celebrity

Blacklisted from Hollywood and a new dad at 70: Inside Richard Gere’s private life.

From Runaway Bride to Chicago, Richard Gere has graced our screens for almost two decades as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

After working alongside Julia Roberts in cult classic rom-com Pretty Woman, Gere was further catapulted into fame, cementing his role as the industry’s leading heartthrob throughout the 80s and 90s.

But shortly after, the now 70-year-old actor began slipping from the spotlight.

In 2020, it’s been 12 years since Gere starred in a major Hollywood blockbuster, the last of which was 2008 film Nights In Rodanthe.

And according to Gere, there’s one reason behind it: China.

The 70-year-old’s choice to speak out against human rights violations in China has seen him blacklisted from major Hollywood films and award ceremonies.

Back in the 1970s, Gere, who has been a practising Tibetan Buddhist since his twenties, travelled to Nepal to meet Tibetan monks. He even became friends with the Dalai Lama himself.

Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama. Image: Getty.

In the following years, Gere used his celebrity status to speak out against China's occupation of Tibet. During his presentation for the Best Art Director award at the 1993 Academy Awards, he publically condemned China's "horrendous, horrendous human rights situation".

His outburst saw him banned from future Oscar ceremonies.

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Ten years later, his hit musical film Chicago won six Oscars including Best Picture. While his co-stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, Renee Zellweger and John C. Reilly all landed nominations, Gere noticeable did not. And it understandably bothered him.

"The only time it really bothered me was in Chicago. Everyone else got nominated. I’m waiting for my name (to be read out in the nominations) and it goes right by me, like, ‘Wow, what happened?’ I have to admit, that got to me," he told US talk show The View in 2012.

But that didn't stop him from voicing her concerns about China. In 2008, he called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games and pressured China to allow Tibetans their independence.

His protests resulted in him being given a lifetime ban from visiting the country.

And that wasn't all. Over the years, Chinese investors and the country's huge financial influence in Hollywood have prevented the actor from landing a number of movie roles.

"There are definitely movies that I can't be in because the Chinese will say, 'Not with him,'" Gere told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017. "I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese."

"There was something I was going do with a Chinese director, and two weeks before we were going to shoot, he called saying, 'Sorry, I can't do it,'" he explained.

"We had a secret phone call on a protected line. If I had worked with this director, he, his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work."

But while he can't land roles in blockbuster movies, Gere has still been able to take on smaller independent projects.

"I was successful enough in the last three decades that I can afford to do these [smaller films] now," he told The Hollywood Reporter. 

In 2017, the Pretty Woman star appeared in two small-budget films Norman and The Dinner and in 2019 he landed his first major TV role on the BBC show MotherFatherSon. 

Outside of acting, Gere has kept himself busy as a father to three children.

He made headlines earlier this year when he welcomed his son with wife Alejandra Silva at the age of 70.

Gere and his 37-year-old wife, who he already shares one-year-old son Alexander with, announced the news on April 23.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

¡Soy muy feliz! ❤️ ... I’m so happy! #happygirl

A post shared by Alejandra Gere (@alejandragere) on

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He also shares a 20-year-old son named Homer from his second marriage to Carey Lowell.

Gere first met Silva, who is 33 years his junior, when she was a girl as he was a friend of the family. They later connected in 2014 at a hotel in Italy that she was managing and after dating for four years the pair tied the knot in April 2018.

"Love stories with a complicated beginning, where you have to overcome difficulties together, can bring you closer... I'm sure I did [have some doubts] at some point. In the beginning, he was more convinced than me. But from very early on, we felt that we were destined to be together," Silva told Hello Magazine in 2019.

Just last month, the couple celebrated their two year marriage anniversary.

"Today is the day I married the most wonderful man I have ever met, I know it sounds cliché but it’s true!! Comes from my heart, I’m so proud to be with you, to share this life with you, to be the mother of our children, to be your friend, to be your Wife!" the Spanish activist wrote on Instagram.

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Before tying the knot with Silva, Gere was married to his second wife Carey Lowell. They split in 2013 after 11 years of marriage. Prior to Lowell, Gere was married to supermodel Cindy Crawford for four years between 1991-1995.

Looking back, the supermodel said the couple's age gap played a big part in their divorce.

"I think a lot of what happened with Richard and I was, I was still 22 and at 22 - as a young woman - I was kind of still figuring out who I was and what I wanted to be and he was already 37," she said in an episode of Oprah's Master Class.

Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford
Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford in 1991. Image: Getty.
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"I think part of the problem in our relationship was that we were a lot of other things but I don't know if we were ever friends - like peers, because I was young, and he was Richard Gere. And then, as I started kind of growing up and growing into myself - it's hard to change the nature of a relationship once you're already in it," she also told Marc Maron on his WTF podcast.

After a string of romances with actresses Penelope Milford, Priscilla Presley and Kim Basinger, Gere eventually found happiness with his current wife and three sons.

"I have found the quiet, happy life that I had always sought," he told Hola!

Feature Image: Getty.


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