Jean-Claude Van Damme — whose real last name is Van Varenberg — has had a (mostly) impressive career as a professional martial artist and an actor. Since the late ’70s, the Muscles from Brussels, as he’s known, has starred in over 70 films and counting. His love life, however, hasn’t been as stellar.
JCVD repeatedly made headlines with his alleged infidelities, makeups, and breakups and has been married a total of five times. First, he said “I do” to Maria Rodriguez from 1980 to 1984. Then, he wed Cynthia Derderian in 1985, but they got divorced after just three months. His third marriage to Gladys Portugues lasted from 1987 to 1992 (although the two joined the illustrious crowd of celebs who married each other twice when they re-tied the knot in 1999). He was also hitched to Darcy LaPier from 1994 to 1997.
During all this time, JCVD had three children: Kristopher and Bianca Van Varenberg with Portugues and Nicholas Van Varenberg with LaPier. But if you think being the kid of a movie star is easy — think again. While all three have experienced ups and down with their father, Kristopher and Bianca have sure had a lot more ups than Nicholas. This is the untold truth of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s kids.
JCVD’s son inspired him to overhaul his career Jean-Claude Van Damme and his fourth wife, Darcy LaPier, had a difficult relationship, to say the least. LaPier filed for divorce three times over the course of their marriage and when their son was born in 1995, Van Damme reportedly questioned if Nicholas was his child, according to Celebrity Net Worth. LaPier called it quits for real in 1997 and things only got worse for JCVD when LaPier claimed that she was “too afraid” to be with her husband on account of his alleged “physical and mental abuse,” as well as an addiction to cocaine. As a result, Van Damme seemingly lost all access to his young son.
Without revealing the specifics of the custody arrangement, the action star told The Sun [via Contact Music] in 2009, “The custody case is very painful. The legal system in California is crazy. For me not to see my kid is a disaster.”
Clearly, Nicholas Van Varenberg suffered the effects of his parents’ messy divorce, but it wasn’t all for nothing, as he became the inspiration his dad needed to turn his life around. JCVD’s career hit rock bottom and he retracted from the spotlight, but eventually found the motivation for a comeback thanks to Nicholas. As he also told The Sun, “The only way I can bring my son back is to be successful again as they were saying to him, ‘Your father is a loser.’” Since then, JCVD has appeared in over 20 films.
Nicholas Van Varenberg’s acting career stalled at the start Nicholas Van Varenberg is the only one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s kids who hasn’t had much luck following in his famous parents’ Hollywood footsteps (His mother, Darcy LaPier was a Hawaiian Tropic model-turned-actress, too). While the Belgian actor has opened industry doors for all three of his kids, Nicholas is the only one whose career has yet to take off — but it’s nor for lack of effort. Nicholas tried to emulate his father and become an actor, but unfortunately, things didn’t really work out for him.
Van Damme’s youngest child should have been set up for success, but as of 2020, he only had one acting credit to his name for playing Travis (a minor character) in Kickboxer: Retaliation, an action flick that only earned $4,537 at the US box office and just over $97,000 internationally. The movie was released in early 2018, and by that summer, JCVD’s production company, Rodin Entertainment, was teasing an in-development project starring Nicholas and his siblings Bianca Van Varenberg and Kristopher Van Varenberg. The action-western, Three Coyotes, has yet to come to fruition, and while there’s no official word on the status of the project, Nicholas was embroiled in the middle of a headline-making court case during this upstart period of his acting career, which possibly hurt his chances of landing future roles.
Did Nicholas Van Varenberg threaten to kill his roommate? In September 2017, Nicholas Van Varenberg made headlines for allegedly holding up his roommate at knifepoint. According to court records obtained by AZ Central, the bizarre string of events began with Van Varenberg punching an elevator wall inside his Tempe, Ariz. apartment building. The apartment complex, which was located near Arizona State University’s Tempe campus (Van Varenberg was a junior studying interdisciplinary studies at the time), had its own police officer who followed a trail of blood from the elevator to Van Varenberg’s apartment. The then-21-year-old refused medical help for his bloody hand and the officer left. Then things got weird.
Van Varenberg reportedly berated his roommate for opening the door to police, and grabbed a “large knife” and “angled it toward his roommate standing approximately four feet away.” A noise complaint sent police back to the apartment, but Van Varenberg refused to open the door. He taunted one officer, asking, “Do you guys want some fame or something or what?”
The unidentified roommate escaped after an hour. Police then lured Van Varenberg into the hallway by getting the roommate to challenge him to a fight. After a two-hour standoff, Van Varenberg was arrested and, according to TMZ, “booked for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful imprisonment, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia”. He was slapped with a $10,000 bond and reportedly bragged about his famous father, as well as his ability to pay the fine and leave the country.
A plea deal was a good deal for Nicholas Van Varenberg Once Nicholas Van Varenberg was arrested, he told officers he had no recollection of ever punching the elevator wall and went on to deny threatening his roommate. He even went as far as to call him his “best friend,” AZ Central reported.