Personal Life Battle That Made Val Kilmer Such a Strong Personality and Great Actor
With a hundred acting credits to his name, award-winning Val Kilmer's work and personal relationships have been as dramatic and difficult as some of his on-screen roles can be. Ranging from his scandalous divorce to his work issues and battle against a terrible disease, you'll find out all the details about these and others alike. Without further ado, let's get the ball rolling!
THE DIVORCE OF VAL'S PARENTS
Born on the cusp of 1960 to Gladys, a homemaker, and Eugene, a real estate developer and aerospace equipment distributor, Val's parents divorced after he turned nine years old. Eight years later, Val's youngest brother Wesley had an epileptic fit and drowned in their swimming pool at the age of sixteen.
Then, after his father's death in 1993, Val became estranged from his remaining and older brother Mark when a dispute broke out over properties their father had left them. “Val has no example in his life that he can look to of a good relationship,” Mark told PEOPLE.
Val started taking drama classes after his parents divorced. And at the age of seventeen, he became the youngest student ever accepted to The Julliard School in New York City, a renowned performing arts conservatory at the time. His Broadway debut in "The Slab Boys" came six years later followed by his first movie, "Top Secret" in 1984.
FINDING A BRITISH "SOULMATE"
Joanne Whalley and Val Kilmer fell in love when they filmed the fantasy film "Willow", released in 1988. However, long before "Willow," Joanne Whalley had been a very reputable actress, a solid fixture on the television in her homeland, the UK. Actually, her career began at the tender age of ten with a role in the soap opera "Coronation Street."
The part undoubtedly led to many more and bigger gigs such as "The Singing Detective" and "Emmerdale Farm." She even received a BAFTA nomination for her performance. The Lancashire native dabbled in music as well, being a member of the band The Slowguns, based in Stockport, England. She was also the lead singer of a pop group named Cindy & The Saffrons, but both participations were short-lived.
Nevertheless, "Willow" was her first Hollywood movie, and she also found what seemed to be the love of her life. Kilmer and Whalley's characters fell in love onscreen, and the actors also followed suit. The lovebirds tied the knot on February 28, 1988, the same year as the movie release.
THEIR UPS AND DOWNS
Despite their whirlwind romance, the lovebirds waited a few years to start a family, and Joanne gave birth to their first child, a daughter called Mercedes, in 1991. But when reports surfaced that Val had a romance with a pizza delivery girl, their marriage started crumbling. Joanne confronted him about the alleged romance, and Val begged for forgiveness and asked for another child together.
Soon enough, Joanne gave birth to Jack in 1995. But only a month after the baby's arrival, Val went on a promotional trip to Europe for his film "Batman Forever" and never returned to his New Mexico ranch with Joanne. The romance is gone. And although Joanne begged him to return home, he continued dating Drew Barrymore while also having an on-and-off romance with Cindy Crawford.
THE ENDING OF THEIR LOVE
Needing the moral support of her friends while having to raise two small children all by herself, Joanne decided to move to Los Angeles. Matters between Val and Joanne further deteriorated when she wanted to draw money out of their joint account to buy a house, and Val refused.
"My children should not have to live in borrowed homes or hotels. Val is such a big superstar now; his family has become superfluous. We've become a millstone around his neck," Joanne said at the time. Even though their divorce became a bitter battle over money and custody, it drew to a conclusion on February 1, 1988.
TROUBLE MAKER AT WORK: THE TWO SIDES OF THE COIN
Known to be a difficult actor to work with, Val had several fallouts with co-stars and directors over the years. While working on the movie "Red Planet," Val and co-star Tom Sizemore didn't see eye to eye on anything. Initially not on speaking terms, the situation deteriorated to the extent that Val refused to say Tom's character's name and wouldn't set foot on the set at the same time as Tom.
The director, Antony Hoffman never made another movie since. When the opportunity to work alongside Marlon Brando in "The Island Of Dr. Moreau" came along, Val jumped at the chance. However, massive arguments between the two soon soured the relationship with Marlon reportedly telling Val that "you're confusing your talents with the size of your paycheque."
But Marlon is not the only one who had trouble with Val on set. After the filming of the last scene, the director John Frankenheimer screamed, "Cut! Now get that bastard off my set!" Afterward, John vowed never to work with Val again. However, others have claimed otherwise despite the naysayers. One of those is director Irwin Winkler who confessed to having checked the actor out, but he also stated that he had an enjoyable experience working with him. Moreover, we have the producer of "The Prince of Egypt," Jeffrey Katzenberg, who talked about him saying:
"Val was one of the first people cast in The Prince of Egypt. He was there every step of the way; patient, understanding, and phenomenally generous with his time."
VAL'S CANCER BATTLE
According to TMZ, Kilmer was rushed to the hospital back in January 2015 after he started to bleed from the throat. Paramedics arrived at his house in Malibu following a 911 from the residence and took him to UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. His representative said at the time that it could be a possible tumor.
