AKA Gitte Nielsen
Birthplace: Helsing°r, Denmark
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Matter of Dispute
Occupation: Actor, Singer
Executive summary: Red Sonja
Sometimes called "The Great Dane", Brigitte Nielsen is a buxom Danish actress best known for her romantic entanglements, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Mark Gastineau.
By her teens, teachers, students, and strangers could not keep their eyes off her, so Nielsen dropped out of school at 16 and moved to continental Europe to pursue a modeling career. Soon married and then a mother, she left her first husband and infant son to come to America to pursue a career as an actress. Her film debut was Red Sonja with Schwarzenegger, with whom she reportedly had a torrid affair, capped off when the smitten Austrian took Nielsen home to meet his mother. The couple parted ways when Schwarzenegger's other girlfriend and future wife, Maria Shriver, told him to decide between her and Nielsen.
Legend has it that Nielsen met Stallone, her second and most famous husband, by sending a nude photograph of herself to the star's hotel room. Soon she was playing a Russian drone in his Rocky IV. They married in December 1985. She says that he was so obsessed with her that he had her likeness carved into the furniture in their mansion, but their marriage lasted a short 18 months. Nielsen left amid rumors (denied by her) over an alleged lesbian affair with her female secretary.
Nielsen worked in movies throughout the 1980s, as her height and bleached crew-cut gave her a popular dominatrix vibe. She recorded an album of dance music, Every Body Tells A Story, and sang the pop duet "Body Next To Body" with Austrian singer Falco. During the '90s Neilsen continued acting, albeit in lesser and lesser films, and she hosted a talk show in her native Denmark. She has not worked as an actress since 2000's Doomsdayer co-starring Udo Kier, but she has extended her celebrity by participating in Danish and British editions of Celebrity Big Brother, and the American equivalent, UPN's The Surreal Life.
Neilsen's former mother-in-law, Jackie Stallone, was also a participant on the British Celebrity Big Brother. She had seen Nielsen as a golddigger when she married her son, but the two reconciled to an extent. Nielsen famously went topless on the show, and has said "I do expose my body, but only because I think people should have something nice to look at." During her stint on America's Surreal Life, Nielsen spent most of the series drinking and smoking cigars. Jordan Knight reported that she made a pass at him, saying "I never knew whether she was going to drop-kick me or molest me." She hooked up with rapper Flavor Flav, but denied during the show that they'd had sex.
Their romance so captivated audiences' hearts that Nielsen and Flav were given their own reality show, Strange Love, on VH1. Cameras followed them from Italy to the Bronx as viewers wondered whether Nielsen would stay with "Fuffy-Fuffy" (as she called Flav) or return to her much younger Italian fiancÚ, bartender Mattia Dessi. In February 2005, Neilsen credited Flav with saving her life, when he dialed 911 as she suffered a severe morning asthma attack. The following month, she "married" Dessi in a sham ceremony that was generally seen as a publicity stunt. Her divorce from her fourth husband, race-car driver Raoul Meyer, became official several weeks later.
In late 2004 Nielsen was photographed groping Anna Nicole Smith at a VH1 event. Some viewers speculated that she was comparing the tactile consistency of Smith's implants to her own.
In April 2005, Nielsen appeared on the British chat show The Joan Rivers Position. Joan Rivers questioned Nielsen about her many marriages and about alleged drug addiction, prompting Nielsen to walk off the set, return, storm off again, and return once more. The show culminated with Rivers calling Nielsen a "cunt" and Nielsen unleashing a torrent of Italian curses.
Father: Svend Nielsen (engineer, d. 1999)
Mother: Hanne Nielsen (retired librarian)
Brother: Jan Nielsen (b. 1965)
Boyfriend: Kasper Winding (Danish composer, m. 1983, div. Apr-1985, one son)
Son: Julian (b. 1984)
Boyfriend: Arnold Schwarzenegger (bodybuilder-actor, together 1984-85)
Husband: Sylvester Stallone (actor, m. 15-Dec-1985, div. 13-Jul-1987)
Boyfriend: Mark Gastineau (US football player, together 1988-90, broken engagement, one son)
Son: Killian Marcus Gastineau (b. 1989)
Husband: Sebastian Copeland (Orlando Bloom's cousin, m. 1990, div. 1992)
Husband: Raoul Meyer (race-car driver, m. 17-Dec-1993, div. Apr-2005, two sons)
Son: Douglas Aaron (b. 20-Apr-1993)
Son: Raoul Jr. (b. 21-May-1995)
Boyfriend: Flavor Flav (rapper, together 2004-05)
Husband: Mattia Dessi (bartender, married while married to Meyer, Mar-2005, m. legally 8-Jul-2006)
Cri-Help, Inc. (Jul-2007)
Risk Factors: Smoking, Asthma, Alcoholism
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Herself (2008-10)
The Surreal Life Herself (2003-04)
Celebrity Big Brother Herself (Series 3, 2005)
Strange Love Herself (2005)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Hustle (5-Apr-2008) · Rich Woman
Hostile Environment (22-Mar-2000)
She's Too Tall (Feb-1998)
Snowboard Academy (16-Jul-1997) · Mimi
Michael Jackson: HIStory on Film - Volume II (1997) · Herself
Codename: Silencer (22-Apr-1995)
Compelling Evidence (1995)
Fantaghir˛ 3 (20-Dec-1993)
Chained Heat II (1993)
Fantaghir˛ 2 (20-Dec-1992)
Mission of Justice (2-Dec-1992)
The Double 0 Kid (1992)
976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor (1991)
Bye Bye Baby (Mar-1988)
Beverly Hills Cop II (20-May-1987) · Karla Fry
Cobra (23-May-1986) · Ingrid
Rocky IV (27-Nov-1985) · Ludmilla
Red Sonja (3-Jul-1985)
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