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Brigitte Nielsen

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Brigitte Nielsen (born 15 July 1963) is a Danish model, actress, musician and reality television personality who began her career modelling for Greg Gorman and Helmut Newton and several years later made appearances in the 1985 films Red Sonja and Rocky IV and is also known for her marriage to Sylvester Stallone. She subsequently appeared with him in the 1986 film Cobra, and was noted for her widely publicized breakup with Stallone in 1987, and her relationship with New York Jets Mark Gastineau in 1988.

Her exploits were well-covered in the entertainment media in the 1980s, and the world press started referring to her as an "Amazon"[1][2][3] because of her tall stature (verified by the Guinness Book of World Records at six feet, or 1.82 meters).[4] She first commented on her stature and used the term "Amazonian" to describe herself in 1985.[5]

She later built a career appearing in B-movies, and in the 2000s, for appearing on reality shows such as The Surreal Life, on which she met and began a relationship with rapper Flavor Flav. In 2008, she appeared on the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which depicted her and several other celebrities dealing with recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Early life

Nielsen was born Gitte Nielsen in Rødovre, a suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark, the daughter of Hanne, a librarian, and Svend Nielsen, an engineer.[6] She has a brother, Jan.


At the beginning of the 1980s, Nielsen did some modeling work, and was photographed by Greg Gorman[7] and Helmut Newton.[8]

In 1985, Nielsen began her acting career in Red Sonja alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the same year, she met and married Sylvester Stallone; the couple acted in two movies together (Rocky IV and Cobra) before divorcing in 1987. Their marriage and divorce were both highly publicized by the tabloid press.[9][10][11] She posed for Playboy magazine multiple times, garnering the cover in December 1987.[12][13]

Nielsen started a music career in 1987. She released her debut album Every Body Tells a Story (a Top 30 hit in Italy) in that year and recorded a duet with Austrian pop star Falco, Giorgio Moroder's penned "Body Next to Body" which went to #22 in Germany and #6 in Austria.[14] In 1990, she recorded a single called "Rockin' Like a Radio". She released a follow-up album, I'm the One... Nobody Else, in 1991. In 2000, she recorded the dance track "No More Turning Back" under the pseudonym of Gitta and reached #1 in Spain and topped several other European dance charts. Other tracks recorded as Gitta were 2001's "Tic Toc" and 2002's "You're No Lady", a collaboration with Ru Paul.[citation needed]

220px-LiveSheHulk.jpg magnify-clip.pngNielsen as She-Hulk.In the late 1980s, Marvel Comics approached Nielsen to pose for photographs dressed as the comic book character She-Hulk.[15] The photos did not produce a large amount of investors in the potential film and Marvel was forced to scrap the project. Subsequently, she starred in Beverly Hills Cop II, Galaxys and The Double 0 Kid and some European movies.[citation needed]

In 1989, she appeared in Michael Jackson's "Liberian Girl" music video and in the 1990s, she hosted an English language talk show that was broadcast across Europe.[citation needed] In 2000, she appeared in heavy metal band Korn's music video for the single "Make Me Bad".

She has worked for Italian television hosting hit shows such as: Festival (1987), the 1992 edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, Retromarsh! (1996–1997), and ..la sai l'ultima? (1999); starring in the TV movie Fantaghirò 2 and its sequels (1992–1996); and guest starring in the Rai Tre's soap opera Un posto al sole (2000). In 1997 she hosted a talk show series called Gittes venner for a Danish TV network and some TV shows for RTSI, the Swiss television in the Italian language.

On 28 August 2008, German record label Edel Music re-released her 1991 album I'm the One... Nobody Else and the 1987 Every Body Tells a Story under the title Brigitte Nielsen.[16]

On 27 October 2009, she published her first auto-biography in Scandinavia titled: "Gitte Nielsen – Du har kun ét liv – sådan fandt jeg tilbage til mig selv" (translation: "You only have one life – this is how I found myself again.").[17] The book reached the Top5 of Denamark's bestseller list.[18] The book has been eventually released in the UK under the title You only get one life by John Blake Publishing in May 2011.[19]

In April 2011, she attended the British variety/talent show Sing If You Can, which aired on ITV.[20]

In November 2010, she guest starred for one episode in the German tv series SOKO: Stuttgart, aired by ZDF on 28 March 2011.[21]

She guest-hosted the British chat show Loose Women on 7 December 2010, and voice acted for the Danish animated comedy film Ronal barbaren.[22]

Reality TV

Nielsen appeared on the first season of the Italian version of The Mole (2004) and on the third season of the VH1 reality show The Surreal Life (2004). In the show, Nielsen was seen flirting with Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav, and it was confirmed that they were a couple, even though she was still legally married to her fourth husband, Swiss Formula Three driver Raoul Meyer. The show was such a success that VH1 produced a spin-off reality show called Strange Love, which began airing on the channel on 9 January 2005. Nielsen also appeared with Flav on VH1's Big in '04 Awards. In 2006, she guest-starred on Flav's other reality show, Flavor of Love.

In 2003, Nielsen appeared in the Danish Big Brother VIP. In January 2005, she was a contestant in the British version of Celebrity Big Brother, along with her former mother-in-law, Jackie Stallone. Nielsen came third in the final public vote. In 2006, she appeared in another reality TV series, VH1's The Surreal Life: Fame Game. In March 2007, she starred in a new British documentary called Killing Brigitte Nielsen, which aired on Sky Travel. She also appeared in the first season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which chronicled her struggle to overcome her alcoholism at the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, California. The series premiered in January 2008 on VH1 and in July 2009 on United Kingdom's Fiver.

