Jean-Claude Van Damme Net Worth, Biography & Wiki 2017
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg was born on 8th October 1960, in Berchem Sainte Agathe, Brussels, and as Jean-Claude Van Damme has become an actor and director who rose to fame mainly for his extensive knowledge and training in martial arts, which he converted into participating in action films such as “Timecop”, “Hard Target”, “Bloodsport”, “Universal Soldier”, and “Sudden Death”.
So just how rich is Jean-Claude Van Damme? It is estimated by sources that as of 2014 Jean-Claude’s net worth is over $30 million, accumulated largely from his acting career, spanning a period of more than 30 years. His assets include a property in Hollywood for which he paid $3 million.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Net Worth $30 Million
Jean-Claude began learning karate at the age of 10, gaining his black belt by 18, but simultaneously taking up kickboxing and ballet, as well as improving his physique to the point where he won the “Mr. Belgium” body-building title. (Jean Claude has the playful nickname of “Muscles from Brussels”.) In his late teens, Jean-Claude participated in contact karate and kickboxing tournaments,being defeated only once, which gave him the idea of transferring his talent to movies, so with this aim he moved to the USA.
His film career is considered to have begun during the early ’80,s when he and his friend moved to Hollywood. His career launched really quickly when he auditioned for and secured a role in the movie called “Breakin'”. That was the start of his career which has so far spanned over three decades. During the 80s he starred in the aforementioned movies; the movie “Bloodsport” actually launched Jean-Claude’s career, as it became a box-office hit, and of course put him into audiences thoughts. Since then he has had more than 50 roles in movies, in most of which he has had to use his training in martial arts and knowledge of various other sports he learned over his teenage years. More recently he has starred in a so-called ensemble cast movie called “The Expendables”, which features every major action movie star of the past two or three decades, including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke among others.
Of course all these projects have contributed to Jean-Claude’s net worth. Usually Van Damme now gets paid millions for a movie, having started with a humble check of about $70,000 per movie. He was paid $1 million for his hit movie “Universal Soldier”, and he got a whopping $6 million for the movie “Street Fighter”, which became an epic movie. More recently he appeared in “Universal Soldier – Day of Reckoning”, and “Enemies Closer”, plus a French-language situation comedy TV series “JC 1er” in 2015.
As fame can sometimes be a dangerous thing, Jean-Claude has also had his fair share of problems. Stress first caused him to became addicted to cocaine in the mid-90s, which cost him $10,000 per week. He eventually entered a drug rehab clinic where he enrolled in a program, but he eventually quit drugs of his own volition. Later in life he was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder, which is quite serious but doesn’t appear to have effected his abilities.
Speaking about personal life, Jean-Claude Van Damme has married five times, to Maria Rodriguez(1980-84); Cynthia Derderian(1985-86), Darcy Lapier(1994-97) with whom he has a son; and Gladys Portugues(1987-92) and again from 1999 to the present – although they are apparently on the verge of divorce again – and with whom he has a son and daughter.
His older sister Veronique wrote a book My brother Jean-Claude.
He understands Spanish very well because he had a Spanish nanny when he was a boy. He can't speak the language properly as he never studied it. On one occasion he had a interview in Chile and all the questions were asked in Spanish, he understood but replied in English.
Refused a three-picture deal that would have earned him 12 million dollar per movie, stating that he wanted 20 million, equal to Jim Carrey's salary at the time.
His very brief work on the production of Predator (1987) unexpectedly helped him to become an action star. While working as a waiter, van Damme spotted producer Menahem Golan in his restaurant, and did a roundhouse kick for him without spilling a drop from the bowl of soup he had in his hands. Golan was sufficiently fascinated to invite van Damme on an official audition. During the audition, van Damme did his trademark split while balancing on two chairs, which did not impress Golan. While he dismissed him, a friend who had come along mentioned that van Damme had just done Predator (1987) with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Golan went out to check, and as luck would have it, van Damme's name had not yet been removed from the cast sheet. Golan decided to offer him the lead role in Bloodsport (1988) which became van Damme's big break.
Suffered from mood swings and depressions for years, causing him to seek his refuge in martial arts and drugs. Finally, after several attempts at rehab, he visited a neurologist who diagnosed him with rapid cycling bipolar disorder. With appropriate medication, he has managed to stay off drugs ever since, and he has even remarried his former wife Gladys Portugues.
Started filming Soldiers (2010) (aka "Full Love") in Thailand. [July 2008]
At the Eurasia Film Festival in Almaty, Kazakhstan. [September 2005]
Started filming The Shepherd (2008) in Bulgaria. [February 2007]
When Van Damme first arrived in Hollywood in the 1980s, his jobs consisted of waiting tables, delivering pizza, driving a taxi, and acting as a bouncer at Woody's Wharf, a bar owned by Chuck Norris in Newport Beach.
Lives in Hong Kong and Knokke-Heist, Belgium.
Van Damme has an impressive kickboxing record of 18-1-0, with 18 wins by knockout. For most of these fights, he fought under his birth name of Jean-Claude Van Varenberg. Van Damme's only defeat in kickboxing was to France's Etienne Aubry on March 7, 1977 in Marseille, France. Van Damme lost by disqualification when he accidentally kicked Aubry when he was on the canvas.
Van Damme was the original choice to play the title character in Predator (1987) and was part of the production until he was let go. According to Jesse Ventura's book, Van Damme played the Predator (1987) alien until he was replaced replaced by Kevin Peter Hall.During the movie's production, Van Damme reportedly was not happy that his face would not be shown on camera and that he would only receive an uncredited special effects role. He was also not comfortable in the original alien suit and passed out due to heat exhaustion.When Stan Winston's new Predator design came in, Kevin Peter Hall replaced Van Damme in the title role. Supposedly, Van Damme has no regrets on backing out of the Predator project.
