Jean-Claude Van Damme, popularly known as The Muscles of Brussels, is an amazing actor from Belgium. He is not only an actor, but he is also an excellent scriptwriter, director, and producer. Popular for his stunts, which he often performs in action movies, it is not surprising that he is also a trained martial artist.
Age and Family Background
Although he is professionally called Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD), the name of this Belgian actor documented in his birth certificate is Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg. JCVD has a very interesting mix of ancestors, as his accountant father, Eugène Van Varenberg, is a French-speaking Walloon from Brussels and had a Jewish mother. Van Damme’s mother, Eliana, on the other hand, is a Dutch-speaking Fleming. He was born on 18 October 1960 and has a sister named Veronique Van Varenberg.
As a child, he seemed weak, and this disturbed his father so much that he enrolled him in the Centre National De Karate. So Jean-Claude Van Damme started his karate training in Ixelles, Belgium, at the age of 12 under the guidance of Master Claude Goetz. At the age of 16, Van Damme won the championship in middleweight under the European Karate Federation. He also became the second-best karate fighter in the world, contrary to his goal of becoming number 1. Other things that aroused his interest were kickboxing, ballet, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo.
For 6 years he made a successful career and in 1982 he actively retired from martial arts. He then moved to Hong Kong and started a career in action movies. He did various jobs, from pizza delivery boy to limousine driver, and even worked as a carpet buyer before being assigned a job as a doorman.
His debut in the film industry came with his small and almost insignificant role in the 1984 film Missing in Action, and his second role was No Retreat, No Surrender in 1986, but even that didn’t bring him into the spotlight that he wanted so much. The day he met a producer from Cannon Pictures on the street, he took matters into his own hands and promptly showed some karate skills. This earned him a place in the blood sport, which after some initial setbacks became a hit and gave his career a real boost.
To date, Jean-Claude Van Damme has appeared in and starred in some 59 films, including Cyborg, Kickboxer (1989), Lionheart (1990), Death Warrant (1990), Double Impact, Universal Soldier, Timecop (1994) and others. Universal Soldier was a very successful film, which enjoyed great success both in the USA and overseas. His acting skills have spread well over the years and by 2018 he has already starred in three films – Kickboxer: Retribution, 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 artist’s spokesperson for Master Croc’s voice in Kung Fu Panda 3. The Belgian has made a number of commercials and, not surprisingly, was nominated for 10 awards, of which he won 3.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Daughter, Wife, and Son
Van Damme has led five trials in this case called marriage. He began in 1980 (25 August) with Maria Rodriquez and they lived happily together until 1984. The following year he married Cynthia Derderian on 24 August, but this lasted almost a year without any problems.
His first two children came from his third wife, a bodybuilder named Gladys Portugues. Unfortunately, it seemed that 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 happened two years after his divorce from Gladys in 1992. Darcy had a child for him, but he cheated on him again, this time on set, and soon after he was divorced for the fourth time in 1997.
Interestingly enough, Van Damme has remained married to his third wife from 25 June 1999 until today, with whom he reunited the marriage. Although they almost got divorced in 2015, they have settled their differences and are still firmly connected. The fifth third wife turned out to be the attraction after all.
Bianca Brigette Van Damme is the actor’s first and only daughter, his second child by Gladys. She was born in 1990 and currently walks proudly and better in her father’s footsteps as a martial arts expert.
Kristopher Van Varenberg is his first son. He is said to be a film director, producer, and actor. At the age of 31, he already has about 15 opening credits to himself. We have to say that he definitely follows the path of his father. The second son of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Nicholas Van Varenberg, was born in LaPier in October 1995. The scales recently appeared in the film Kickboxer from 2018: Retribution 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?
Leaving aside all reports of the actor’s demise, the star is very much alive and kicking.