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Brigitte Nielsen (Danish pronunciation: [pʁiketə ˈnelsn̩]; born Gitte Nielsen; 15 July 1963) is a Danish actress, model, singer and reality television personality who began her career modeling for Greg Gorman and Helmut Newton and several years later acted in the 1985 films Red Sonja and Rocky IV, later returning to Rocky series in Creed II (2018). She is also known for her marriage to Sylvester Stallone, with whom she starred in the 1986 film Cobra. She played Karla Fry in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) and the Black Witch in the 1990s Italian film series Fantaghiro. She later built a career starring in B-movies, hosting TV shows, and appearing on reality shows.

Brigitte Nielsen
Brigitte Nielsen.jpg
Brigitte Nielsen at London Fashion Week in September 2010
Born
Gitte Nielsen

(1963-07-15) 15 July 1963 (age 55)
Rødovre, Denmark
OccupationActress, model, singer
Years active1984–present
Spouse(s)
Kasper Winding (m. 1983–1984)

Sylvester Stallone (m. 1985–1987)

Sebastian Copeland (m. 1990–1992)

Raoul Meyer (m. 1993–2005)

Mattia Dessì (m. 2006)
Partner(s)Mark Gastineau (1988–1990)
Flavor Flav (2005)
Children5

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Brigitte Nielsen was born Gitte Nielsen in Rødovre, a suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is the daughter of Hanne, a librarian, and Svend Nielsen, an engineer,[1] and the ex-sister-in-law of Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn.

CareerEdit

ModelingEdit

Standing 1.85 m (6'1"), at the beginning of the 1980s, Nielsen did some modeling work, and was photographed by Greg Gorman[2] and Helmut Newton.[3] Nielsen posed for Playboy magazine multiple times, garnering the cover in December 1987.[4][5] In the late 1980s, Marvel Comics approached Nielsen to pose for photographs dressed as the comic book character She-Hulk.[6] Nielsen's exploits were well-covered in the entertainment media in the 1980s, and the world press started referring to her as an "Amazon"[7][8][9] because of her tall stature.

ActingEdit

In 1985, Nielsen began her acting career in the fantasy film Red Sonja alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. That same year, she married Sylvester Stallone; the couple acted in two films together (Rocky IV and Cobra) before divorcing in 1987.

In 1987, Nielsen played Karla Fry in the film Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), alongside Eddie Murphy. Subsequently, she starred in 976-Evil II, The Double 0 Kid (1992), Chained Heat II (1993), Galaxis (1995), and Snowboard Academy (1996). She starred as the villainess of the Italian TV fantasy film Fantaghirò 2[10] and its sequels (1992–1996); her character was supposed to be killed off in the first of these films, but was then brought back due to popular demand.[11]

In 2011, Nielsen voice acted for the Danish animated comedy film Ronal the Barbarian.[12] In 2012, she played in the horror movie Eldorado. In 2013, she has featured in the short art film The Key alongside Ray Stevenson. In 2014, she starred in the science-fiction film Exodus,[13] in the TV series Raising Hope, and in the action film Mercenaries. In 2017, she joined the cast of TV series Adi Shankar's Gods and Secrets. In 2018, she reprised her role of Ludmilla Drago from Rocky IV in Creed II.

Music and writingEdit

Nielsen started a music career in 1987. She released her debut album Every Body Tells a Story in that year and recorded a duet with Austrian pop star Falco, Giorgio Moroder's penned "Body Next to Body" which went to No. 22 in Germany and No. 6 in Austria.[14] She released a follow-up album, I'm the One... Nobody Else, in 1991.

Nielsen released a few songs under the pseudonym "Gitta" because producers wanted to see if she could succeed as a singer without her name on the cover. The first song "No More Turning Back" peaked at No. 54 on the British Single Charts,[15] No. 63 on the Dutch Single Charts[16] and even reached the Top 10 in Spain.[17] Other tracks recorded as Gitta were 2001's "Tic Toc" and 2002's "You're No Lady", a collaboration with Ru Paul.

Nielsen appeared in Michael Jackson's "Liberian Girl" music video in 1989 and in metal band Korn's music video for the single "Make Me Bad" in 2000. In 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.[18] In 2012, she performed (as Gitte Nielsen) on the song "Misery" with Spleen United, from the album School of Euphoria.

