The video for Britney Spears' "Oops!... I Did It Again" was one small step for a certain male model, but one giant leap for pop star kind.
Twenty years ago this month, Spears donned a red latex jumpsuit and oops, she did it again. She made another iconic music video. Spears also introduced fans to Eli Swanson, the hunky astronaut who came all the way to Mars to give her the Heart of the Ocean, a.k.a. the blue diamond necklace from Titanic.
While Swanson's romantic gesture may not have won Spears' heart — she's not that innocent — he and that toothy grin of his became a memorable part of pop music history. Two decades after he dived to the bottom of the ocean to save that necklace, the guy from the "Oops!... I Did It Again" video is saving lives as a surgeon.
Swanson, who was a model for Ralph Lauren, Nike, and Adidas, was chosen by director Nigel Dick to play Spears' love interest. His big moment in the video happens to also be the most bizarre scene in the already odd video.
As Spears asks him how he got the heart-shaped necklace, which old Rose (Gloria Stuart) threw overboard at the end of Titanic, he lip-syncs the song's baritone bridge, "Well, baby, I went down and got it for you." (Like the rest of us, Dick has no idea why the song includes a Titanic shout out three years after the movie was released, but he decided to just go with it.)
At the end of the video, Swanson moonwalks, or more accurately, Mars-walks right out of Spears' life, and after this gig, he basically did the same to Hollywood. His only other acting credit is the 2003 film Neverland, a nightmarish take on Peter Pan. But Swanson had good reason for ghosting celebrity; he was busy getting his degree in medicine.
In 2006, he graduated from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Swanson specialises in orthopedic surgery, specifically in the foot and ankle. He worked as a trauma surgeon in Phoenix, Arizona in the mid-aughts, according to BuzzFeed, before moving to Alpharetta, Georgia where he currently works as an orthopaedic surgery specialist "specialising in the treatment of complex fractures." He seems to be getting great reviews for his work, too. And judging from his photo, he doesn't look all that different than he did during his "Oops!" days.
While Swanson might be hard for Brit Brit fans to forget, not everyone thinks he's the most memorable guy in the "Oops!" video. "I like the guy in the control booth," Dick told MTV back in April. "I love the fact that he's real. He's not a super-hunky, spaceman type."
To be fair, Swanson isn't one of those either. He's more of a super-hunky, doctor type now.
Refinery29 reached out to Swanson for comment and will update if necessary.