Before becoming one of the most well-known action stars in the world, Steven Seagal had quite the humble childhood. Something about martial arts fascinated him so much that when he was just a teenager, he already started learning the basic moves of karate. You could say that since a very young age, Seagal had to fight his way up.
He ended up moving to Japan with his father, but it was in the U.S. that he met his first wife, Miyako Fujitani. The two tied the knot in 1975 and were married for 11 years. Before his divorce was finalized, Seagal married his second wife. That was just the beginning of a long and turbulent love life for the action star. In a nutshell, Seagal has more faces than you can imagine, which makes his life one of the most captivating in Hollywood.
Fighting his way up
You can say many things about the most famous action film star, but there’s one thing people don’t know about him is how hard of a worker he is. Steven was born in Michigan before moving with his family to Florida. When he was just 13 years old, he had to lie about his age so he could work at a Japanese restaurant.
That was when one of the cooks, who happened to be a Karate expert, noticed how quickly he moved around the kitchen space. Before Seagal knew it, he began his first Aikido training. While in his 20s, he moved with father to Japan, where he continued his martial arts training.
Big in Japan
The young Seagal ended up staying in Japan for 15 years where he received his first dan under the direction of his mentor, Koichi Tohei. He continued to master his Aikido and eventually attained his seventh dan degree.
Later he even started operating his own aikido dojo, and became the first foreigner to operate this type of martial arts studio in Japan. Seagal also taught English while in Japan and in a way maintained his connection to his homeland.
In 1974, after Seagal has returned to California, he met Miyako Fujitani who was an aikido teacher in L.A. The two who became a couple, returned to Japan, Fujitani’s native country and tied the knot. Just like a good movie storyline, when Miyako’s dad retired, Seagal took over his father in law’s aikido school and became the head of Tenshin Aikido in Osaka City.
Leaving his dojo behind, Seagal and his wife at the the time, moved to Taos, New Mexico where they opened their own dojo. When Seagal returned to the U.S. for the second time, he opened an aikido dojo together with his student in California, which was later moved to West Hollywood.
Aikido, a way of life
Being an aikido instructor is more than just teaching martial arts and passing your talent and moves to others. It’s really about adapting a spiritual life. Taking his Steven Seagal’s life under the spotlight, it’s hard to see that spirituality, but back in the days, martial arts was everything for the young artist.
Unlike his fellow action film actors, Bruce Lee, Jean-Claude Van Damme or even Chuck Norris, who mainly practiced offense, Seagal’s aikido style focused on defense, self-control and respect.
A spinning success
When Steven Seagal met Michael Ovitz, a famous talent age in Hollywood, he didn’t that this would be the man who would pave the way to his success. Seagal co-wrote and starred in the 1988 movie that got him his first big break, Above the Law.
Ever since he starred in the action film which jump started his career, Seagal has been part of more than 40 films with a career which now spans nearly 30 years. His movies earned more than $2 billion in the box office.
Heading to Hollywood
When Seagal arrived in Hollywood, it was to become an aikido teacher as well as a stunt coordinator, after all he had a rich history of martial arts training and teaching. He first started as a stunt coordinator when he worked on the 1982 action film, The Challenge.
His big break as a martial arts instructor in Hollywood came when he was offered to work on the James Bond film from 1983, Never Say Never Again, where he was specifically hired to train the one and only Sean Connery.
An action-filled love life
An inseparable part of Steven Seagal’s life, apart from his action films and teaching aikido, is his turbulent love life. The action film star married four times and has a total of seven children. From his first wife, Miyako he has two children a son named Kentaro and a daughter named Ayako Fujitan.
While his divorce to Miyako wasn’t completely a done deal, he went on to marry Days of Our Lives actress, Adrienne La Russa (their marriage was eventually annulled because he was found to still be married to Miyako).
Kentaro and Ayako
The 37-year-old daughter of Steven Seagal has followed in her father’s footsteps when she went on to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Ayako, who is fluent in both English and Japanese, is a big film fan and has been acting since the mid ’90s.
Her screen debut was in the Gamera film series. She also had a role in the 2014 film, Man from Reno where she played a best-selling crime novelist from Japan. The talented actress is also a writer and has even directed a short TV film.
Steven Seagal’s second wife Adrienne La Russa is best known for her role on the long-running soap opera, playing Brooke Hamilton from 1975 to 1977.
