What happened to Jean Claude Van Damme?

In Timecop, Van Damme jumped over a counter with his legs spread. He did the same thing in an ad for Volvo

In the eighties and nineties, Jean Claude Van Damme became an international film star. Born in Brussels in 1960, Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg lived his last years without much success, cinematically speaking.

Kickboxer in 1989 and Universal Soldier in 1992 are his two most remembered films as a leading actor. Both films became very successful sagas.

He returned in 1999 with «Universal Soldier: The Return» with Dolph Lundgren, Michael Jai White and Bill Goldberg. He returned to the saga in 2009 with «Universal Soldier: Regeneration» and in 2012 with Day of Reckoning.

Kickboxer returned in 2016 with Revenge. Van Damme reappeared in a mythical fight against Drax the Destroyer, and in 2017 with Retaliation, in which his rival is Mike Tyson.

Jean Claude Van Damme

He refused in 2010 to appear in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables. He excused himself with commitments to another film. But he wasn’t about to miss out on one of the most successful action-actor sagas, and Van Damme has his starring role in The Expendables 2.

In 2012, Brussels paid tribute to him with a life-size bronze statue. The Belgian appears in a fighting stance in front of the Westland Mall.

One of the most iconic roles in Van Damme’s career came with Timecop. In one of the scenes he jumped over a counter, spreading his legs to avoid an early death. He did the same thing in a commercial for Volvo, except this time, the 53-year-old actor did it while balancing on two giant trucks… driving backwards. More than 86 million people saw the ad.

Van Damme has faced many rivals in movies, but his toughest fight in real life was against addiction. He even admitted to having a 10-gram-a-day cocaine habit, about $10,000 a week.

Successes and failures

From 1999 to 2008, Van Damme starred in 14 films, most of them second-rate. He was also diagnosed with Rapid Bipolar Disorder, which is often seen in people struggling with addiction.

We must remember that before breaking into the film industry, he was an active kickboxing fighter, with a record of 18 victories and one defeat, winning all competitions by KO.

Besides Universal Soldier and Timecop, among his most famous films are Street Fighter: The Last Battle (1994) and Sudden Death (1995).

In JCVD (2008), where he played himself, he came to amaze the critics with a dramatic turn. Time magazine even said that his performance was the second best of that year, only behind Heath Ledger’s in The Dark Knight.

Jean Claude Van Damme

From his private life we can highlight that he has been married since 1999 to the gymnast Gladys Portugues, with whom he already shared life between 1987 and 1992. Van Damme has three children, one of them from another marriage. Now, at the age of 60, it is not known if he will ever play in any renowned movies or continue with his tabletop films.