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Jean-Claude Van Damme is a globally famous Belgian who gained fame as an action star and ex-martial artist in Hollywood.
From the age of 10, he began to train in Shōtōkan karate in a school his dad enrolled him in. Earning his black belt in kickboxing and karate at 18, he went into bodybuilding to enhance his build and also took up ballet at 16.
In his 48 amateur fights, he has 44 wins and recorded only one loss in his pro kickboxing 19-fight career.
Best Known For
Popular among a teeming global fanbase for his signature roundhouse kicks in very many films, some of the famous ones he has kicked butts in include Bloodsport (1988), Kickboxer (all 3 films), Double Impact (1991), Universal Soldier (2009 & 2012) Hard Target (1993) and JCVD (2008).
Van Damme has been espoused on 5 occasions to 4 women. His first marriage was to Maria Rodriguez (1980-84) and his second, Cynthia Derdian (1985-86). His first marriage to Gladys Portugues was from 1987 to 1992 before marrying Darcy LaPier in 1994. After splitting in 1997, he remarried Gladys in 1999 until 2015. He also had an extramarital relationship with Kylie Minogue in 1994.
He is the only son of Eugène and Eliana van Varenberg and his sister is Veronique. His children are Kristopher (b. 1987), Bianca (b. 1990) and Nicholas (1995).
Born into a Roman Catholic family and himself very devout, he never shies away from talking about his faith, crediting God for his career and his body.
Worth To Know
He adopted his dad’s friend’s name for his career as it sounded “punchy” and was easier to call.
He is an activist for animal rights.
He starred in a viral commercial ad for Volvo Trucks doing something he called “The Epic Split” in 2013.