Smattered on the front of the new cover of the magazine, Elba is described as a "sweet, smouldering, superstar". Back then, Mel Gibson, who was 29 at the time, received the honor. Now, he's finally got the recognition he deserves.
The 46-year-old year-old actor appeared live via satellite on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon on Monday where he was announced as this year's recipient by the weekly publication.
He added: "I was very tall and skinny".
"And my name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, OK?" he said. He shortly afterwards tweeted a response, in which he got a little political.Who'd have thought it!
Last year, country singer and The US Voice judge Blake Shelton took the title.
"People really think of "sexy" beyond physical appearance-although that certainly helps", editor-in-chief Jess Cagle told NBC 4 NY three years ago.
Though he played football, basketball and cricket at his all-boys school in London, Elba, who is the only child of African immigrants, said he was a target of bullies. Thank you @people & all the fans for naming me #SexiestManAlive. But as soon as I could grow a moustache, I was the coolest kid on the block.
And just to prove that he'd earned all the accolades People was bestowing on him, Fallon homed in on the two words the magazine used to describe their new "Sexiest Man Alive". "Grew a mustache, had some muscles, bonkers". What's even more important is your vote in the midterm elections. "Your vote can make a difference!" he said. And nab your own official Sexiest Man Alive shirt from our brand new Amazon store!