Gladys Portugues is a former bodybuilder, fitness model, actress and author. She is also known as the wife of Jean-Claude Van Damme, a famous actor in action movies.
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Early life, educational background, career source, interests
Gladys Portugues was born on September 30, 1957 in Manhattan, New York City, USA. Her name may sound like she’s Portuguese, but she’s a US citizen since she was born and raised in the US. Details about her childhood and early upbringing have not been disclosed.
On the other hand, after graduating from high school, she continued her education at Marymount Manhattan College and studied English. It was during her college days that she began to appreciate bodybuilding as she watched Rachel McLish win the female bodybuilding competition title, Ms. Olympia, on television. Portugues was moved by McLish, which led her to participate in bodybuilding and strength training.
Bodybuilding and Modeling Career
After college, she followed her passion for bodybuilding and became a professional. and won several competitions in bodybuilding. She also became part of Ms. Olympia, placing her in the top ten contestants twice, and as a result, she also became a fitness model.
During the 1980s, Portugues was one of the most outstanding models in female fitness. She has graced the covers of numerous bodybuilding magazines such as ‘Strength Training for Beauty’, ‘Flex’, ‘Muscle & Fitness’ and ‘Muscle Training’, and has also appeared in fashion and beauty magazines.
Gladys Portugues appeared in a 1985 documentary, “Pumping Iron II”, in which she herself was highly regarded, and Rachel McLish, whom she adored, had a special role in it.
The following year, Portugues played the part of a bodybuilder in “The Morning After”, and in 1987 she appeared as a waitress in “It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive”. In the 1993 action-comedy genre film, “Last Action Hero,” she had a cameo role as herself in a first showing of a film alongside Van Damme. After those performances, she has not been involved in other films.
Gladys is also an author, publishing her first book, “Hard Bodies” in 1986, with co-author Joyce L. Vedral. The two teamed up again in 1988 when they published another book titled “Hard Bodies Express,” detailing fitness routines for women on the go.
Personal life, husband actor Jean-Claude Van Damme
Gladys Portugues and Jean-Claude Van Damme met during a photo shoot and together they looked like a match made in heaven.
Van Damme was a stunning action star while Portugues was the well known actress and beautiful bodybuilder. The two have a lot in common, and in 1987 they decided to tie the knot and also welcome their oldest child, Kristopher Julien van Varenberg, that year. One day before Jean-Claude Van Damme’s thirtieth birthday in 1990, Portuguese gave birth to their daughter whom they named Bianca Brigitte van Varenberg.
However, in 1992 their relationship became unstable, resulting in parting ways. Later, Van Damme remarried, to Darcy LaPier, but in the end the same story happened, and the relations did not last long, they divorced in 1997. He then found his way back to Gladys Portugues, and they remarried on June 25, 1999. However, their marriage is dated. not perfect, and on March 18, 2015, Gladys was even reported to have filed for divorce for the second time.
Two months later, they were reunited and Gladys canceled what she filed, and their union has apparently remained strong to this day.
Who is Jean-Claude Van Damme?
It was on October 18, 1960, when Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg was born in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium. His parents are Mrs. Eliana, an accountant and Mr. Eugene Van Varenberg, a florist; he has a sister, Veronique.
Van Damme received his first Shotokan karate lesson at the age of eleven and he also focused on training in weightlifting. Not only that, he took ballet classes with strict routines. Van Damme won the award in several competitions in which he competed, such as EPKA’s middleweight fight during his teenage years. He was also hailed as “Mr. Belgium”, displaying his perfectly built body.
In addition, he opened a gym in his hometown, after getting some modeling offers.
However, he was fascinated to become a big star and wanted to get into the film industry. To pursue this dream, he went to Hong Kong and China, trying to get a shot at the martial arts film trade. In 1982, Van Damme continued his passion and dream and moved to Los Angeles, California, to reach Hollywood.
Van Damme’s career, personal life, achievements
Van Damme started small before reaching stardom, with several small roles in films such as a waiter, taxi driver, aerobics instructor and a bouncer. Before he got the name Van Damme, he was called “Frank Cujo”. He got a big break in the 1988 movie “Bloodsport” where he showcased his skills in karate, especially with his unique jumping helicopter kick. The film became a blockbuster, earning approximately $35 million. In the following year, the name Jean-Claude Van Damme really became known when he starred in the movie titled “Kickboxer”, which also became a big hit.
Films featuring Van Damme filled the big screen, as action films like “Double Impact” in 1991, “Universal Soldier” in 1992, “Time Cop” in 1994, “Sudden Death” in 1995 and “Maximum Risk” in 1996, are overwhelming. limited acting ability with his flexible kicks and original gymnastic splits. In 1996 Van Damme ventured to direct a film entitled “The Quest” and it became a success. He went on to make two more films, but they failed to interest the public.
On the other hand, Van Damme’s name became embroiled in controversy in 1990 while at the height of his fame. He reportedly used cocaine and sleeping pills, to which he became addicted. He was also arrested in 1999 for driving under the influence. In addition, Van Damme was found to have bipolar disorder, but under medication he put his private life in order and his mental health also improved.
Van Damme resurfaced in 2008 as a better version of himself in the movie “JCVD”, which caught the attention of viewers with his performance and received positive feedback. This fueled a resurgence in Van Damme’s stardom, leading him to a role in 2010’s “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” and in 2011, he was cast in “Kung Fu Panda 2”, where he voiced the character Master Croc. The following year 2012, he returned to his original genre in an action movie, as a member of the kick-ass group in “The Expendables 2”.
In the middle of the last quarter of 2012, a bronze statue of Van Damme with a fighting stance was unveiled in Brussels.
Speaking of relationships, Van Damme has had five marriages with four women and became a father of three. His first wife was Maria Rodriguez, but their union lasted only four years from 1980 to 1984. Van Damme then married Cynthia Derderian in 1985, but they separated after a year.
His marriages to Gladys Portugues and Darcy LaPier have already been covered.
Van Damme has three children, two with Gladys, and the other, son Nicolas with LaPier.
Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts
Gladys Portugues loves to keep her fans updated through her Instagram account, which has over 35,000 followers. There she posts beautiful pictures together with her family, selfies, photo shoots of models and approved brands.
In addition, to keep her body in shape, she still manages to go to the gym regularly after some intensive workouts. In addition, she also eats a balanced diet to stay in shape.
Portugues also falls under the astrological sign of Libra, which therefore makes her diplomatic, idealistic, energetic and sociable.
Appearance and clothing style
Gladys has luscious voluminous black hair and mesmerizing black eyes. She is 1.65 m tall, weighs 55 kg and her vital statistics are 35-25-38. As for her dress style, Gladys prefers simple yet elegant looks, often with jackets and tank tops. Not to mention her beautiful face, mesomorphic body and outstanding personality are some unique features that play a vital role in completing her look.
Net worth, income and lifestyle
As of early 2021, Gladys’ net worth is estimated at approximately $5 million, while her husband is reportedly on a net worth of $40 million. Gladys did not share valid details about vehicles, home and other property, and current income. Looking at her social media appearances, one can easily say that she is currently living luxuriously with her loved ones.