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As the Russian-Ukrainian war continues, many industries have sanctioned Russia, including Hollywood.
Although Russia is not a top market for Hollywood, it was one of the top six box office markets in the world by revenue in 2021, according to Statista.
And over the years, celebrities have met Russian President Vladimir Putin while visiting the country for events, like professional fights and concerts.
Here’s a look at some celebrities who once dated or briefly met Putin.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Mickey Rourke recalled meeting Putin when Rourke had a “professional fight four years ago” in Russia.
“I had the best time of my life,” Rourke told Fox News Digital of his visit to the country. “People couldn’t have been nicer, more polite, more respectful. I actually went with Putin. He took us to a very famous museum in St. Petersburg.”
Rourke said he also visited a children’s cancer hospital.
“And we went over there and visited the really, really sick, little, tiny, tiny kids,” Rourke recalled. “And, you know, I watched him and I saw him and – no one’s going to want to hear that – but I saw a man with empathy and who was really moved by what these kids were going through. “
Now Rourke, who once wore a shirt with Putin’s face on it and would have spoken kindly of himself at the time, feels differently, calling what is happening in Ukraine “sort of a nightmare scenario”.
“So now there’s a whole other thing going on,” the former boxer said, noting that he was praying to God for Putin to end the war.
“When I pray at night, I pray, ‘Please God, … let him find something inside his soul to just say, ‘Okay, that’s it,’” said Rourke said.
Leonardo DiCaprio was previously pictured alongside Putin after they attended the International Tiger Conservation Forum at St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theater in 2010.
RUSSIAN INTERPRETERS TAKE A STAND AGAINST THE WAR IN UKRAINE
Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, DiCaprio donated to humanitarian groups CARE, International Rescue Committee, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children to support Ukraine, said someone close to DiCaprio. However, no dollar amount was provided.
The actor further shared resources Friday on his personal Instagram account.
“The victims of the war in Ukraine have lost everything, from loved ones to basic materials to survive,” he wrote, alongside photos from Ukraine. “Humanitarian organizations like @SavetheChildren @careorg @rescueorg and @refugees are on the ground, dedicating their staff and resources to support families and innocent people.”
Director Oliver Stone, who previously worked with the Russian president on the documentary ‘The Putin Interviews’, told KCRW’s Robert Scheer in early February that the US media had “no evidence” that Russia intended to invade Ukraine.
Stone was wrong when Putin launched his attack on February 24, and Stone later issued a statement condemning Russia’s “aggression”.
“Although the United States has many wars of aggression on its conscience, this does not justify Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. A dozen wrongs do not make a right. Russia was wrong to invade “Stone said.
Gérard Depardieu, an alleged friend of Putin, took a stand against the Russian-Ukrainian war. The French actor became a Russian citizen in 2013 to avoid taxes, according to The New York Times. In a letter to Russian state television, he wrote: “I love your president Vladimir Putin very much and it’s mutual.”
Before Putin launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, Depardieu went on French television to say, “Leave Vladimir alone.”
Once the war started, the French actor denounced it but did not specifically challenge Putin.
“Russia and Ukraine have always been brotherly countries,” Depardieu said in an interview with Agence France-Presse. “I am against this fratricidal war,” he added. “I say, ‘Stop the guns and negotiate.'”
Steven Seagal obtained Russian citizenship in 2016 and before the war had publicly praised Putin.
The 69-year-old American actor once called Putin “one of the world’s greatest living leaders”, but has since tempered his support for the Russian president.
“I consider Russia and Ukraine as one family and I truly believe that this is an outside entity that spends huge amounts of money on propaganda to induce the two countries to be at odds with each other. with each other,” he told Fox News Digital.
“My prayers are that the two countries will come to a positive and peaceful resolution where we can live and prosper together in peace,” Seagal added.
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Paul McCartney met Putin at the Kremlin on May 24, 2003 in Moscow as he prepared for a concert in Red Square.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted the Beatles star to share a photo of him performing in Kyiv in 2008.
“Remembering playing for our friends in Ukraine at Independence Square in 2008 and thinking of them in these difficult times,” the musician shared on his official website. “We send our love and support.”
McCartney also shared links to resources providing support for Ukraine.
Although there are no photos of Putin and Jane Fonda together, the actress has previously claimed that the current Russian president was once her tour guide.
“This guy,” Fonda said during a 2020 interview with Andy Cohen as she showed Putin on a screen, “was our travel guide. When I was married to Ted Turner, and he was going to do his Goodwill Games in Leningrad.
“We landed at the airport, and the person who picked us up and drove us was Vladimir Putin. He was the tour guide. He was like our interpreter at the time.”
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The actress recalled a moment during the trip when Putin refused to meet his wife at the hospital.
“His wife had fallen ill and she was heading to the hospital,” Fonda said. “He told us that in the car and Ted said, ‘You need to go to the hospital. You need to go to the hospital to check on your wife,’ and he didn’t. Vladimir Putin didn’t. didn’t. stayed with us.”
She has not publicly commented on the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Fonda once received backlash for posing with an anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The actress was nicknamed “Hanoi Jane” and accused of treason.
“I’m proud that I went to Vietnam when I did,” she said at the Television Critics Associations summer press tour in 2018. “I’m so sorry I was so thoughtless to sit on that gun at that time and the message that sends to the guys who were there and their families. It’s just awful for me to think about that.”
Stephanie Nolasco of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.