A legendary leading man! Sylvester Stallone is known for being the face of several successful franchises, from Rocky to Rambo.
The New York native nearly gave up on acting before landing his major breakthrough in 1974’s The Lords of Flatbush. The first Rocky film hit theaters two years later — and Stallone’s career changed forever.
“I wanted to get back to the cycle of the films of the ’40s and the ’50s … so I took the opportunity to write this particular film, of course, being somewhat selfish because I had myself in mind for [starring in] it,” he explained during a 1977 TV interview of writing the character of Rocky Balboa. “That was the main motivation.”
Stallone explained that his early career was made up of mostly “atmosphere” roles or background parts. “I felt that if I was going to go down into professional obscurity, I wanted to at least have the opportunity to say to myself, ‘Well, you tried. You put your best foot forward and you didn’t make it,’” he continued.
Rocky was nominated in a total of 10 categories at the 1977 Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing. It was the highest-grossing film of 1976 and spawned multiple sequels, with Stallone returning for the first two Creed movies in 2015 and 2018.
Stallone didn’t reprise his iconic role in the third Creed movie in 2023, only participating as a producer. “That’s a regretful situation because I know what it could have been,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2022. “It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would’ve taken it.”
The Paradise Alley director claimed Creed III had a “different philosophy” than films past. “I wish them well, but I’m much more of a sentimentalist,” he explained. “I like my heroes getting beat up, but I just don’t want them going into that dark space. I just feel people have enough darkness.”
Along with his box office hits — and a few misses — Stallone’s personal life has fascinated fans over the years. He married first wife Sasha Czack in 1974, later welcoming sons Sage and Seargeoh in 1976 and 1979, respectively, before calling it quits in 1985. The pair’s eldest child died of heart disease in 2012.
The Assassins star moved on with Brigitte Nielsen, to whom he was married for two years in the ’80s. Following their split, he fell head over heels for Jennifer Flavin. The couple tied the knot in 1997 and share daughters Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet.
Us Weekly confirmed in August 2022 that Flavin filed for divorce after 25 years of marriage. Stallone addressed the shocking breakup in a brief statement via his rep at the time, noting, “I love my family. We are amicably and privately addressing these personal issues.”
Stallone raised eyebrows earlier that month by covering the tattoo portrait of Flavin’s face on his bicep with new ink. He later shut down rumors that the twosome called it quits over his decision to adopt a Rottweiler named Dwight that Flavin allegedly didn’t want.
By September 2022, however, Stallone and the former model were back together. “They decided to meet back up at home, where they talked and were able to work out their differences,” his rep told Page Six. “They are both extremely happy.”
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