The couple was willing to put their problems behind because the love they had for each other was worth so much more.
It may not have been easy, but it was only a matter of time before Jean-Claude Van Damme realized that his love for his wife, Gladys Portugues, was much bigger than the problems they had. Like any other couple, they have had their fair share of ups and downs. And through the struggles, they thought that separation was the answer, but eventually, Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD) realized that he couldn't be away from his beloved wife and the two of them are now stronger than ever.
"The JCVD family is still strong," the actor recently said, as reported by the Daily Mail. "The kids are strong, the wife is strong. There's so much divorce around the world and it's very bad for the children." But getting to this stage of a relationship wasn't easy for him and Gladys Portugues, but they gave everything they had to make things work, to fight for their marriage.
When they first got together, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Gladys Portugues seemed like the perfect match; he was the dazzling action movie star and she was the much-admired actress and bodybuilder. They had a lot in common. Not long after the two met at a photo shoot, they were ready to tie the knot in 1987, according to the JCVD website. The newly married couple, ecstatic to become parents together, welcomed their first child, Kristopher Julien van Varenberg the same year. In 1990, just a day before Jean-Claude Van Damme was to celebrate his 30th birthday, the couple had the joy of welcoming their daughter, Bianca Brigitte van Varenberg, to the family.
However, in 1992 they hit a rocky phase in the relationship and decided to part ways. Although Jean-Claude Van Damme went on to have other relationships, none of them stood the test of time and he eventually found his way back to Gladys Portugues. There came a point where Jean-Claude Van Damme and Gladys Portugues started spending a lot more time together, soon realizing what a mistake it was for them to have separated in the first place. Reunited and growing deeper in love, they married once again in 1999.
They stayed by each other's side for 15 years until troubles started creeping into their relationship again. They had gone to the extent of filing divorce papers again and "irreconcilable differences" was cited as the reason, as reported by E! Online. Although there were differences, Van Damme and his wife realized they still shared a strong connection with each other despite their differences, and they knew how painful divorce can be on their children.
Jean-Claude Van Damme told TMZ that he was ditching the idea of divorce and like every couple who works through problems, they were working on theirs, too.
"Divorce is simple - it's a word - and love is a feeling. It's hard to mix both," he said. They weren't going to allow their feelings for each other to be reduced to a divorce contract, a piece of paper. "Feelings and words. Words are for legal, it's for the law, in a sense," Jean-Claude Van Damme added. Good or bad, the law is good, it can be bad sometimes. And the feeling is love, it's hard for lawyers to understand."
"Of course, we love each other," he said. "And all of the people I've met in my life - I love all of them."
Now, having spent around 25 years as husband and wife, they are able to cherish the moments together with no ounce of pretense. "Every time you spend time with a person - 10 minutes or 20 minutes and you're listening to somebody - you build memories," he said. "If you're listening for fake, you're stupid. So every time you spend time with people you should always enjoy and everybody should be in peace."