Former X-FILES star David Duchovny rapidly learned a life of crime wasn't for him as a child, when a plan to steal soft drinks got him caught up in blackmail.

The 45-year-old actor decided to make the most of his trips to tennis courts by sneaking out beverages for himself.

But Duchovny's plan quickly came to an end when a pal's sister learned of it.

He recalls, "I was like eight or nine years old, maybe seven, and I had figured out that a soda can fits perfectly in a tennis ball can. So I would take one tennis ball in the can and then I'd shove a soda can down and I'd put a tennis ball on top and then I'd walk out and I had my free soda.

"Everything was good and I had all the soda I wanted, and then a friend of mine's sister said to me, 'David, I know what you're doing and I think it's okay. But you're going to have to steal for me as well, or I'm going to tell your mom!'

"I just saw my entire future open up before me that I was just going to keep stealing more and more to keep this woman in soda, TV, cars as she got older. So I just quit right there.

"I also figured out you probably couldn't fit a TV or a car in a tennis ball can."