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Whatever Happened To Steven Seagal?

"Give the people what they want" is an old saying in the world of business. And since there's definitely no business like show business, the savviest showbiz stars do just that: give the people what they want. In the late '80s, what the people wanted was action movies in which drug dealers and international criminals got kicked and punched and shot at by a sort-of-mystical, stone-faced martial arts expert with a ponytail — in other words, Steven Seagal. 

The mythical man who is definitely not a garbage-eating beach bird ruled the box office for years with huge hits like "Hard to Kill," "Above the Law," and "Under Siege." But while you have to give the people what they want, what they want isn't always the same thing. Tastes change, and eventually, Seagal faded from movie star prominence. Here's a look at what he's been up to since receding from the spotlight.

Steven Seagal still makes movies. Lots of movies

Seagal's contract with Warner Bros. ended with the release of the environmentally-themed thriller "Fire Down Below" in 1997. He still makes action movies, and he still puts them out at a rapid clip. Since 1998, however, most (but not all) have gone directly to DVD or streaming services. Among those projects: "The Patriot," "Exit Wounds," "Half Past Dead," "Out for a Kill," "Into the Sun," "Submerged," "Black Dawn," "Attack Force," "Urban Justice," "Kill Switch," "Code of Honor," and "Driven to Kill." In all, Seagal has churned out more than 30 movies in less than 20 years.

In 2016 alone, he starred in a whopping seven non-theatrically-released (or barely theatrical-released) films: "Contract to Kill," "End of a Gun," "Code of Honor," "Sniper: Special Ops," "The Asian Connection," "Cartels," and "The Perfect Weapon."

Steven Seagal had a reality show

Starting in the late '80s, Seagal took a side job as a police consultant in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Sheriff Harry Lee, a big Seagal fan, had asked the action star to train his force in martial arts and marksmanship, and he did it for so long that Lee eventually enlisted Seagal as a reserve deputy. In 2009, Seagal's side gig became the basis for a reality show on A&E called "Steven Seagal: Lawman." It was similar to "Cops" in that a film crew tagged along while police officers investigated local crimes as they happened — yet different, in that Steven Seagal was there, usually hanging out in the police car observing the cops from a safe distance.

Sadly, Seagal reportedly resigned from the force after he found himself the subject of an internal affairs investigation that, according to the Phoenix New Times, sought to uncover the truth about "allegations of sex trafficking and sexual assault." (Those allegations were corroborated by two other female ex-employees who alleged similar treatment by the actor, but their suit against him was dropped later in the year.)

He also starred on a TV cop show

Now you may be thinking that Steven Seagal, who spent years hitting bad guys in movies and also in the actual streets, might be really well suited for a role in a scripted television series. After all, cop shows have never lacked popularity on the small screen, and Seagal is an actual cop. You would think this is definitely something the guy should do, right? Well, you'd be wrong. 

It's true. Seagal took his crime-fighting, butt-kicking cop act to TV with his 2011 action series "True Justice," which he created and starred in as Elijah Kane, head of an elite undercover Seattle task force. (The show was actually taped in Vancouver, Canada.) "True Justice" first aired in Spain on a cable channel called Nitro before showing up on the American movie network Reelz, which renewed the show and funded a second season. "True Justice" ran for a total of 26 episodes.

Steven Seagal has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct

In October 2017, "Inside Edition" correspondent Lisa Guerrero told The Hollywood Reporter about a 1996 audition for Seagal's "Fire Down Below," after which she said he summoned her to his home for a "private rehearsal." She declined, and the lead role she said she was promised went to another actor. Television personality Jenny McCarthy also spoke out, saying Seagal demanded she take off her dress during an audition for "Under Siege 2." Seagal denied those allegations (per Entertainment Weekly).

Rachel Grant, a former "Bond girl" who appeared in the 007 movie "Die Another Day," went public with her own story in January 2018, telling the BBC that during her audition for Seagal's 2003 film "Out for a Kill," he pushed her onto a bed and pulled down his pants. Again, Seagal denied any wrongdoing. Also in January 2018, two women filed police reports in Los Angeles — and one of them, former "On Deadly Ground" extra Regina Simons, offered a detailed account of Seagal sexually assaulting her when she was 18. Reached for comment, the LAPD cited confidentiality laws, but did reveal they were investigating yet another claim against Seagal (via The Wrap).

It quickly became apparent that simply directing a publicist to deny alleged assaults wouldn't be enough, and Seagal went on the offensive, using an appearance on right-wing fringe conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' InfoWars network to claim he was the victim of a vast, well-funded conspiracy. Insisting that "40 percent" of the sexual assault allegations coming out of the growing #MeToo movement were made up, he vowed revenge on the people he said were lying (again per The Wrap).

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

He's an entrepreneur with widely varying business interests

Many celebrities have their own vanity wines — including Seagal, sort of. He owns an estate in California's Santa Ynez Valley, where 200 acres are set aside to grow Cabernet grapes that he then sells to other wineries. From 1999 to 2007, he also owned a 995-acre lavender farm in northern California where he grew the raw materials for Diamond Lotus Essentials, a line of therapeutic oils. And in 2005, Seagal's company Steven Seagal Products launched Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt, a line of canned energy drinks which was proudly marketed as the first of its kind to contain "Tibetan Goji Berries" and "Asian Cordyceps." Flavors include Cherry Charge, Root Beer Rush, and Asian Experience.