Adrienne and Steven married in 1984, but neither Adrienne’s television career nor her film career didn’t really have much success during the years she was married to Seagal. Steven’s pattern of getting involved with one woman while still being legally married to another continued in future relationships, as well.
Banned from SNL
During the late ’80s, Seagal has established himself as a big action star and has already starred in three action films. However, that didn’t mean that he could do anything he wanted professionally speaking. In 1991, Seagal was invited to host the sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live during its 16th season.
However, his time was on the show was so bad that he was literally banned from SNL for good. One of the former cast members even regarded him as the worst host the show had ever had.
Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad host
Seagal, who hosted the episode that aired on April 20th, 1991, is regarded as the worst host of all time. He allegedly was acting in an awful way towards the other cast members and the ideas tat he pitched for the sketch were even worse that his behavior.
Tim Meadows, SNL’s long-running cast member spoke once about his experience with the actor: “The biggest problem with Steven Seagal was that he would complain about jokes that he didn’t get… He just wasn’t funny and he was very critical of the cast and the writing staff… He didn’t realize that you can’t tell somebody they’re stupid on Wednesday and expect them to continue writing for you on Saturday.”
The worst actor awards
You could say that Steven Seagal was standing “on deadly ground” during his career, as he was nominated for Worst Actor/Director/Picture and more more than once.
Not only did the actor, who was known for his perhaps quick moves and artistic martial arts approaches, not win an Academy Award, he won the Worst Director award during the 1995 Golden Raspberry Awards for the film, On Deadly Ground. Well, in life you win some and you lose some.
Kelly LeBrock was the actor’s third wife, and probably the most interesting one of them all, in terms of her stormy relationship with Seagal. Like his wife before her, Kelly met the Steven while he was still married to his second wife, Adrienne.
Seagal reportedly saw LeBrock when she starred in the 1984 film The Woman in Red and became infatuated with the actress. The two started an affair and Kelly became pregnant with their first baby. The couple married in 1987 (after his marriage to Adrienne was eventually annulled) and the two ended up having three children: Annaliza, Dominic and Arissa.
A Good Man?
Seagal’s marriage to LeBrock wasn’t so happy, to say the least. LeBrock filed for divorce in 1994 citing “irreconcilable differences” after she found out that her husband was having an affair with their nanny, Arissa Wolf (not to be confused with his daughter Arissa).
Not only was the actor cheating on his wife, he also had a daughter with Arissa, named Savannah. Seagal and his nanny came out as a couple and were seen together on many red carpets. Kelly and Steven finalized their divorce in 1996 and oh was it bitter.
The model and actress from the ’80s, Kelly LeBrock who was married to the action film star, has pretty much stepped away from the limelight ever since her divorce.
It turned out that the actress was hiding at her California ranch and in recent years she finally spoke about her bitter time from when she was married to Seagal: “When I split with Steven, the divorce was very ugly, and details of the case were on the evening news. I didn’t want my kids seeing it, so I simply got rid of the TV. I moved my kids out of L.A. so they could grow up with real people… I had absolutely no self-esteem… I feared everything and didn’t want to leave the house.”
She felt abused
In another interview, the former Mrs. Seagal stated that she felt abused her entire life. She recalls her marriage to the actor as being a traumatic experience.
This was not the first time that the Above the Law actor was accused of a forceful behavior toward the women he was with or working with, as several other women have come forward with truly horrendous allegations of misconduct.
He didn’t get along with Malmuth
Kelly and Steven have also worked on the 1990 film, Hard to Kill, and it is rumored that Steven didn’t get along with the film’s director, Bruce Malmuth.
The actor was not satisfied with the filming or the action scenes and didn’t like the fact that he wasn’t included when they were editing the film. He once said about his former director that “I think it’s a miracle that this guy can put one foot in front of the other.”
Steven and 007
Seagal was hired as a choreographer on some of the 007 films and. In the beginning of the ’80s he was brought in to train Sean Connery in martial arts before the latter starred in Never Say Never Again. Things were going fine until the action star allegedly broke Sean’s wrist during filming.
Connery didn’t think he would be injured, of all things, from learning a little aikido while filming. Two years later, Seagal was rehired to work on another Bond film, A View to Kill.
They have some things in common
The Grey’s Anatomy star was only 16 when she was working with Seagal on the set of the 1995 film, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory and she sure has come a long way since.
