Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin had just celebrated their twenty-five years of marriage, but she is filing for divorce. A real disaster movie.
“I have a story to tell you that I have never told, but which shows how adversity can be overcome. This August 23, on Instagram, Sylvester Stallone shows his fans the pair of white trainers he treasures in his dressing room. He wore them on the set of “Rocky Balboa” in 2006. The left shoe is gaping. She was severed with a cutter to free his foot after a scene in the ring during which he broke two toes. Moral of the story: “When you suffer, it’s sometimes a good sign; it’s when everything is too easy, in general, that we end up doing mediocre things”, he concludes, enigmatic.
It is only the next day that we will understand the true meaning of this “morality”: an American magazine reveals that Jennifer Flavin files for divorce . The official request was registered on August 19 in court in Palm Beach, Florida, where the couple have lived for almost two years. Jennifer is represented by two lawyers. Sly doesn’t even have one. At 76, Rocky is on the mat. And he suffers.
This time, he did not really see it coming. On July 30, the Stallones still celebrated the birthday of Frank, the younger brother, in Los Angeles. The whole clan was reunited, smiling… These months, Sly was filming a reality TV series about his family life: nine episodes were already in the box, there was only a tenth left to make. For nearly three decades, Sly and Jennifer had passed for a united, “Italian” couple, fusion, with its ups, downs and rants. Sistine and Sophia, two of the three daughters Jennifer gave her, had created a podcast, “Unwaxed,” where they spilled the secrets of their family life.
“You’re lucky to have a dad like him,” Jennifer told them in April 2021. According to her, Sly was a husband who didn’t take himself seriously. He was, on a daily basis, “to die of laughter”. Humor would even have been the cement of their relationship… “We both love being stupid”, she confided. Sylvester said he was just as pleased. His wife was “fantastic, sometimes a little on, but in a good way”. “If she left me, he said, it would be collective suicide for me, because I have multiple personalities. »
So what happened? When Sly met Jennifer in 1988, he was already an international star. Aged 42, he had all the women he wanted, and there are many. He is just recovering from his stormy divorce with the volcanic Brigitte Nielsen, his second wife, with whom he was married for a year and a half. Jennifer is the opposite: she moves him with her gentleness and vulnerability. “It looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a car,” he would say later.
Jennifer did not see herself growing old alone with an intrusive, whimsical Stallone
At 19, she comes out of a difficult childhood. Born in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, the sixth in a family of seven children, she lost her father, a post office worker, at the age of 11. Sharing her two sisters’ room, she accumulated babysitting to have enough to eat: Shirley, her mother, who had never worked before the heart attack that killed her husband, became an alcoholic. Harassed by her classmates, Jennifer landed the unenviable title of “most naive girl” in high school.
As she is also very pretty, she became a model: a single photo shoot is enough to pay her rent. And that’s how she meets Michael, a manager who took care of her for a photoshoot. He also knows Sly, with whom he offers him dinner at the restaurant. She who has never set foot in Hollywood obviously accepts the invitation but, out of caution, asks a friend, Kirstin, to accompany her. And here she is at Rocky’s table, in the middle of other girls just as pretty as her.
To go dancing, Stallone offers them to get into his limo; she is the only one to decline, preferring to follow him in his ramshackle Dodge. He adores. Once at the club, he invites her to sit at a table, face to face, provoking the jealousy of a rival. That evening, Jennifer returns home accompanied by her friend Kirstin. The first meeting will take place a little later, during a horseback ride. Rocky already knows that she is the woman of his life. It takes her six months to think the same thing… The fairy tale begins.
She accuses him of squandering their fortune and wants the Palm Beach property
Living with a superstar has its perks: The couple move into Sly’s $8 million home in Benedict Canyon. On weekends, they escape to his villa in Malibu. Their personalities match perfectly. Always punctual, even ahead of time, she defines herself as a “type A personality”, that is to say ultra-organized – a habit she inherits from her childhood, whereas “he is quite the opposite “. She doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs, prepares his breakfasts with his favorite cookies and reminds him of his appointments, which he tends to forget. She begins to think baby and sweeps away the recurring rumors of infidelity. “I’m not so naive as not to imagine what can happen when I’m not there, she declared in 1992. But, week after week, we spend five days out of seven together: how would we find it time to cheat me? »
His world collapsed when, on March 14, 1994, a Federal Express postman rang at his door: he brought him a six-page letter signed by Sylvester Stallone, telling him… that it was over between them. A few days later, his agent reveals to him the affair of the star with a photographer and model, Janice Dickinson, who has just given birth to a baby whom he believes to be the father. When a paternity test proves that the child is from someone else, he will immediately break off to embark on a frenzy of conquests. He then got engaged to another top model, Angie Everhart, to return in the summer of 1995 to Jennifer, who was just waiting for that. Reconciliation, birth of their eldest, Sophia, in 1996, then marriage in 1997, with great fanfare, in a London chapel, followed by a party at Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s birthplace…
Two more daughters are born. Surrounded by his women, Sly feels happy and peaceful. Jennifer juggles between her professional occupations as a businesswoman: founder of a cosmetics brand, she does teleshopping and spends up to seven hours a day on the air while assuming her responsibilities as a mother, obsessed with the idea of giving her three daughters the childhood of which she was deprived. In mid-May, the couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on Instagram: “Our marriage just keeps getting better, writes Jennifer. I love you so! We will spend our next twenty-five years together…”. Post deleted since. It was three months ago, in other words an eternity.
Behind these fiery statements was actually hiding a malaise. In her divorce petition, where she indicates that she wants her maiden name back, Jennifer accuses Sly of squandering the family fortune. The Stallones recently moved to Palm Beach, where he has ties. Was it the sale of the Los Angeles house that set things on fire? This one, put at a price of 110 million dollars, was finally acquired 58 million by the singer Adele, a price certainly exorbitant but considered derisory by the experts of luxury real estate, taking into account the surface and the splendor of the premises.
In the past, he cheated on her with models. Today he fell in love with a rottweiler
Stallone, whose fortune is estimated at 400 million dollars, has never been very sharing. Jennifer affirmed last year that since always, in her couple, “everyone lives his life financially and pays his taxes on his side”. She then swore that she was “not going to start asking him for money now”. She is now claiming exclusive ownership of the Palm Beach mansion, a tropical gem valued at $35 million which she has just finished decorating.
What made him change his mind? The girls have grown up, and Jennifer, who admits to being “terrified” by the empty nest syndrome, would not see herself living alone with an aging, intrusive Rocky and, above all, increasingly prey to whims. In the past, he cheated on her with models. Today, he fell in love with a Rottweiler he named Dwight, in honor of the character he plays in “Tulsa King”, the series he is filming. She didn’t want it at any price. He ignored it. He loves dogs so much that he actually got a tattoo of Butkus’s head – his trusty bullmastiff from the Rocky years – on his shoulder, where his wife’s once was.
On August 10, lying on his bed, curled up in white sheets, Stallone appeared on Instagram with Dwight by his side, the Rottweiler of discord. “You know, it’s nice to be able to sleep with someone who doesn’t snore, who doesn’t move and who doesn’t lose too much hair,” he laughs at his joke. Nice way to announce that the time of the fairy tale was already over.