Gladys Portugues aka The Tigress

  • Real Name: Gladys Portugues
  • Nick Name: The Tigress
  • Birth Date: 30 September 1957
  • Age: 63 years old
  • Horoscope: Libra
  • Birth Place: Manhattan, New York, United States
  • Resident: New York City
  • Height: 5 feet 5 inches or 1.65m
  • Weight: 121 lb / 55 kg

Biography of the Tigress “Gladys Portugues”

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Let us discuss Gladys Portugues; who is an incredible bodybuilder, fitness model, actor, and author from the United States. She was a college student when she went on to become a prominent bodybuilder herself, appearing on the covers of various bodybuilding magazines. She has seen many ups and down in her life, but stood firm. Difficult times have helped her to understand better than before, how infidelity, rich and beautiful life is in every way. Gladys Portugues is also referred to as 'The Tigress.'

Early Life

Gladys Portugues was born in Manhattan, New York City, on September 30, 1957. Her childhood and early education are unknown. She did, however, attend Marymount Manhattan College in New York after graduating from high school to study English. She saw Rachel McLish, one of the pioneers of female bodybuilding in the United States, win the Ms. Olympia title on television one day. It completely altered her life. She began bodybuilding and weight training after being inspired by McLish.

Gladys Portugues bodybuilding Career

Gladys went on to study English at Marymount Manhattan College in New York after graduating from high school. Rachel McLish won one of her two Ms. Olympia crowns while she was still in college. That piqued her interest in bodybuilding right away. She was inspired by this and began a bodybuilding and weight training regimen, not only to stay fit but also to enter the business.

Gladys Portugues, in addition to being a bodybuilder, also dabbled in body fitness modeling. She competed in several Ms. Olympia competitions, finishing in the top ten times. She was one of the most recognized bodybuilders of the 1980s and appeared on the covers of several fitness magazines, including Muscle & Fitness, Strength Training, Muscle and Beauty, Hardbodies, and Muscle Mag.

Box Office

Portugues was notably featured in the 1985 documentary 'Pumping Iron II: The Women,' in which her idol, Rachel McLish, also appeared. In the 1993 action comedy 'Last Action Hero,' she played herself at a film premiere with her spouse.

Her debut film role was in 'The Morning After,' released in 1986. In the mystery romance starring Jane Fonda and Jeff Bridges, she played a bodybuilder. She played a waitress in her next picture, the 1987 thriller 'It's Alive III: Island of the Alive.' Since then, she has not appeared in any movie.

She and Joyce L. Vedral co-wrote the fitness book 'Hard Bodies in 1986. They published 'Hard Bodies Express Workout,' a book about a fitness regimen for busy women, in 1988.

Portugues has maintained the same rigorous personal fitness and bodybuilding attitude throughout her twenties. Despite having two children and the inevitable limits imposed by age, she works out alongside her husband and children.

Gladys Portugues Husband

Gladys Portugues and her husband, Jean-Claude Van Damme, have had an unusual love affair. She is three years older than Van Damme, who was born in 1960, but the two seem to always be pulled to remain together. While Gladys Portugues has only been married to one of the actors, Jean-Claude has been married to three different women over the years, with the bodybuilder being the fourth.

Van Damme's first wife was Maria Rodriguez, whom he married for four years from 1980 to 1984, and he subsequently married Cynthia Derderian for a year before the marriage dissolved in 1986. After this marriage, he met and married Gladys and Van in 1987. For the first time, the actor stayed in a marriage for more than 4 years before it fell apart in 1992 when he began an affair with Darcy LaPier, whom he married in 1994. The marriage lasted until 1997 when it dissolved again.

Van Damme and Gladys Portugues married for the second time two years after his first divorce in 1999. Although they separated briefly in 2015 and even filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences, the two found their way back and have remained together since then. 

Gladys Portugues Children

Portugues and Van Damme have two children: a girl named Bianca Bree, born in 1990, and a son named Kristopher Van Varenberg, born in 1987.

Kristopher (Kris), like his parents, is an actor who has appeared in films such as Universal Soldier (1992), The Quest (1996), Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), and Soldiers (2001). (2010). He is a producer, writer, and director in addition to being an actor. Bianca, unsurprisingly, followed in her family's footsteps and became an actress. She starred in the films Assassination Games (2011) and Welcome to the Jungle (2012). (2013). She appeared alongside her father and brother in both.

Although they are Gladys' only children, Van Damme has another son, Nicolas Van Varenberg, who was born in 1995 by his fourth wife, Darcy LaPier.


Gladys Portuguese tried out for the role of Athena in the post-apocalyptic science fiction film 'Robot Jox in 1990. Despite having the physical look of a genetically developed super soldier, she was passed over for the role, which eventually went to Anne-Marie Johnson.

What Awards Has Gladys Portugues Won?

Gladys Portugues is a well-known personality who won several competitions in the 1980s.

Gladys Portugues was also the female champion of the "Night of Champions." She has appeared on the covers of numerous magazines, including Muscle Training, Strength Training for Beauty, Muscle & Fitness, and Flex. She has also appeared in numerous beauty and fashion magazines.


“Sometimes the best things are right in front of you; it just takes some time to see them”

Gladys Portugues (born September 30, 1957) is a former professional female bodybuilder, fitness model, actor, and author from the United States. She placed in the top ten of the Ms. Olympia bodybuilding competition twice. She is married to Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, better known as Jean-Claude Van Damme, a Belgian actor, martial artist, and filmmaker. She grew interested in bodybuilding and weight training after watching Rachel McLish win the Ms. Olympia title on television. She was a college student at the time. She went on to become a prominent bodybuilder herself, appearing on the covers of various bodybuilding magazines. She was included in the documentary 'Pumping Iron II: The Women' in 1985. In the 1986 mystery romance 'The Morning After,' Portugues made her acting debut. She married Van Damme in 1987 and they had two children. They divorced in 1992 and remarried in 1999 after Van Damme had an affair. She filed for divorce again in 2015 but canceled the filing a few days later. Portugues is also referred to as 'The Tigress.'