The actor underwent surgery, and later that night, a statement was released on the star's Facebook page, thanking everyone for the support. Besides, Val clarified that he did not have a tumor; instead, he had a complication that needed the care of the hospital's staff.
Even though he continued denying the rumors and didn't publicly admit his battle with throat cancer, in 2017, he confessed during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he had been battling the disease for two years and that it had "taken its toll." At the time of Val's diagnosis, his daughter Mercedes got hit by a car which severely damaged her leg. About that traumatic experience, "We were in the same hospital at the same time," Mercedes recalled, while Jack added, "I was just, you know, miserable, distraught, sitting next to these two."
The actor had a procedure done on his trachea, which left him with a raspy voice and constant shortness of breath. Val credited his faith as a Christian Scientist with helping him through the ordeal while he received chemotherapy treatments. Despite battling cancer, Val continued his acting career and starred in the 2017 horror "The Super" with a brief appearance in "The Snowman" later in the year.
In 2018, Val acted in the comedy "1st Born" followed by the making of the "Top Gun" sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick" in 2019, which is said to hit theaters on June 26, 2020. In July 2019, Val got spotted during a rare public outing only days after the trailer to "Top Gun: Maverick" got released.
LATER YEARS OF VAL'S FAMILY
After the divorce from Val, Joanne went back to her maiden name under which she appeared in a handful of productions. She starred alongside Bill Murray in "The Man Who Knew Too Little," "A Texas Funeral," and "The Guilty" with Bill Pullman. Since Joanne misses acting on stage, she would like to get more roles in films. "I'd love to do another movie. I love to work. I'm passionate about it. But my life is equally important. I don't like to have everything mapped out. It's a luxury to have that spontaneity available to you," Joanne told The Independent.
Over the years, Val and Joanne developed a working relationship through co-parenting, as Joanne added, "Our children are lucky enough to have both parents available so, as they say, it's a no-brainer, you know? It's better that we should get on. You can't spend that long with someone, and have children with them, then pretend there's nothing about them you ever liked. We have a different relationship now - but we have a relationship."
AND THE KIDS?
Mercedes grew up to become a talented blues singer, while she also followed in her parents' acting footsteps, known for her roles in the 2013 film "Pool Party," "Ingrid" in 2015, and "Prettyface" a year later. Born on October 29, 1991, in Sante Fe, the 26-year-old girl is among the most popular celebrities, according to Celebs Trend Now.
Jack, on the other hand, never had any intention of becoming an actor until he got cast in "Palo Alto" in 2013 and had his acting debut. The film was released the year after, and Jack's performance was praised as sincere, natural, and formidable. There was no doubt that he had inherited his acting skills from his seasoned parents.
Now, the LA boy can add many credits to his resume. These include a starring role in the 2015 movie "The Stanford Prison Experiment," a highly-anticipated drama based on a thrilling true story that showed Jack's darker side. It is also worth noting his participation in "The Nice Guys" along with Ryan Gosling that was directed by Shane Black, who also served as the director in Val's film, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" in 2005.
And talking about Val, he got spotted in public again late in July 2019. The good news is that he looked in good health strolling around downtown New York with a device in his throat that seems to be a respirator hidden under a scarf. We only hope that his battle with cancer is over soon.
VAL KILMER STRUGGLES
The famous actor and filmmaker who is popularly known for his role as Bruce Wayne in "Batman Forever" has recently been sighted in public wearing a breathing device. It wouldn't have started today as in time past, and he was always seen to wear neck scarves perhaps to keep the device hidden. It would seem that Val has breathing difficulty and this has led to an outflow of support to him from friends and fans.
HIDING THE TRUTH?
In previous public appearances, Val always tried to cover up what he felt might garner publicity. He probably doesn't need an advertisement at that time, hence his use of scarves on his neck. But these days, it appears that he is less concerned with keeping his health status private. It is why, for the first time, we can see the breathing device on display.
THE UNITED NATIONS HONOURS VAL KILMER
Days before he was spotted wearing a breathing device, Val was invited and honored for the role he played with his charity organization, the TwainMania foundation, which enlightens children about the legacy of the legendary Mark Twain, one of the finest men to grace this world.
VAL'S DISCLOSURE AT THE UN
While giving his speech, Kilmer conceded that he was battling with an illness that disrupts his once-vibrant smooth-talking. He said the tracheostomy device makes him speak less. In starting his speech, he made a joke when he said,
"I won't speak long because I can't speak long" -
This declaration was received with laughs from the audience and himself too.
Just as most people resort to faith in which they believe strongly in, Kilmer also plodded that path. In his interview with Hollywood report, he disclosed that he relies heavily on his Christian faith to help him pull through his throat cancer. He said he had always believed that God was going to come through him, and he holds it dearly to his heart. Most survivors usually ascribe to this fact.
We would have never imagined that the life of Val Kilmer and his family was so exciting. What was the most interesting part for you? We cannot wait to read your thoughts, so don't leave without dropping a message in the comment section down below!