ever scripted series, Tyler Perry’s Too Close to Home.

With more love triangles and scandals, Benedict returns starring opposite Heather Locklear, Danielle Savre, Kelly Sullivan and Brock O’Hurn, as the Southern bad boy J.B., who can be a loose cannon, working low-end and illegal jobs to make financial ends meet that often lead to more trouble and turmoil. The series focuses on Anna (Savre), who returns to her old life after an affair with a married senator puts her at the center of a political scandal. With J.B. going off on his own at the end of the last season, we will soon learn some dark mysteries behind this intricate character.

In addition to being a talented actor, Benedicts is an avid tennis athlete. He shared his passion for the sport with a recent hosting gig on Tennis Channel’s weekly series called Fit to Hit.

Check out what Benedict tells Chilled about cooking healthy meals and his intense love of food and a good adventure.

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Photographer: E-Studios Photography | Groomer: Andrea Pezzillo | Stylist: Gabriel Langenbrunner

Tell us a bit about the projects you are working on or have coming up.

Right now, I am having a blast playing the role of Southern bad boy, J.B., on Tyler Perry’s new drama Too Close To Home on TLC. Too Close To Home is the first scripted series on the network, so it has been fun to break new ground. J.B. is a drug-running, trouble-making, quick- to-violence, short-tempered, conniving jerk (to use just a few adjectives). There is, however, more than meets the eye with J.B., and what makes him tick will slowly reveal itself as the story progresses.

I’ve had the time of my life crossing over to the dark side playing a character people love to hate. One huge perk is that the show shoots in Atlanta. I am a Georgia native and love getting to go home and spend time with friends and family while we are in production. Tyler Perry has been an amazing mentor and leader, to say the least. He conducts the orchestra with grace, and his entire cast and crew want to work hard for him.

With your busy schedule, what do you like to do with your down time?

In the words of the great Jim Valvano, “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.” I think Jimmy V. had a great message. I try to stimulate myself in as many ways possible. Sometimes it is easy to slip into complacency, a routine, but I figure the more time I am taking part in an adventure and experiencing something completely new, the more time I am forced to be present-physically, mentally, and emotionally. That adventure can come in the form of fitness, playing music, roller-coasters, scuba diving, reading, traveling, meeting new people, competition, you name it. I really want to try out kite surfing next.

When you go out to eat, where do you like to dine?

Oh boy, I like food. I love food. Food, food, food! I can be found grabbing pho, wings, pizza, sushi, Mexican, poke on the go, ramen, you name it … I’m not picky. Anybody that knows me knows I can eat. A big draw for me is the environment. One of my favorite meals out recently was at a local seafood joint in Jaco, Costa Rica. My buddies and I went deep-sea fishing and caught yellow fin tuna. We brought the fish straight to a restaurant and they prepared it for us on the spot. We had it as sashimi, grilled, blacked, and broiled. I probably ate about two pounds of tuna at the one sitting.

What types of dishes do you usually order?

The ones where a lot of food comes on the plate! I think growing up as the youngest of four siblings created a few food OCDs for me. One issue I have is sharing food. I am always worried I won’t get enough and feel like I have to eat super fast before others eat more than their share. If I am out with friends, I am not the guy to steal a French fry off his plate. I absolutely love sushi, but sometimes I end up picking up a couple double-doubles at In-N-Out Burger on the way home to top off my tummy. Luckily I love to workout! Also, if there is mac-n-cheese on the menu, it is pretty much a sure thing that will be a part of my order.

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Photographer: E-Studios Photography | Groomer: Andrea Pezzillo | Stylist: Gabriel Langenbrunner

Do you cook?

I cook a lot, yes. It kinda goes in spurts, depending on what I have going on in life. When I am really trying to eat healthy, I do far more cooking. One of my best friends is an amazing cook. When I say amazing, I often literally laugh out loud when I eat his dishes because my taste buds are overwhelmed. I like to take one new tip or cooking method with me every time I am around when he cooks, and then I try to implement it at home … easier said than done! His biggest general tip to me: “Most people over-cook or under-season their food.”

What types of drinks do you order when out?

Out for wings: a beer. Out for a drink with a friend: a whiskey. Rocks for me. Out to party: a shot of tequila and a Rum and Coke.

Do you prepare drinks at home?

I am definitely not a mixologist, but I think I’ve learned the basics when it comes to making a drink at home. I was very intrigued when I realized how much science there is behind combining flavors and creating cocktails to hit the palate in a very specific way.

Do you own a home bar?

My home bar sits atop an old wooden barrel that I picked up off the side of the road a few years back. I couldn’t resist. Even if I had no idea what I would use it for, I thought it would be cool decor for my space after I cleaned off the spiderwebs and dirt. Turned out to be the perfect bar.

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Photographer: E-Studios Photography | Groomer: Andrea Pezzillo | Stylist: Gabriel Langenbrunner

What’s it stocked with?

My home bar usually stays pretty lean. I try to keep a six-pack and a bottle of wine or two available, mostly for guests. As for liquor, lately it has been some variation of a spiced rum. Looking for a really cool whiskey decanter to add to the setup.

What is your dream home bar like?

Even though I have a mini-starter-bar currently, in my fantasies I will have it all someday. In the future, I’d love to build an old speakeasy whiskey bar, and a man cave sports themed-type bar equipped with surround sound and huge TV’s, and of course, a tiki bar adjacent to my pool overlooking the ocean. Big dreamer here.

What is your favorite drink/cocktail?

My favorite of anything tends to change continuously. With drinks, it especially depends on time of day and occasion. One of my consistent go-to cocktails would have to be a Dirty Martini, on the rocks or chilled. Extra olive. Preferably vodka, but gin works too.

Have you ever been a bartender?

One summer I worked at a bar in my college town, Athens, Georgia for about two weeks. I was running ice, picking up empties, scrubbing toilets, managing crowds, the works. I never made it to bartender status. I quickly learned I wasn’t enough of a night owl to cut it working at a bar.

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