Apart from the controversial photo where Seagal is seen placing his hand on the front of the teenage actress’ shirt during the film’s premiere, it seems like these two have more things in common, like the fact that many studios in Hollywood don’t want to hire them anymore. Katherine is known for her out-of-control and overall nasty behavior on set, and so does the action star.
Hard to Watch
Kelly and Steven starred together on the 1990 thriller movie, Hard to Kill which was directed by Bruce Malmuth. Apparently, Seagal wasn’t the only one with hard feelings on set, in fact his then-wife, Kelly LeBrock wasn’t enjoying her time while filming the movie either.
The actress who had retired from acting said that the only reason she agreed to be part of the film was as a favor for Seagal. She even said that it was hard for her to watch it after the it was out.
Call him Sheriff
It was only a matter of time until the action film star would have decided to take his art and turn it into a reality. Back in 2011, Seagal became the new deputy sheriff of the Hudspeth County Sheriff department in Texas.
That specific department is responsible for patrolling along the Texas-Mexico border. The actor applied for the job a couple of months before he was accepted and has used his martial arts skills and his knowledge of aikido to help secure the border.
Blame it on the FBI
The actor has been part of some of the most impressive and highest-grossing action films, however in recent years, his films pretty much ended on the DVD shelf, and the interesting is that Seagal blames this on the FBI.
In 2002, the actor was investigated by the law enforcement agency for a weird case. Eventually it was concluded that the actor was innocent, however Steven believes that the whole thing caused him his career, or at least didn’t help his already declining status.
The 8th child
Apart from the 7 children that Seagal has from four different relationships, he is also guardian of a Tibetan woman named Yabshi Pan Rinzinwangmo, who is also known as Renji, as part of his Buddhist beliefs.
The girl was born in 1983 and she is the only offspring of the tenth Panchen Lama of Tibet. During her time studying in the U.S, she was under the custody of the action film star. She is also named the Buddha’s Daughter by the media.
As part of Steven Seagal’s many businesses, he also owns a production company called Steamroller Productions based in Los Angeles. The company was founded in the 90’s but the actor and some of his earlier work was involved in the company’s projects.
In 2001, Steamroller changed its name to Luminocity Productions when Belly of the Beast and Out for a Jill came out. Some of the films that were produced under the company were Into the Sun, Prince of Pistols and Killing Point.
For an actor who has almost 50 projects under his belt, including his action films and his reality show, we must admit that $16 million doesn’t sound so much for such a veteran Hollywood actor. His golden days were without a doubt in the 80’s and the 90’s when he starred in the biggest action films of all time.
His job as a stunt coordinator and a martial-arts instructor in Hollywood also helped his bank account rise. In recent years, Seagal has taken his life to a more spiritual direction after he dealt with his scandalous love affairs, the allegations and the overall bad image.
Dad at 58
In 2009, Seagal married Erdenetuya Batsukh (now Seagal), who is also probably better knows as Elle. The two have one son together named Kunzag who is seven years old, which made Seagal become a dad again at the age of 58.
Seagal and his fourth wife met in 2001 during the actor’s visit to Magnolia where she worked as Steven’s interpreter. Elle trained as a professional dancer she a very young age which makes them connect on a deeper lever perhaps.
Arissa Seagal is the 23-year-old daughter of Steven and his former wife, Kelly LeBrock. Her mother was a model and a fashion icon when she was younger it doesn’t surprise us to learn that she walked in her mother’s footsteps.
Arissa is a plus-size model who has already done many photo shoots and posed for some important magazines. The fashion world is expecting the young model to take the industry by storm.
In another controversial case, back in 2012, a 23-year-old woman named Kayden Nguyen, who was also a former model, was hired to become Steven Seagal’s assistant. It turned out that she left her ‘dream job’ after she accused the action star of harassing her.
She filed a lawsuit against the action star in LA’s County Superior Court and she sued him for emotional damages of $1 million. Nguyen accused Seagal of different allegations and accusations.
The case continues
Some of the allegations against the actor included illegal human trafficking for intimate relation purposes as well as harassment against the young assistant. The actor denied all allegations that were made against him, but the case did cause him to suspend his own show at the time, Steven Seagal: Lawman, while his lawyers were working on the case privately.
One of his attorneys released a statement then saying: ‘The lawsuit filed by Kayden Nguyen against Steven Seagal is a ridiculous and absurd claim by a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired.’ The case was dismissed three months later without any explanations.
