gladys portugues net worth

Gladys Portugues: The Inspiring Story of a Bodybuilding Legend & Actress

Gladys Portugues is a true icon of strength and perseverance whose story is remarkable. 

From a college student passionate about weightlifting to a top ten finisher in the Ms. Olympia competition, Portugues has shattered stereotypes and blazed a trail for female athletes. 

Her success in bodybuilding opened doors for her in the entertainment industry, where she showcased her talent as an actress. 

Her love story with Jean-Claude van Damme and their journey as a family is also an inspiring tale. 

As you delve into the life and legacy of this incredible woman, you’ll discover how she has inspired numerous individuals to pursue their passions and achieve their goals.

Gladys Portugues Early Life and Education

Born in Manhattan, New York, on September 30, 1957, Gladys Portugues is a renowned personality in bodybuilding and entertainment.

Though little is known about her parents, siblings, or early life, her talent and determination would eventually propel her into the spotlight. 

She attended Marymount Manhattan College, where she pursued a degree in English and discovered her passion for bodybuilding and weight training.

Gladys Portugues Bodybuilding Career

With her impressive physique, Standing at 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 55 kg, she competed in numerous competitions and achieved a top ten finish in the prestigious Ms. Olympia competition. 

Gladys Portugues Acting Career

Portugues’ success in bodybuilding opened doors for her in the entertainment industry. 

She transitioned to acting with roles in television series and movies, showcasing her talent in films such as Pumping Iron II: The Women and The Morning After (1986). 

She also played a role in the TV series Behind Closed Doors. Her performances garnered positive reviews and elevated her status as a multi-talented celebrity.

gladys portugues and jean-claude van damme

Gladys Portugues Personal Life and Family

Gladys Portugues found love with Belgian actor and martial artist Jean-Claude van Damme. The couple first married in 1987 but divorced in 1992. 

However, their love story didn’t end there, as they remarried in 1999 and have remained together since. 

They have two children, Kristopher van Varenberg and Bianca Brigitte, who have also pursued careers in the entertainment industry.

Gladys Portugues Net Worth

Throughout her diverse career, Gladys Portugues has amassed an estimated net worth of $4 million. 

The couple’s combined net worth exceeds $40 million, along with her husband, Jean-Claude van Damme. 


Gladys Portugues’ journey from a college student studying English to a bodybuilding icon and accomplished actress is inspiring. With her unwavering dedication to her craft, she has become a role model for many and demonstrated that hard work and perseverance could lead to incredible achievements. 

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