"I'll have a Diet Coke," Otunga told the waiter.
The 32-year-old Otunga, whose muscular frame makes it look like he's flexing at all times, spent the morning making the media rounds to promote his role as a police officer in the film
"People want to know more about me," said Otunga. "They want to know who I am. It's cool to finally have that attention. … That's something I tried to do from the beginning — to be my own person. I wanted to do different things and try to establish myself. It's great to get recognized for that."
Otunga gained recognition as a finalist on Season 2 of VH1's "I Love New York" before he met Hudson and then proposed to the Oscar-winner in 2008, but that seemingly matters little to WWE's mostly male fans. To them Otunga is simply the guy you boo, because his bow-tie-wearing character is a smug know-it-all who carries around a coffee cup and brags about the Harvard Law Degree he earned in real life (class of 2006).
Prior to that, however, WWE's creative team had different plans for his character, wanting to play up the fact he had a famous fiancee and nicknaming him "The A-List."
"It's one of those things they kept bringing up no matter how many times I said, 'Please don't mention (Hudson),'" Otunga said. "They kept doing it and it irritated me to the point that I changed my character. That's why I started a new character with a bow tie and coffee mug. I want to stand alone. I'm pretty successful in my own right. (Hudson) still comes up, but what can I do?"
Otunga took time off from WWE to film "The Call" for a little more than two months in Los Angeles (WWE Studios is behind the film). He said he shadowed officers when they were on duty and saw a bloody crime scene and a stabbing victim who he isn't sure is still alive.
And then there was that one call about an attempted stabbing: "We walk up to this house and this guy is pacing in the yard … He talks to (the officer) but is staring at me," said Otunga, imitating the man's intense stare. "He said 'I got to ask you this question: You David Otunga?' I'm like 'Yeah.' (He said) 'I knew it. I love you. I watch you every Monday night.' He hands the phone to the cop to take a picture with me. Once I found out he was a fan, I figured he wouldn't stab me."
Otunga admits acting has always been his dream. In fact, he said the hardest part about shooting "The Call" was when it ended. (Besides not having to travel multiple times a week like he does with WWE, Otunga was able to recover from nagging ring injuries.) But Otunga said he was happy to return to WWE and the home he shares with Hudson and their 3-year-old son, David Jr., in the Chicago suburbs.
"We used to live over here on
And how are Otunga and Hudson treated in their suburb?
"At first it was like 'Oh my God,'" Otunga said. "People would go crazy and take pictures. But then it's like, you see me every week, multiple times a week. Everyone is so friendly and gets to know you on a personal basis. We'll go somewhere (to eat) and they'll give us our favorite table. It's nice."
Heads up: "Hey There Delilah" band Plain White T's will release their EP, "Should've Gone To Bed" April 23. The Chicago-area band will also make an appearance on the Bill and Giuliana Rancic-hosted reality show "Ready For Love," which premieres April 9 after "The Voice" on
Casting news: The latest addition to the Chicago-based sci-fi film "Divergent" is actor Theo
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