In 2009, she published her first autobiography in Scandinavia titled "Gitte Nielsen – Du har kun ét liv – sådan fandt jeg tilbage til mig selv" ("You only have one life – this is how I found myself again").[19] The book reached the Top5 of Denmark's bestseller list[20] and was released in the United Kingdom under the title You Only Get One Life in 2011.[21]

TelevisionEdit

Nielsen has worked for Italian television, hosting shows such as: Festival (1987), the 1992 edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, Retromarsh! (1996–1997), and ..la sai l'ultima? (1999). In 1997, she hosted a talk show series Gittes venner for a Danish TV network and some TV shows for RTSI, the Italian language Swiss television network.[22] She guest starred for an episode of the German TV series SOKO: Stuttgart, aired by ZDF on 28 March 2011,[23] guest-hosted the British chat show Loose Women on 7 December 2010. In April 2011, she attended the British variety/talent show Sing If You Can, which aired on ITV.[24]

Nielsen appeared on the first season of the Italian production of The Mole (2004) and on the third season of the VH1 reality show The Surreal Life (2004). Nielsen also appeared with Flav on VH1's Big in '04 Awards.[25] 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 Britain's Celebrity Big Brother, along with her former mother-in-law, Jackie Stallone, coming third in the final public vote. In 2006, she appeared in another reality TV series, VH1's The Surreal Life: Fame Games. In 2007, she starred in a new British mockumentary Killing Brigitte Nielsen, which aired on Sky Travel.[26] 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.[27]

In May 2008, Nielsen revealed on German television that she would "renew" her body by having six plastic surgeries, which would cost €66,000 altogether. She 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. The same show was broadcast twice in Italy: at first under the title Celebrity Makeover: Brigitte Nielsen on SKY Italia in 2008 and secondly in 2009 on Italia 1.[28] In 2009, Nielsen appeared as a panel speaker 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.[29]

In 2010, Nielsen appeared as one of the celebrity contestants of TF1 reality show 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.[30][31] Nielsen was one of the celebrity contestants of 2010's Let's Dance, the German version of Dancing with the Stars.[32] That same year, she also took part of Celebrity Come Dine With Me in Denmark (Til middag hos... ),[33] and in Germany (Das Perfekte Promi Dinner).[34]

From 13 January 2012 Nielsen was one of the celebrity contestants and winner of Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus!, the German version of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, broadcast by RTL Television.[35] On 28 January 2012 she won the show as the "Jungle Queen". Bildzeitung revealed on 30 January 2012 that Nielsen had received the most calls from TV viewers throughout the entire show, ranking No.1 with 30 – 50% of all call-ins.[36] Nielsen was paid 150.000 Euro (approx. $163,000) for participating in the show, more than any other celebrity.[37] In October 2012, Nielsen was featured in the Danish version of Maestro broadcast on DR1 in which celebrities competed for the chance to conduct a classical orchestra. In September 2013, she joined the cast of the German TV show Promi-Hochzeitsplanern (Celebrity Wedding planners) for Sat.1. The following year, she joined the panel of the German TV show Promi Shopping Queen for VOX.

From June 2015, she has hosted her own talk show "Gitte Talks" on the Danish TV Channel Kanal 4.[38] From August 2016, she has also presented the dating show "Wirt sucht Liebe" ("Is Looking for Love") for the German TV channel RTL II.[39]

Personal lifeEdit

Besides her native Danish, Nielsen is fluent in Norwegian, Swedish, English, German and Italian,[40] and has some understanding of French.[31]

Family and relationshipsEdit

 
Brigitte Nielsen with Sylvester Stallone, Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the White House, 1985

Nielsen has been married five times and has four sons and one daughter. Her first husband was Kasper Winding, to whom she was married in 1983–84.[41] They have a son, Julian Winding (born in 1984).

Nielsen married actor Sylvester Stallone on December 15, 1985 at the Beverly Hills, California home of producer Irwin Winkler.[42] Stallone and Nielsen's marriage lasted 19 months, with their divorce finalized in July 1987.[43] Their marriage and divorce were both highly publicised by the tabloid press.[44][45][46] They had no children. Her second child, Killian Marcus Gastineau (born in 1989), was fathered by her ex-fiancé Mark Gastineau.