In May 2008, she revealed on German television that she would "renew" her body by having six plastic surgeries (which would cost €66,000 altogether). Nielsen was filmed during those surgeries by RTL and she had her own television show "Aus alt mach neu – Brigitte Nielsen in der Promi-Beauty-Klinik"(Make do and mend – Brigitte Nielsen in the celebrity beauty hospital). The same show was broadcast under the title Celebrity Makeover: Brigitte Nielsen on SKY Italia in Italy in December 2008 and in 2009 on Italia 1.[23]

In 2009, Nielsen and other alumni of Celebrity Rehab appeared as panel speakers to a new group of addicts at the Pasadena Recovery Center, anticipating the two-year mark of her sobriety that coming July. Her appearance was aired in the third season episode "Triggers", which aired in February 2010.[24]

In January 2010, Nielsen appeared as one of the celebrity contestants of the French reality show TF1's La Ferme Célébrités, the French version of the TV series The Farm. She was eliminated after one week, mainly due to her lack of fluency in French and subsequent difficulties to interact with the other contestants.[25][26]

Nielsen was one of the celebrity contestants of 2010's Let's Dance, the German version of Dancing with the Stars.[27] In 2010, she also took part of Celebrity Come Dine With Me in Denmark (Til middag hos... ),[28] and in Germany (Das Perfekte Promi Dinner).

Personal life

Family and relationships

Nielsen has been married five times and has mothered four sons:

She has a son Julian Winding (born in 1984) with first husband Kasper Winding who she was married to from 1983-1984.[citation needed]

230px-SilvesterStalloneBrigiteNielsen.jpg magnify-clip.pngBrigitte Nielsen with Sylvester Stallone, Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the White House, 1985Nielsen married actor Sylvester Stallone, on 15 December 1985, in Beverly Hills, California. Stallone and Nielsen's marriage lasted two years and their subsequent divorce was highly publicized by the tabloid press.[30][31][32]

Her second son, Killian Marcus Nielsen (born in 1989) she had with ex-fiance Mark Gastineau

Nielson has two sons with fourth husband Raoul Meyer, Douglas Aaron (born in 1993) and Raoul, Jr. (born in 1995).[citation needed]

In 2005, Nielsen had a highly-profiled relationship with rapper, Flavor Flav. The relationship was filmed on their reality show Strange Love.[citation needed]

Her current husband, Mattia Dessi, lived with her in Italy, as shown on Strange Love, which was filmed prior to their marriage. They live in Palm Springs.[33]

In the aftermath of Arnold Schwarzenegger's infidelity scandal, Nielsen came forward and confessed that she too had an affair with Schwarzenegger while he was in a relationship with Maria Shriver,[34] saying, "Maybe I wouldn't have got into it if he said 'I'm going to marry Maria' and this is dead serious, but he didn't, and our affair carried on."[34]

Alcohol problems

On 9 July 2007, Nielsen checked herself into the Cri-Help rehabilitation facility in North Hollywood following what some reports claim was a family intervention.[35] Her manager, Steven Tempone, confirmed on 19 July 2007 that she had checked into rehabilitation and told the Associated Press "All I know is it's something she did of her own free will and we're proud of her and wish her very well...When she gets out we'll have a big birthday party, and Coca-Cola only".[36]

As of 22 July 2007, Nielsen was out of rehabilitation to attend the Comedy Central roast of Flavor Flav. She told People that she felt "like a new-born person ... I made a choice about a new life. It's not been easy but it was definitely time." While People does not report the date that Nielsen checked into rehabilitation, they state that she "had been in treatment for a few weeks".[37] On 10 January 2008, VH1 began airing the reality TV series, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Nielsen appeared on the show for alcoholism.[38]

In a January 2010 TV Guide story on her success with sobriety, Celebrity Rehab producer John Irwin stated, "She's sober, and she quit smoking. She's doing crazy good."[33]

Plastic surgery

In mid-2008, Nielsen starred in the reality show Aus alt mach neu, broadcasted by the German TV-station RTL. The theme of the show was Nielsen's attempt to look "as young as her husband" by undergoing plastic surgery. The show was aired in Italy as well, on SKY Italia during December 2008[39] and the following summer on Italia 1.[40]


Besides her native Danish, Nielsen is fluent in English, Italian and German,[41] and some understanding of French

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  • "Body Next to Body" – Falco meets Brigitte Nielsen; 1987; (#6 Austria, #22 Germany, #1 Japan)
  • "Every Body Tells a Story"; 1987; (#38 Italy; #15 Germany)
  • "Maybe"; 1988
  • "Siento"; 1988 (South America only)
  • "It's a Strange Love"; 1988
  • "Rockin' Like a Radio"; 1990
  • "My Girl (My Guy)"; 1991
  • "How Could You Let Me Go?"; 1992
  • "No More Turning Back" (as Gitta); 2000; released by Jive; (#1 Spain, #1 Eurodance chart; #64 Netherlands)
  • "Tic Toc" (as Gitta); 2001; released by Blanco y Negro
  • "You're No Lady" (as Gitta with Ru Paul); 2002; released by Do it Yourself; (#1 Spain)

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