Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg
Van Damme, Jean-Claude, Muscles from Brussels, J.C.
Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Brussels, Belgium
Van Damme started his karate training, at the age of 10, at the Shotokan Karate School. He later joined the Centre National De Karaté (National Center of Karate), where he studied under the tutelage of Claude Goetz.
Actor, martial artist, screenwriter, film producer, director
- Father – Eugène Van Varenberg (Florist and accountant)
- Mother – Eliana Van Varenberg
- Siblings – Veronique Van Varenberg (Sister)
Van Damme is represented by the Paris-based A.A.C. Agence Artistique.
5 ft 9¾ in or 177 cm
87 kg or 192 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Van Damme has dated –
- Jewel Kilcher – Van Damme is rumored to have had an affair with American actress Jewel Kilcher in the past. However, she has publicly refuted these relationship rumors.
- Tori Spelling – According to rumors, Van Damme had a fling with actress and television personality Tori Spelling in the past.
- Maria Rodriguez (1980-1984) – Van Damme started dating a woman named Maria Rodriguez in 1980. After dating for about a year, they got married in 1981. However, their married life didn’t last long, and they struggled with a long-distance relationship, as he had migrated to the United States. As a result, they eventually got divorced in 1984.
- Cynthia Derdian (1985-1986) – Van Damme got married to his second wife Cynthia Derdian in 1985. They had met while he was working at his father’s carpet store. However, his second marriage was even more short-lived than the first one. This time he got divorced within a year.
- Gladys Portugues (1987-1992 and 1999-Present) – After having dated for a short while, Van Damme got married to his third wife Gladys Portugues, a bodybuilder and actress, in January 1987. At the time of their marriage, he was 26 years old, while she was touching 30. Their first stint as a married couple lasted about five years. She had given birth to their son Kristopher in 1987, and daughter Bianca in 1990. However, they got divorced in 1992 as Van Damme had cheated on her. By the end of the nineties, he had returned back to Gladys. They got married again in 1999. They were all set to get divorced for the second time in 2015 as she had filed for divorce. However, Van Damme managed to win her back and the divorce was called off.
- Darcy LaPier (1992-1997) – His affair with actress Darcy LaPier was the cause of his divorce from Gladys in 1992. They got married in February 1994. However, in the same year, he had an affair with actress Kylie Minogue. It was later revealed that Darcy was pregnant with their son at the same time. In 1995, she gave birth to a boy, Nicolas Van Varenberg. However, their marriage didn’t last much longer after the birth of their son as they got officially divorced in 1997.
- Kylie Minogue (1994) – Van Damme hooked up with Australian actress Kylie Minogue in 1994. They had grown very close while working in the movie Street Fighter, in which they were cast as a couple. However, his then-wife Darcy LaPier didn’t know about this affair until 2012 when he publicly acknowledged it in his interview.
- Tatum O’Neal (1994) – Towards the end of 1994, the Belgian action star was rumored to have had a fling with actress Tatum O’Neal. They were spotted together at a couple of events including the Club USA event in New York City towards the end of December.
- Princess Stéphanie of Monaco (1996) – In 1996, Van Damme reportedly took a liking to Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, who has also worked as a fashion model, swimwear designer, and a singer.
- Lynne Langdon (1997) – Van Damme had allegedly hooked up with actress Lynne Langdon in May 1997.
- Savanna Samson (1998) – In 1998, Van Damme was rumored to have had a fling with American p@#nographic actress Savanna Samson.
- Alena Kaverina (2009-2016) – Van Damme started going out with Alena Kaverina, who is a small time Ukrainian model in 2009. They had reportedly first met at a disco in Thailand. Soon after, she moved into his house in Hong Kong, where he was spending a majority of his time. It was also reported that he had met her parents in the provincial Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih and had even stayed in their apartment. They were spotted together in public on several occasions. However, their relationship ran into trouble after he decided to reconcile with his third wife. He even took Gladys to the Cannes film festival. In June 2015, it was reported that he had hit Alena in the face while staying at a hotel in Kiev.
Race / Ethnicity
On his father’s side, he is of Walloon (French-speaking) descent. While from his mother’s side, he has Flemish (Dutch-speaking) ancestry.
- Muscular physique
- Belgian accent
- Often performs splits in his movies
Van Damme has appeared in TV commercials for the following brands
- Virgin Mobile Phones (2007)
- World of Warcraft (2007)
- Coors Light Beer (2011)
- GoDaddy (2013)
- Gap (Print advert) (1998)
- Volvo Trucks
Van Damme is a devout follower of Roman Catholicism.
Best Known For
- Being cast in leading roles in popular action movies such as Universal Soldier and Street Fighter.
- Playing supporting roles in successful movies such as The Expendables 2.
- Having won a host of bodybuilding and martial arts competitions in his youth.
