Gladys Portugues is a professional bodybuilder and actress who made it to the top 10 of the Ms. Olympia contest. Even though she has made some fame for herself thanks to these, she is probably more popular as the wife of the Belgian-born actor, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Although the relationship between the two has lasted a long time, they have had their highs and lows resulting in separation, divorce, and remarriage.
Gladys Portugues Biography, Ethnicity, and Age
The actress and bodybuilder was born on September 30, 1957, in Manhattan, New York City in the United States of America. On her ethnicity, although her name may suggest that she is Portuguese, she is American and was born and raised in the states.
When she was through with her high school, Gladys proceeded to study English at the Marymount Manhattan College in New York. It was while she was in college that she saw Rachel McLish win one of her two Ms. Olympia titles. That immediately made her interested in bodybuilding. Inspired by that, she did not only start trying to keep fit, but she also entered the business when she began a bodybuilding and weight training regimen.
Apart from being just a bodybuilder, Gladys Portugues also took to body fitness modeling. She contested in various Ms. Olympia contests and got to finish among the top ten twice. One of the most famous bodybuilders of the 1980s, she has graced the cover of a number of fitness magazines including Muscle & Fitness, Strength Training, Muscle and Beauty, Hardbodies, and Muscle Mag.
In 1985, Gladys appeared in the documentary, Pumping Iron II: The Women which is on female bodybuilders looking at how they prepared towards the 1983 Caesars World Cup. The next year, Portugues got the role of a bodybuilder in The Morning After, and then in 1987, she appeared as a waitress in It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive. From then on, Gladys Portugues has not appeared in any film.
In 2011, she was on the British reality show Jean-Claude Van Damme: Behind Closed Doors. Apart from being a bodybuilder and actress, Gladys is also an author. She published her first book, Hard Bodies in 1986 with Joyce L. Vedral. The two co-authored another book, Hard Bodies Express in 1988.
Spouse, Son, and Daughter
Gladys Portugues has had a rather interesting love story with her spouse, Jean-Claude Van Damme. She is older than Van Damme who was born in 1960 with 3 years, the two seem to always be pulled to remain together.
While the actor is the only person that Portugues has been married to, Jean-Claude has been married to three different women through the years with the bodybuilder as the fourth.
The first woman that Van Damme got married to was Maria Rodriguez whom he married for only 4 years from 1980 to 1984 and then he married Cynthia Derderian for just a year before the union ended in 1986. It was after this marriage that he met and got married to Gladys and Van got married in 1987 and for the first time, the actor stayed in a marriage for more than 4 years before it again came crumbling in 1992 when he began his affair with Darcy LaPier whom he married in 1994. The marriage only lasted until 1997 before it ended again.
Two years after (1999) his last divorce, Van Damme and Gladys Portugues got married for a second time. This time around, the two seemed ready to remain together forever although they separated shortly in 2015 and even filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences, they found their ways back and have remained together since then. Portugues and Van Damme have two children together – a daughter Bianca Bree who was born in 1990 and a son Kristopher Van Varenberg born in 1987.
Just like his parents, Kris is also an actor who has appeared in Universal Soldier (1992), The Quest (1996), Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009) and Soldiers (2010). More than just an actor, he is also a producer, writer, and director. Unsurprising, Bianca also followed the path of her family by becoming an actress. she appeared in Assassination Games (2011) and Welcome to the Jungle (2013). In both, she appeared alongside her father and brother.
Although these are the only children Gladys has, Van Damme has another son, Nicolas Van Varenberg who was born to him by his fourth wife Darcy LaPier in 1995.