Between 1990 and 1992, she was married to director and photographer Sebastian Copeland (Orlando Bloom's cousin). They had no children. Nielsen has two sons with fourth husband Raoul Meyer, Douglas Aaron (born in April 1993) and Raoul, Jr. (born in May 1995).[47]

During a 2012 interview on the German reality TV show Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus!, she confessed to having had a one-night stand with Sean Penn in Cannes back in the early 1990s.[48] In 2005, she had a highly publicized relationship with rapper Flavor Flav. In the aftermath of Arnold Schwarzenegger's infidelity scandal, Nielsen confessed that she also had an affair with him while he was in a relationship with Maria Shriver.[49]

Her current husband, Mattia Dessì (born on October 22, 1978), lived with her in Italy as shown on Strange Love, which was filmed prior to their marriage. The couple got married in Malta on July 8, 2006.[50] As of 2010, they live in Palm Springs, USA.[51] On 28 May 2018, Brigitte Nielsen announced that she was pregnant with her fifth child.[52] In June, she gave birth to a daughter, Frida.[53]

Alcohol problemsEdit

On July 9, 2007, Nielsen checked herself into the Cri-Help rehabilitation facility in North Hollywood following what some reports claim was a family intervention.[54] Her manager, Steven Tempone, confirmed on 19 July 2007 that she had checked into a rehabilitation center and said, "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."[55] As of 22 July 2007, Nielsen was out of rehabilitation to attend the Comedy Central roast of Flavor Flav. She remarked 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 the date that Nielsen checked into rehabilitation was reported, she "had been in treatment for a few weeks."[56] On January 10, 2008, VH1 began airing the reality TV series, Celebrity Rehab. Nielsen appeared on the show for alcoholism.[57] 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."[51]

Plastic surgeryEdit

In mid-2008, Nielsen starred in the reality show Aus alt mach neu, broadcast 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[58] and the following summer on Italia 1.[59]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1985 Red Sonja Red Sonja
1985 Rocky IV Ludmilla Drago
1986 Cobra Ingrid Knudsen
1987 Beverly Hills Cop II Karla Fry
1988 Bye Bye Baby Lisa
1988 Domino Domino
1989 Murder by Moonlight Maggie Bartok
1992 976-Evil II Agnes
1992 The Double 0 Kid Rhonda
1992 Mission of Justice Dr. Rachel K. Larkin
1992 Fantaghirò 2 Black Witch (Black Queen)
1993 Fantaghirò 3 Black Witch
1993 Chained Heat II Magda Kassar
1994 Fantaghirò 4 Black Witch
1995 Compelling Evidence Michelle Stone
1995 Body Count Sybil
1995 Galaxis Ladera
1996 Fantaghirò 5 Black Witch
1996 Snowboard Academy Mimi
1998 Paparazzi Gitte
1999 She's Too Tall Veronica Lamar
2000 Hostile Environment Minna
2000 Doomsdayer Elizabeth Gast
2008 The Hustle Rich lady
2009 The Fish Herself
2010 Big Money Rustlas Wife
2011 Ronal the Barbarian Amazon Queen Voice
2012 Eldorado Angel
2013 The Key Short film
2014 Mercenaries Ulrika
2015 Exodus[13] Mother
2018 Experience Ezilda
2018 Creed II Ludmilla Drago

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1992 Counterstrike Monica Steile Episode: "Bastille Day Terror"
2000 Un posto al sole Gitte 2 episodes
2009 Nite Tales: The Series Mona Episode: "Black Widow"
2011 SOKO 5113 Gina Wartenberg Episode: "Stuttgart ist sexy"
2014 Raising Hope Svetlana Episode: "Road to the Natesville"
2015 Portlandia[60] Herself Episode: "Healthcare"
2015– Gitte Talks Host Danish TV-show (kanal4)
2017– Adi Shankar's Gods and Secrets[61]

DiscographyEdit

AlbumsEdit

SinglesEdit

  • "Body Next to Body" – Falco meets Brigitte Nielsen; 1987; (No. 6 Austria, No. 22 Germany, No. 1 Japan)
  • "Every Body Tells a Story"; 1987; (No. 38 Italy; No. 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
  • "Work That Body"; 1993
  • "No More Turning Back" (as Gitta); 2000; released by Jive; (No. 1 Spain, No. 1 Eurodance chart; No. 64 Netherlands, No. 54 UK)
  • "Everybody's Turning Back" (as Gitta vs. Rozalla)
  • "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; (No. 1 Spain)
  • "Misery" (as Gitte Nielsen with Spleen United); 2012

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit