Jean-Claude Van Damme was born on October 18, 1960. His films inspired countless martial artists all across the world. When ‘Muay Thai’ or ‘kickboxing’ acquired prominence in the martial arts world, Van Damme brought these martial arts techniques to the forefront and used them in his films. Films such as “Bloodspot” and “Kickboxer” were worldwide hits and undoubtedly spawned a new generation of martial artists and performers. Many martial arts performers have been inspired by his distinctive karate kick with the 360º leap. And with that, let us celebrate his birthday in style!
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, popularly known as Jean Claude Van Damme, was born on October 18, 1960, to florist Eugène Van Varenberg and accountant Eliana Van Varenberg. He has an older sister, Veronique Van Varenberg, who is 18 months his senior. He is an incredibly talented Belgian actor, martial artist, fight choreographer, and film director. He is well-known for his down-to-earth demeanor and compassion. He is a diligent worker who continues to work in the film business.
He was born and raised in Belgium and was physically underdeveloped as a child. Recognizing this shortcoming, his father enrolled him at the age of ten in a Shotokan karate school. As a result, he developed an interest in martial arts and kickboxing. He was a Shotokan karate and kickboxing champion and began his competitive karate career at 15. In his first five years as a karate and martial artist, he won 44 competitions and non-tournament semi-contact contests and lost four times. He moved to the U.S. from Belgium in 1982, intending to break into Hollywood and find work as an actor. To support himself, he worked in different occupations, notably as an extra in the hip-hop film “Breakin.” Being pals with Chuck Norris got him a job as a bouncer at Woody’s Wharf, Chuck’s club. In 1984, he appeared in Cannon Films’ action movie “Missing in Action.” In the same year, he also directed a short comedy film called “Monaco Forever.” His fame and career have soared since his debut at the age of 26, followed by the release of his hit movies throughout his career.
His matrimonial life was a roller coaster ride, as he married Mara Rodriguez in 1980 and divorced in 1984. He had four remarriages. Van Damme is the father of two sons and one daughter. His sons, Kristopher Van Varenberg and Nicholas Van Varenberg, as well as his daughter, Bianca Brigitte Van Damme, all continued in their father’s footsteps and achieved success as actors. He married Gladys Portugues twice, first in 1987 and then in 1999. She is an American actress and former bodybuilder. The couple has parted ways, putting an end to their 15-year relationship.
Van Damme and his buddy travel to the U.S. with the intention of becoming big action heroes with their first on-screen debut as 'extras' in the 1984 movie "Breakin."
The film that makes Van Damme famous is a real story based on Frank Dux's "Bloodsport," a commercial success in the U.S.
Van Damme achieves another milestone with the picture "Universal Soldier," which becomes a worldwide success and is one of the highest-grossing films of the time.
Van Damme steps in as director for the film "The Quest” and continues to appear in a number of noteworthy films.
He contributes his voice for "Kung Fu Panda Two" and continues to work in a variety of films, including "Kickboxer: Vengeance," "Kill 'Em All," "Kickboxer: Retaliation," "Black Water," and others.
Why We Love Jean-Claude Van Damme
His charitable work
Jean Claude is an animal activist who promotes animal conservation and environmental concerns. He contributes to organizations and programs such as the Orca Network and Operation Smile.
Champion for a reason
In 1976, Jean Claude earned a gold medal in the Mr. Belgium Bodybuilding Championship. They even have a statue of him in Belgium!
He’s indeed a desirable man
From 1992 to 1994, he was shortlisted for the M.T.V. Movie Award for Most Desirable Male three times in a row. He has since continued to build his legacy.
5 Surprising Facts
He turned down a lead role
He was offered the leading part in the film "The Expendables," but he declined.
The hall of fame
He is elected into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame in the 2020 class.
The J.C.V.D. statue
In Belgium, he is commemorated by a statue.
Black belt at a young age
At the age of 18, he obtained a third Dan black belt in Shotokan karate.
He loves his animals
Jean Claude Van Damme adores animals and loves going for walks on the beach with his pets.
Jean-Claude Van Damme FAQs
Is Jean-Claude still married?
No, he is probably single currently.
Is Jean Claude Van Damme a real fighter?
Yes, he is a real fighter.
What languages does Jean-Claude Van Damme speak?
English, Spanish, French, and German.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s birthday dates