Don’t be fooled by this tough guy’s exterior, because he faced more turmoil than you can imagine. Even though he spent part of his childhood in a foster home, he still fought to make his way onto our screens and now he’s one of the world’s most famous action stars!
He’s experienced heart wrenching losses, but despite the tragedy that he and his family have had to face, he’s never let his passion for performance die. Get ready Juicers, for the story that will bring you to tears and leave you inspired to keep fighting for your dream.
We have everything you need to know about Sylvester Stallone’s heartbreaking story. And remember to follow Rumor Juice, we’ll keep you informed about everything happening in the celebrity world!
You might know Michael Sylvester Stallone as an actor, executive director, filmmaker, and screenwriter. He’s also responsible for creating two characters who have become a part of the action film culture, boxer Rocky Balboa and soldier, John Rambo. However, his journey into the Hollywood spotlight wasn’t an easy one. In some way, the characters have mirrored his struggle to fame, and the personal battles he had to face throughout his life.
Stallone has always been good at playing the tough-guy in films, and it’s probably because he had a lot of practice growing up. The action star had a very difficult childhood. At the time of his birth, there was an accident with forceps that damaged a nerve, resulting in his slurred speech and impaired facial muscles. He was also quite a sickly child and even suffered from rickets – a condition that results in weak or soft bones in children.
His parents were unhappily married and had an abusive relationship which, of course, ended up affecting Sylvester and his younger brother, Frank. After his parents’ divorce, Sylvester and his brother were left with nowhere to go and had to spend five years in foster care. He so desperately craved love and approval as a young boy, and later confessed that his interest in acting came from his attempts to get attention and affection from those strangers who tried to raise him.
He struggled emotionally and academically and was expelled from several schools. He had terrible grades at school and was mocked by his fellow classmates for his differences. The young Stallone coped by becoming a bit of an adrenaline junkie and would spend a lot of time imagining scenarios where he was a champion or brave hero, fighting for the underdogs.
After being accepted into a special high school for troubled youth, Stallone eventually went on to college, where he studied drama. As he waited for his acting career to take off, Stallone took on ANY work he could find in order to pay the bills.
He ushered at a movie theater and even cleaned up the lions’ cages at the Central Park Zoo. The young actor was desperate for work, wanted nothing but to be in front of a camera and perform. He even had to resort to making an appearance in an adult film. He auditioned for films, but faced constant rejection due to his deep voice and partially disfigured face. Despite all the rejection, the actor never lost hope! He decided to put more energy into his writing.
During his writing phase, he married actress Sasha Czack in late 1974 and they moved to California in the hopes of building both their acting careers. In the meantime, Sylvester had been working on his writing, creating a screenplay about a thug who struggles for a chance to make it as a professional boxer. The action star refused to sell the script to anyone unless they allowed him to play the lead role. At last, Sylvester’s persistence paid off when he found producers that were willing to make the film and have him as the star! 1976 when Sylvester was 30 years old, Rocky was released and snagged a whopping 10 Academy award nominations, making the actor an international sensation!
Stallone finally had his career and stardom in the bag and was already well on his way to becoming a world renowned action star. Unfortunately, while his career was beginning to soar, history was beginning to repeat itself in his personal life. In 1985, after having two sons together, he divorced his first wife, Sasha Czack. Perhaps it was the stress of their new found celebrity life or their second son’s diagnosis with autism at a young age. Whatever the reason, the couple were unable to make their marriage work. Then, in the very same year, he went on to marry model Brigitte Nielsen, who was 17 years younger than him. The media labeled the young model as a gold digger. However, she assured the public that it was Stallone that ‘begged’ her to marry him. They ended up divorcing two years later.
As the years passed, it became difficult for the action star to keep up his career’s momentum. So while his career might have been on the silent side, Stallone got married for the third time to another model, Jennifer Flavin. They went on to have three daughters together. It seems like Sylvester’s acting career wasn’t just inspiring to his fans, but to his son too. Sage, the actor’s first born son from his first wife, was beginning to make his way into the world of film. Sage followed in his father’s footsteps and began his acting career in Rocky V. As a 14-year-old, he played Robert Balboa Jr., son of his father’s Rocky Balboa character. Young Stallone again appeared with his father in Daylight and had roles in nine other movies and short films.
It wasn’t until 2010, with The Expendables film that Stallone was able to get back into the spotlight. The action movie was a huge success, with an immediate promise for a sequel. However, just as his career was starting to get going once again … his family was soon about to be struck by an unimaginable tragedy.
In July of 2012, the Stallone family suffered a tragic loss. At just the age of 36, Sylvester’s first son, Sage, passed away of a heart attack. The pair had formed a special father-son relationship after working on several films together, so it’s needless to say Sylvester was heartbroken by the loss.
“Because when a parent loses a child there is no greater pain,” Sylvester said in a heart wrenching statement.
Sage’s passing was riddled with speculation because of his young age. The media spread theories of an alleged overdose on pain medication, since the young actor had major dental surgery just 2 weeks before his tragic death.
“Sage was our first child and the center of our universe, and I am humbly begging for all to have my son’s memory and soul left in peace.” Sylvester felt like he had to speak out against those who were dramatizing the circumstances around his son’s passing.
Devastation struck Sylvester Stallone’s grieving family once again, for the second time in two months. Sylvester’s half-sister passed away at just the age of 48, after losing a painful battle with lung cancer.
After speaking with his mother, Sylvester said that he simply could not take the pain any longer. Just months after the tragic deaths of his son and sister, Stallone learned that his daughter, Sophia, would have to undergo heart surgery that same year. Sophia underwent her first cardiac operation as an infant to correct a heart malformation. While the procedure went well, it’s without a doubt that the Stallone family had experienced their fair share of heartache.
While he may portray the heroic tough-guy on screen, there’s no doubt that off screen, Stallone is just a real guy going through the ups and downs than any normal person would face. He’s been open about his loss and the tough times he and he’s family have had to face, which makes him all that more relatable. His fans have been able to connect with him through his losses and love him all the more for being honest about his pain.
Despite all the suffering he and his closed ones had endured, Stallone wasn’t deterred and his passion for acting wasn’t lost. He starred in Escape Plan, with Schwarzenegger, as well as the boxing comedy Grudge Match, with legend De Niro. He went on to add one more chapter to the Rocky Balboa saga in 2015 with Creed, in which he trains the son, played by hunk Michael B. Jordan, of his old boxing rival Apollo. Stallone’s outstanding performance won him a supporting actor Golden Globe and he even received a standing ovation as he took the stage for his acceptance speech. It seems there are only bigger things to come for the actor in the near future. All of the action star’s iconic roles were men that are heroes in their own regard.
Finally, after years of portraying virtual heroes, Stallone has been cast as an actual superhero. That’s right, with real superpowers. Samaritan, is the up and coming action thriller film that’s going to blow all of our socks off. It’s about a young boy, who discovers that a superhero who went missing 20 years ago is living next door to him. Can you guess who that superhero is? None other than Sylvester Stallone himself.
Through all the pain, loss and heartache, Sylvester has had to face, he’s never given up on his dream. Despite having a rough start in life and having all the odds stacked against him, he never took ‘no’ for an answer. Not only is he the tough guy on screen, off screen he’s the tough guy who has experienced real life tragedy and loss, and he never let any of it break him. It’s a lesson for everyone out there who might feel a little demotivated, or heartbroken. If Sylvester can do it, you can do it too!
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