Popularly known as The Muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme is one amazing actor from Belgium. He isn’t just an actor; he is also a superb screenwriter, movie director, and producer. Popular for the stunts which he often showcases in action movies, it isn’t surprising that he is equally a trained martial artist.
Age and Family Background
Although he is professionally referred to as Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD), the name of this Belgian actor as documented in his birth certificate is Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg. JCVD has a very interesting ancestral mix giving that his accountant father, Eugène Van Varenberg, is French-speaking Walloon from the city of Brussels and had a Jew as his mother. Van Damme’s mother, Eliana, on the other hand, is a Dutch-speaking Flemish. He was born on the 18th of October, 1960 and has a sister named Veronique Van Varenberg.
As a kid, he appeared weak and this bothered his father so much that he registered him at the National Center of Karate (Centre National De Karate). So at an early age of 12, Jean-Claude Van Damme began his karate training in Ixelles, Belgium under the tutelage of Master Claude Goetz. At age 16, Van Damme emerged the winner of the middleweight championship under the European professional karate association. He also became the world’s 2nd best karate fighter as opposed to his aim of being number 1. Other things that caught his interest include kickboxing, ballet, muay thai and taekwondo.
In the course of 6 years, he had a successful career and by the year 1982, he retired actively from martial arts. After this, he moved to Hong Kong and kicked off a career in action films. He did several jobs from being a pizza delivery guy to a limo driver and even worked as a carpet layer before being assigned a job as a bouncer.
His debut in the movie industry came with his small and almost insignificant role in the 1984 movie, Missing in Action. His second was No Retreat, No Surrender in 1986 but this also didn’t propel him into the limelight which he so desired. The day he met a Cannon Pictures Producer on the street, he took things into his hands and promptly showed off some karate skills. This earned him a spot in Bloodsport which after some initial setbacks, became a hit and really kicked off his career.
Till date, Jean-Claude Van Damme has appeared and starred in about 59 movies including Cyborg, Kickboxer (1989), Lionheart (1990), Death Warrant (1990), Double Impact, Universal Soldier, Timecop (1994) amongst others. Universal Soldier was a high grossing movie which hit big time both in the US and overseas. His acting expertise has spread well into the years and in 2018, he has already starred in three movies – Kickboxer: Retaliation, The Bouncer, and Black Water.
Interestingly, Van Damme is also the inspiring figure behind the original version of the video game, Mortal Combat. He is also the voice over Artist responsible for Master Croc’s voice in Kung Fu Panda 3. The Belgian has done a number of adverts and not surprisingly, has been nominated for 10 awards of which he won 3.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Daughter, Wife, and Son
Van Damme has had five trials at this thing called marriage. He began in 1980 (August 25) with Maria Rodriquez and they lived together
happily ever after till 1984. The next year, he got married to Cynthia Derderian on the 24th of August but this lasted for just about a year with no issue.
His first two children came from his third wife, a bodybuilder named Gladys Portugues. Unfortunately, it seemed like the third time wasn’t the charm so he had an affair with a fellow actress, Darcy LaPier and married her in February 1994. This came two years after his divorce from Gladys in 1992. Darcy had a child for him yet he cheated again, this time while on set and soon he was divorced for the fourth time in 1997.
See Also: Tom Cruise Girlfriend and Dating History
Interestingly, Van Damme has remained married from June 25, 1999, to date to his third wife whom he tied the knot with again. Although they nearly divorced in 2015, they resolved their differences and are still waxing strong. The fifth third wife turned out to be the charm after all.
Bianca Brigette Van Damme is the Actor’s first and only daughter, his second child from Gladys. She was born in 1990 and is currently walking proudly and better in her father’s footsteps as a martial art expert.
Kristopher Van Varenberg is his first son. He is said to be a movie director, producer, and actor. He already has about 15 movie credits to himself at age 31. Definitely following his father’s path, we must say. Jean-Claude Van Damme’s second son, Nicholas Van Varenberg was born to LaPier in October 1995. The Libra recently appeared in the 2018 movie, Kickboxer: Retaliation along with his father.
Height and Other Body Facts
Height: 5 feet 8 inches (177 m)
Weight: 180 lb.
Hair color: Light brown
Eye color: Hazel
Is He Dead?
Disregard all reports about the passing of the actor, the star is very much alive and kicking.