Speaking of justice, Seagal also worked on a television show called True Justice which ran for only two seasons and had a total of 26 episodes. The show starred Seagal where he played the role of Elijah Kane where he in charge of the Special Investigation Unit is Seattle, Washington.
The show moved from one network to the other and eventually ended up on ReelzChannel which aired the second season. The show was aired mainly in the UK.
A pony tail
Some actors are famous for their manly mustache like Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds, and some actors are famous for other hairy parts of their body, like the famous ponytail that the actor has had for years. The legendary ponytail even has its own Facebook page.
His ponytail is one of the most memorable things about the actor’s appearance and in general really. Throughout the years the actor has made a few alterations and changed its style from time to time.
A guitar in one hand
The actor has in fact, a great pair of hands and he knows how to use them to the fullest and not just to do practice martial arts. Steven is a long-time musician who lobes and knows how to play the guitar. He has been playing the instrument since he was 12 and his favorite genre is blues.
He was even head of the Steven Seagal Blues Band. His songs have actually been featured in many of his movies including Ticker and Fire Down Below.
Being such a big action star, you can only imagine how many offers the actor had received to star in all kinds of ads and commercials. In 2005, Seagal decided to market his own line of products under Seagal Enterprises.
One of these products was the Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt. Seagal was quoted saying about his energy drink in one of the press conferences: “I have traveled the world creating this drink; there is none better that I know.”
Above the law
We’re already familiar with Steven Seagal’s history with the law both in his films and as his brief stint as a real-life sherrif. In 2008, it was announced by A&E that the taping of Steven Seagal: Lawman had started.
The reality show which follows Seagal while he was working in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, premiered in December of 2009 and had more than 3 million viewers on the night it was premiered. It was ranked as the best season opener for an A&E original series in history.
Seagal’s love for music was in his heart since he was a young boy. In 2005, Steven releasd his first album called Songs from the Crystal Cave which was a mix of genres including country, pop and blues. The album even featured a duet with Stevie Wonder.
Some have claimed that the actor sings like he acts, but in any case, interestingly enough, the soundtrack of the 2005 film, Into the Sun starred the actor, included some songs from the album.
Smell like an action star
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to smell like an action film star? Many actors turn to different fields and business either whne they decide to quit acting or when tey want to pursue other realms in life other than acting.
Some turn to fashion, others pursue a career that involved behind-the-camera work and others just choose to indulge their senses like Seagal did when he marketed an aftershave called ‘Scent of Action’. We wonder how that did in terms of sales.
Steven Seagal might be a big action star and known for his action-filled movies, however in his personal life he is recognized with the Buddhism and he is part of the Buddhist community.
He is a strong believer in reincarnation, and believes that he himself is the reincarnation of a teacher from the 17th century. Eastern wisdom has attracted the actor since he was seven years old and therefore he considers himself as highly spiritual.
A big part of what drives the actor, apart from his music, his acting or his aikido, is his religion and his belief in Asian philosophies . In fact he lives by some of the most spiritual principles and at times it might seem completely disconnected from his action-filled life, the one he had both on screen and off screen.
Steven Seagal’s motto is to lead people into a state of contemplation that would shake them up and wake them up and to enlighten the human race in some way.
Put In the friend zone
Steven’s “romance” with Vladimir Putin goes a long way back. The two share a love for martial arts and in 2016, Seagal even received a Russian passport by the current president of Russia, in some way hoping it would bring the U.S. and Russia closer, or in Putin’s words: “gradual normalization of the relations between Russia and the United States.”
Seagal even described the Russian leader as “one of the great living world leaders” and that he considers him as brother.
A big teddy bear
For someone who is used to breaking others’ bones and being the macho character and man that he is, when it comes to animals, the Under Siege star is actually surprisingly tender and gentle.
In 1999, for instance, the actor worked hard on stopping South Africa from exporting elephants to Japan and a few years later he wrote a touching letter to the Thai government trying to stop them from harming baby elephants. Being a long time vegetarian, Seagal was quoted saying: “When I walk into a room some people see a dog, some people see a cow. I am all of what they see. It is their perception.”
It’s not just words for the actor, it’s also actions as he is a very outspoken PETA Humanitarian and animal rights activist. In 1999 he even received an award for his efforts.
Based on his philosophical beliefs, he is a big fan of mystical animals and he is trying to fight animal cruelty by incorporating that theme is some of his films, for example in Out of Justice. He worked closely with PETA to try and discourage fur trading and is traveling the world to promote his agenda.
