Cole Hauser had no idea his character Rip Wheeler in “Yellowstone” was a heartthrob until he had an unforgettable encounter with a stranger.
“When did I realize?” the actor chuckled to Fox News Digital. “I think when this old lady grabbed my a– in Whole Foods.”
“This is about four years ago,” he shared. “She goes, ‘Are you Rip?’ And she goosed me! I was like, ‘Holy s—, what are you doing? You’re like my mother’s age.’ She’s like, ‘I don’t give a f—.’ I was like, ‘OK, fair play.’”
“I told my mother about it. She goes, ‘Get used to it son,’” the 47-year-old added.
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Hauser, who has starred in the drama since 2018, was previously photographed bathing outside for People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue. And there’s no doubt that Westerns are hotter than ever in Hollywood.
After the Kevin Costner-led “Yellowstone” became a smash hit, the Paramount+ streaming service ordered the series “1932” about the roots of the Dutton ranching family. In February, the service also announced that the first prequel, “1883,” will be back for a second season. Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are among its stars.
In 2021, “The Harder They Fall” made its mark in both theaters and Netflix, while “Outer Range” can be found on Amazon. At this year’s Oscars, Jane Campion won for best director with “The Power of the Dog,” which earned 11 nominations. “Old Henry,” an action Western, also premiered late last year.
In May of this year, British actor Tom Blyth made his mark as legendary outlaw Billy the Kid for a new EPIX series.
Hauser noted there’s a reason why fans can’t get enough of “Yellowstone” in particular – and he insisted it has nothing to do with him making hearts flutter.
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“Well, first of all, it’s not the Western, it’s the Taylor Sheridan writing,” he explained about the filmmaker. “That starts with him and the stories that he’s telling, the characters that he’s developed, the actors that he’s hired, the crew. In my opinion, [he’s] one of the great American writers and he’s telling the stories that he knows well and cares about.”
And the story hits close to home. Hauser grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and on a ranch in Oregon where he spent much of his childhood riding horses and “cruising around with cows,” People magazine reported. Hauser noted he feels completely at ease in the show’s Montana setting.
“’Yellowstone’ is kind of an extension of [Sheridan’s] love and passion for the West – and I’m that way,” said Hauser. “I think that there [are] wonderful stories to be told even in the modern setting of ‘Yellowstone.’”
And the show has garnered one surprising fan – Drake.
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“A buddy of mine… sent me a picture,” Hauser recalled. “He had a hoodie on with the ‘Yellowstone’ brand and I was like, ‘Holy s—, he’s a fan.’ Then he said, ‘Listen, his birthday is coming up and I think it would be really cool if you signed something for him.’ I was like, ‘Absolutely.’”
Hauser sent the rapper, whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, a pair of signed cowboy boots. The 36-year-old proudly flaunted them on social media.
“He posted them and the rest is history,” said the father of three. “Everybody seems to find out about these things really quickly.”
Season 5 of ‘Yellowstone’ premieres on Nov. 13. The Associated Press contributed to this report.