In 1979, he made his theatrical film debut in a minor role in the Belgian-French drama, Woman Between Wolf and Dog. However, his role in the movie was uncredited.
His first credited role was in action movie, Monaco Forever, which was released in 1984.
First TV Show
In 1996, Van Damme made his first TV show appearance as himself in The One After the Superbowl episode of popular comedy series, Friends.
To make his comeback in Hollywood with a bang, Van Damme cranked up the level of his workout routine. As a result, he looked fit and hunky as ever in the role of a baddie in The Expendables 2. The movie producer and lead actor Sylvester Stallone had instructed him to focus on his arms as they looked like sticks to him.
When it comes to lifting weights, he focused on lifting light weights over a huge number of reps. He also tried to lift weights slowly as he believes that you have to be more cautious with the advancing age. While working out, he doesn’t count the number of reps and instead listens to his body. Additionally, he tries to feel his body before deciding on which part of the body to work on in the gym.
He also pays special attention to cardio to make sure that his age doesn’t reflect in his expanding waistline. While doing cardio, he cranks it up to 168-170 beats per minute. Also, to complement his workout regime, he focuses on feeding his body in the right way. He makes sure that he is feeding his muscles and nourishing his red blood cells.
Hi friends, this statue is very important, it is unforgettable and it’s engraved in my memory. It brings me great happiness but it is also a great honor! It is important to come back here and visit it to pay respect to my fans who dedicated this statue to me, but also for all the merchants of the Westland Shopping Center in Anderlecht who made my fans’ dream come true, it’s my way of saying thank you. #JCVD #Brussels
Van Damme Facts
- One of the extras from his movie Cyborg sued Van Damme for intentionally gouging his eye in a sword fight.
- The martial arts legend Frank Dux filed a lawsuit against Van Damme. He alleged that the action star had deprived him of his share of profits from the box office earnings of The Quest. He said that he had collaborated with Van Damme for his directorial debut.
- Van Damme eventually won the lawsuit after the evidence that Dux had gathered against him was allegedly lost in an earthquake.
- When he was 16 years old, he got enrolled in a ballet class and studied it for five years. He later called ballet one of the most difficult sports.
- He started his competitive karate career at the age of 15. He was a part of the Belgium Karate Team that went on to win the European Karate Championship in December 1979.
- In 1977, he started his kickboxing career and by the time he retired in 1982, he had managed to compile 18 victories (all knock out wins) and had lost just one match.
- In 1982, he moved to the United States hoping to be an actor. In his early struggling days, he sometimes didn’t have his own place and had to sleep on the streets.
- Before he was cast in the role of the main villain in The Expendables 2, he was offered a role in The Expendables. Stallone had called him personally but Van Damme decided to turn down the opportunity.
- He was widely criticized along with celebrities such as Hilary Swank and Seal for attending an event in Chechnya’s capital Grozny celebrating the 35th birthday of Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov.
- The creators Ed Boon and John Tobias of the Mortal Kombat game have revealed that the game was based on Van Damme. They even wanted to feature him in the game but as he had signed a deal with the Sega Genesis platform for another game, they had to drop their idea.
- Due to the heavy workload of constant filming and movie promotions, he started abusing cocaine in the 90s. His addiction was so severe that he is said to have blown out about $10,000 a week to take care of his addiction.
- In 1999, he was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. He was eventually slapped with three years of probation and $1,200 fine. His driving license was also revoked for 90 days.
- He checked into rehab to take care of his drug addiction. However, he was unsuccessful and was able to overcome it eventually by quitting cold turkey and with regular exercise.
- He had established his production house under the label of Long Road Productions / 777 Films Corp. However, it has been closed down ever since.
- According to reports, he was the owner of the gym called California Fitness Center in his late teens.
- He was cast as the titular character in Predator and was also part of the early production. However, he wasn’t happy with the fact that his face won’t be shown on camera and hence, decided to drop out.
- Ironically, his very brief stint in Predator helped him bag the role in Bloodsport. He had struggled to impress producer Menahem Golan at the auditions and then, a friend of his told Golan that Van Damme had just done Predator. When Golan checked the cast sheet, he found Van Damme’s name on the list.
- He had bagged the audition for the movie Bloodsport after having impressed Golan while waiting at his table. He had performed the perfect roundhouse kick without having spilled even a drop of the soup.
- Van Damme is reported to have struggled with the large alien costume in the movie Predator and had even passed out due to heat exhaustion.
- In his early struggling days, he did a number of odd jobs including driving a taxi, delivering pizzas, waiting on tables, and working as a bouncer at Chuck Norris’ Newport Beach bar, Woody’s Warf.
- For several years, Van Damme struggled with depression and mood swings, which drove him to seek relief in martial arts and drugs. A visit to the neurologist eventually helped him overcome his problems.
- Visit his official website @ jcvdworld.com.
- Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Featured Image by Robin Cresswell (U.S. Air Force) / Wikimedia / Public Domain