In addition to being a citizen of both the Russian Federation as well as the United States, Steven Seagal is also a citizen of the Republic of Serbia.
He has promoted many Serbian issues in the United States, and tries to get Americans to understand that Serbia is indeed a safe, good place to visit. Additionally, he teaches the Serbian Special Forces Aikido.
Steven Seagal adds reggae to his musical capabilities
While Steven Seagal may be known for his action movies and training security forces around eastern Europe, but one of the other things is known for is being a singer and musician.
In fact, on his first studio album, he was able to get reggae superstar Tony Rebel to come play on some of his tracks. His first album was called Songs from the Crystal Cave, and featured Tony rapping on some of the tracks.
The second studio album that Steven Seagal made was called Mojo Priest, and its single was first played by a radio station out in Los Angeles called KYSR.
A website called Allmusic, which is the largest music repository on the internet, said that the album was trying to take itself way too seriously, and that Steven Seagal’s guitar playing is not all that great in any case.
Shooting a puppy
According to a lawsuit filed in 2011, a man named Jesus Sanchez Llovera tried to file a lawsuit against Steven Seagal for his part in a raid filmed on the A&E television show Steven Seagal: Lawman.
The man claimed that Seagal had killed his 11 month old puppy in a raid whereby Llovera himself was arrested. However, the case was thrown out of court in 2013 because Llovera never submitted the paperwork to properly sue Seagal.
Estonia got mad at him
A town in the Baltic nation of Estonia was set to host a blues festival and invite Steven Seagal to come and perform live in front of thousands of people.
However, after his close ties to Russia were announced, the people of Estonia, led by that country’s foreign minister, decided to cancel his performance. Russia has allegedly become upset at Estonia for getting closer to the West.
Russian fitness program
Steven Seagal has been tapped by Russian President Vladimir Putin to help lead up a fitness program titled Ready for Work and Defense (trust us, it flows better in Russian).
The program is a reboot of a similar country wide fitness program which was started by Joseph Stalin back in the 1930s. Quite fittingly, the announcement of the fitness program happened while Seagal and Putin were visiting a Judo dojo.
Saving sacred lands
Right next to Steven Seagal’s ranch in Medicine Lake, a couple of mining consortiums bought land and were planning on mining minerals out of the area.
However, the land was sacred ground to several Native American groups. The groups got local activists together in order to make a video lobbying against the mining of the land. They even got Steven Seagal himself to narrate the video.
Supporting Crimean return
Speaking to the Night Wolves motorcycle club during a concert in Sevastopol which is on the Crimean Peninsula, Steven Seagal said that he supported Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, and the fact that the peninsula was back under Russian control.
He also said that the Ukrainian government was “fascist.” The Night Wolves are a motorcycle group which has close ties with Vladimir Putin.
Following the pronouncement that the government of Ukraine is “fascist” and his receiving Russian citizenship, the nation of Ukraine has banned Steven Seagal from ever entering the country.
The Ukrainian Security Service has announced that Seagal is under a five-year ban from entering the country, although the ban can be extended if need be. The government says that Seagal’s statements undermine Ukrainian security.
Honorary citizen of Kalmykia
Kalmykia is an autonomous region in southern Russia close to the Volga river and touching the Caspian sea. Despite a whole plethora of invaders coming in and taking charge – from Jews to Muslims to Christians – the region’s inhabitants still practice a shamanistic form of Buddhism.
In fact, this is the only place in Europe where Buddhism is the majority religion. The peoples of this autonomous republic of close to 300,000 people decided to make the Buddhist Seagal an honorary Kalmyk.
Meeting Europe’s last dictator
The country of Belarus is the last official dictatorship in Europe, run under the iron fist of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
Seagal was in the country in order to do voice acting for a video game being produced in the country, and said that he wanted to meet Lukashenko. Like Putin, Lukashenko is a big fan of Seagal’s movies, and the two met, sitting together eating carrots. Seriously.
trouble just keeps coming the actor’s way and it doesn’t seem to stop. Back in 1998, the Singled Out host and former Playmate, claimed that Seagal asked her to take her dress off while she was auditioning for apart in one of his movies.
The actress and model went in to audition for a role in the 1995 film, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (the same film Katherine Heigl was in) and was surprised when the actor allegedly asked her to take off her clothes. Steven Seagal said that the alleged audition never happened.