He was the inspiration for the character Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat (1992), which was initially envisioned as a gaming vehicle for Van Damme, but he and Midway could not come to terms on the costs for using his likeness.One of Johnny Cage's special moves is doing a split while punching his opponent in the groin, as seen when Van Damme's character, Frank Dux, punches his large sumo opponent in Bloodsport (1988).
Formerly, had his own production companies - Long Road Productions / 777 Films Corp.
Can bench press 166 kg.
Although Jean-Claude Van Damme failed to place in either the 1978 or 1979 WAKO World Championships, he was a member of the 1979 Belgium Team when it won the European Team Championships and a European middleweight Karate champion in his late teens. He won at the Hope Cup, the Cup of Antwerp, The Gala International, and The Forest Nationals.
In his late teens he opened a gym called California Fitness Center.
Studied classical ballet for five years
Once said he learned to speak English by watching the cartoon The Flintstones (1960).
On July 10, 2000, Van Damme was sentenced to an anti-drunk driving class, a $1,200 fine, 3 years probation and a 90 day revocation of his license after pleading no contest for a September 23, 1999 DUI arrest in Beverly Hills.
Won a court case filed against him by martial arts legend Frank Dux, who claimed he collaborated with Van Damme on his 1996 directorial debut The Quest (1996), only for Van Damme to deny him any share of the profits. His evidence was lost in an earthquake. Coincidentally, Van Damme played Dux in his debut Bloodsport (1988).
In 1989, he was sued for willfully gouging the eye of an extra in a sword fight while filming Cyborg (1989).
His fight scenes are so intense that he won't film them in the U.S. for fear of being sued.
Thrilling one and all with his 360-degree ultimate leaping & super flying karate kicks.
[on who should play the villain in The Expendables 3 (2014)] I think Steven Seagal has such a good presence. And he should lose some weigh, which isn't that difficult. I think he has lots of charisma. Even though he speaks bad about me sometimes, I think it's all bullshit. He's a nice guy. I think he has his own type of temper, vision, character. But he would be great in Expendables as a bad guy.
I am very proud of that film. I am persuaded that here, in the United States, it would have been a great success in theaters. And if you ask me why I am so proud of Replicant, it is because we succeeded in making a big film with very reduced budgets.
Hard Target (1993) was a bad script, but we had some great action scenes, and John Woo made me look like a samurai with greasy hair.
[circa 1992] You have to have a dream, the passion to make it, to make it, to really, really make it.
[on Timecop (1994) director Peter Hyams] He was the only one who visited me in the clinic when I was there years ago. All the agents and managers who made a fortune with me never came.
[on rejecting Sylvester Stallone's offer of a part in The Expendables (2010)] Stallone gave me a part in his next movie, but I ask him about the subject, about the story. He said, 'You're gonna make lots of money.' I don't want to hear that, I want to hear what was my character. He was unable to tell what it's going to be. [Stallone said:] 'You know, uh, well, the fighting will be good.' [So I said:] 'Syl, what is my character?' So I didn't do the movie.
(2008) I see dogs on the street, and I adopt them. I took seven dogs from Thailand, and a few of them are paralyzed. One has three paws instead of four. One is limping, so we bought him a wheelchair. I spent my own money to fly them back by private jet. In commercial, they can have heart attacks because of stress - it's dark and icy cold. I love animals. I have nine dogs and a kitty. My biggest orgasm - not in a sexual way - is to walk with my dogs on the beach. In Belgium we have these wide sidewalks. You feel like you're on the Planet Moon, and I can make them feel like movie stars.
I love playing the villain, but a villain with class.
I liked the movement, technique and philosophy and I was training to be the best. Karate's a very boring sport, but when you know the technique you can go further and further. You need at least six or seven years to understand the philosophy and concentration of karate to know to clean your spirit of everything and dedicate your mind and body to the sport. I also use it for concentration before acting scenes.
I love challenges. If you don't have any and can do whatever you want, then it's probably time to die.
My dreams came true in America. It's not possible in Belgium. I grew up sadly. Skinny kid. Big, thick glasses. Everything I've done is a miracle.
I'm one of the most sensitive human beings on Earth -- and I know it.
[His response to being asked what he thinks of his nickname 'Muscles from Brussels]: "It's better than being called 'The Idiot from Brussels'."
Ten, 15 years ago, Sly, Arnold, those guys, were well-built; of course, they had to act and find good scripts, but today action heroes don't have to be Mr. Muscles. What really helps a guy to become an action hero today is the directing of the movie. All those fast cuts.
An action hero has to be always in shape mentally and physically. People, sometimes they believe Sly, Arnold, myself, we're athletes, you cannot make mistakes. But Hollywood forgives, I guess.
Timecop (1994) could have been a very profitable franchise, but those idiots chose instead to sell the rights to television. That could have also been the case with _Bloodsport_, but they settled instead on second-rate kick-boxers for the sequels. - [on his famous films sequels]
I took his (Alex Van Damme) name, in fact from his father because his father sent me for the first time in Hong Kong to be a picture model. I'm not enough tall to be a catwalk model, plus too big for that, and we became very good friends and I took his name as an honor. Because my name, by the way, is too complicated, it's Van Veren Berg, so in America it sounds like "Van Varen Berg" (said with American accent). So Van Damme it's punchy, short, and clear. - [on adopting the name 'Van Damme']
What is a movie star? It is an illusion. It was everything I ever wanted to be, but it became a kind of shell, non? It was what made me famous and got me women. But it wasn't real.
God gave me a great body and it's my duty to take care of my physical temple.
I've become 40, my audience is partly the same age.
In an action film you act in the action. If it's a dramatic film you act in the drama.