Vladimir Putin’s celebrity mates and whether they stick by him during Ukraine invasion

Vladimir Putin has made a number of enemies within the world of politics, but that has not stopped him from becoming friends with several celebrities.

The Russian President likes to keep his personal life out of the spotlight but always ensures that cameras are present when he is meeting a high profile figure.

Putin was snapped with Beatles legend Paul McCartney before a concert in Moscow in 2003, sat with Shining actor Jack Nicholson at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2001 and was even in contact with Pamela Anderson.

The Mirror reports that he enjoyed drinks with Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio at the International Tiger Conservation Forum in Saint Petersburg in 2010 and shook hands with British supermodel Naomi Campbell at the same event.

As well as these celebrity acquaintances, Putin has developed close friendships with a few Hollywood stars, who have been reacting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Around the world, Putin is losing allies fast with many condemning his terrifying invasion and attacks on defenceless civilians, with the Russian leader promising worse is yet to come.

So how has this changed the way his famous friends think about him?

Steven Seagal

Hollywood actor Steven Seagal has a surprising friendship with Putin – and has even been to his home.

The Under Siege and Hard to Kill star, who received his Russian citizenship in 2017, first bonded with the Russian leader over a shared love of martial arts.

The Michigan-born actor has previously described his father as “pure Russian”, as his paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, and he still has some relatives in the country.

Unsurprisingly, Seagal did not put any blame on Putin over the Ukraine war and has claimed an “outside” entity is provoking both countries into fighting.

The 69-year-old martial artist told Fox News Digital that he looks at both Russia and Ukraine “as one family.”

“Most of us have friends and family in Russia and Ukraine,” he said on Monday as he refused to take sides.

“I look at both as one family and really believe it is an outside entity spending huge sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other.

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“My prayers are that both countries will come to a positive, peaceful resolution where we can live and thrive together in peace.”

Putin presents Hollywood actor Steven Seagal with a Russian passport in 2016

Seagal has spoken out in praise of Putin on several occasions, including in a 2013 interview with Russian TV channel RT when he said Putin was “one of the greatest world leaders if not the greatest world leader alive today.”

He went on: “The first time I went to his home, I walked in and saw a life-sized statue of Kano Jigoro, who is the founder of judo, so I was taken immediately and impressed and really wanting to get to know this man deeper and deeper.”

In 2016, Seagal met with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko to eat carrots and chat about that year’s harvest.

That year he was also granted his Russian citizenship, resulting in him being barred from entering Ukraine.

“This was his desire, he had really applied,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced to the press.

“He had been really persistent for a long time and been asking to grant him citizenship, he is actually renowned for his quite warm feelings toward our country. He never made a secret out of it, at the same time he is quite famous, as you know, actor.”

In 2017, Seagal appeared on Good Morning Britain live from Moscow to defend Putin amid claims he had influenced the American election.

The pair hanging out during the Mixed fight Championship in Sochi in 2012
The pair hanging out during the Mixed fight Championship in Sochi in 2012

Speaking about his Russian citizenship, he said: “I have lots of relatives in Russia and you know I love Russia, I love the country, I love the people and, you know, I think that one thing that’s sort of not widely known, there are millions and millions of people in America who have dual and multiple citizenship so this is not an uncommon thing.

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“The thing that makes it controversial is all of the propaganda flying, particularly from America about Russia, therefore it becomes kind of a controversial situation.”

He told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid he’d had many direct dealings with Putin as he lavished praise on the Russian leader.

Seagal said: “As I’ve said many times I think he’s one of the great world leaders, he’s brilliant, he’s articulate, he’s a great tactician. Him and I started out becoming friends over the martial arts. The martial arts has to do with a lot of things.

“It’s a philosophy, it gets into the history of tactics and the history of the world and the world in conflict and the world in peace and so him and I basically, we don’t have a political relationship, we really talk about the martial arts and the philosophy and people and dilemmas in life, that kind of thing.”

American podcaster Joe Rogan recently shared an image of a fake CNN report depicting Seagal wearing special forces uniform and holding a gun.

The fake news report tried to claim Seagal was among Russian special forces positioned around the outskirts of Kyiv.

gerard depardieu

Russian President Vladimir Putin gets a hug from French actor Gerard Depardieu in 2013
Russian President Vladimir Putin gets a hug from French actor Gerard Depardieu in 2013

French actor Gerard Depardieu has been one of Putin’s closest celebrity pals – but their friendship could be coming to an end as he has somewhat surprisingly denounced the “fractricidal war”.

The 73-year-old, who has starred in Cyrano de Bergerac and 102 Dalmatians, actually received Russian citizenship after turning his back on his homeland.

Depardieu annoyed many of his fellow countrymen by running off to Russia, which was apparently to avoid paying large taxes in France after a highly publicized tax row.

Putin himself signed the decree granting Russian citizenship to Depardieu, who described Russia as “a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its shabby citizens”.

The actor responded by writing an open letter saying: “I love your country, Russia – its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence.”

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Depardieu traveled to Russia in 2013 to be officially given his Russian passport and had an audience with Putin.

The pair shook hands and hugged each other at the meeting in Sochi, although the president’s spokesman said he did not hand over the document personally.

The actor shows off his new Russian passport in 2013
The actor shows off his new Russian passport in 2013

The actor was later invited to set up home in the central Russian region of Mordovia, known for its Stalin-era prison camps.

Local governor Vladimir Volkov said Depardieu could choose an apartment or a place to build a house, Interfax news agency reported.

After arriving in Mordovia’s main city of Saransk, the actor showed off his new passport, saying: “I am very happy, it’s very beautiful here. Beautiful and soulful people live here.”

In 2016, Depardieu caused outrage in his native France by appearing in a ‘nauseous’ advertisement in which he boasted about shooting a deer and being a Russian.

“Proud to be Russian” said the actor, who was then seen kneeling over a dead dear and blowing a kiss.

Metro, the online French news outlet, meanwhile called the advertisement “vulgar”, while GQ magazine said it was a mixture of “nauseous wordplay and pathetic production quality”.

But now the love-in between Putin and Depardieu may be coming to an end as the actor denounced Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with French actor Gerard Depardieu during their meeting in 2013
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with French actor Gerard Depardieu during their meeting in 2013

In a shock move, the film star posted a photo on Instagram with the message: “Russia and Ukraine have always been brother countries.”

Although he did not call out Putin directly and called on both nations to start negotiating for peace.

“I am against this fratricidal war,” he added. “I say, “Stop the weapons and negotiate.'”

However, the Ukrainian people are unlikely to change their opinion on Depardieu because of his past links.

Back in 2015, the Ukrainian government included the French actor on a list of cultural figures who were a threat to the country’s security.

While no specific reason was stated, it is believed the decision is linked to controversial comments he made questioning Ukraine’s independence.

At the Baltic Pearl movie festival in Latvia in 2014, Depardieu said that he loved both Russia and “Ukraine, which is part of Russia.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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