He even teamed up with a Cold Steel, a California knife manufacturer, to create the "Steven Seagal Series" of knives and swords. A katana sword with sheath costs a mere $1,099.99, while a shorter "Steven Seagal Helmet Breaker" runs just $499.99.

He's missed some big comeback opportunities

Seagal is reportedly good friends with fellow martial arts movie star Jackie Chan. They're so tight that while Chan's "Rush Hour 3" was entering production in 2007, Chan is rumored to have suggested that Seagal play the film's villain. He didn't end up in the role, and the script was rewritten to accommodate Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada.

Sylvester Stallone's 2010 hit "The Expendables" showed that there was still a big audience out there for '80s-style action movies, as well as '80s-style action heroes. Among the cast of the "Expendables" series: Stallone himself, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Chuck Norris, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Conspicuously absent from that list: Steven Seagal. Stallone reportedly offered Seagal a spot in the ensemble, but he turned it down. The reason: Seagal hates one of the movie's producers, Avi Lerner, with whom he worked on several of his direct-to-video features.

He's a citizen of the world

Steven Seagal lives a very full life outside of making movies and hanging out with cops. He also spends a lot of time traveling around the world to visit his friends who really live far away. Incongruously, two of his best friends are Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama ... and Russian president Vladimir Putin. In addition to that, Seagal gained citizenship in Serbia in January 2016 when he offered to set up a martial arts studio there. He probably wouldn't be able to live in Serbia, however, if he followed through on his plans to someday run for governor of Arizona, an idea that The Washington Post reported was on his mind in 2014.

Seagal's bromance with Putin has earned the star some enemies. When he told a Russian state-run newspaper (via Yahoo) that he considers Putin "one of the great living world leaders" and that he thinks of him like a brother, he also came out in support of Putin's controversial intervention in Crimea. That got him dropped from a gig performing at a blues festival in Estonia. After Putin personally granted Seagal a Russian passport in 2016, the actor was banned from entering the Ukraine, another former Soviet republic. Officials said that Seagal had "committed socially dangerous actions," which "contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine's security" (via The Guardian).

Steven Seagal's movies have 0 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

Two Seagal films — "The Foreigner" and "Contract to Kill" — earned the not-so-prestigious score of 0 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — which means that not a single critic that saw either film liked them. Regarding "The Foreigner," Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic called the film "so bad that it makes Seagal's other films look like the combined efforts of Frank Capra and Billy Wilder." As for "Contract to Kill," Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The AV Club wrote that Seagal "gives the kind of performance traditionally associated with stars who died during filming. And yet, Seagal is in almost every scene."

As for the rest of Seagal's recent, direct-to-home video filmography? Those movies haven't even been seen by enough people to be rated yet (a whopping 37 of his movies since 2001 are listed as "No Score Yet"), while 2002's "Half Past Dead" only managed to eke out a 3 percent. In fact, you can count on one hand the number of "Certified Fresh" movies he has, despite his incredibly long filmography — ouch!

He got sued for killing a puppy

We've already established that Steven Seagal was sued for sexual harassment — a suit that was dropped. But while getting served with papers over sexual misdeeds is sadly not that uncommon in the world of showbusiness, what's less common is getting sued for puppy murder. But as with so many things in life, here Steven Seagal once again breaks the mold. 

Seagal was the target of a lawsuit for his part of a police operation filmed (but never aired) for "Steven Seagal: Lawman." In 2011, Seagal drove a SWAT tank used to raid the home of Jesus Llovera, an Arizona man suspected of holding cockfights. Llovera sued for $100,000 in damages; he also wanted Seagal to write a letter to his kids to apologize for killing their puppy in the melee. Llovera ultimately pled guilty to the cockfighting charges. After a change of attorney and a failure to submit paperwork, a judge dismissed the lawsuit against Seagal. Chances are pretty good he never wrote the letter of apology, either. 

Steven Seagal is a Trump supporter

If you thought Seagal's admiration of Putin was weird, it may not seem quite as strange in the context that he's also a Donald Trump supporter. It might seem surprising that the same man who starred in and directed the environmentally conscious "On Deadly Ground," in which he battles an oil tycoon and notorious polluter, and starred in "Fire Down Below," where he took on baddies dumping toxic waste, would support a president who doesn't believe in global warming, but does anything about Steven Seagal surprise you anymore?

On the night of President Trump's inauguration, Seagal took to Twitter to congratulate the new leader of the free world, saying, "Congratulations to President Donald Trump! Wonderful speech! So grateful & proud to finally have a president 4 the People!" Then again, maybe it's actually Melania that he's a fan of, considering a December 2015 post on his official Facebook where he shared, "If Donald Trump becomes president, she will be the First Lady."

He wrote a novel 'based on reality'

If you believe there's a secret globalist agenda that threatens to destroy the United States — and you believe you're one of the select few who truly understands what's going on — what's the best way of getting your message out? This is evidently exactly what Steven Seagal believes, and as he revealed in late 2017, his answer to that question is "write an action espionage novel starring a thinly disguised version of myself." 

Co-credited to Seagal and Tom Morrissey, a novelist whose résumé includes a stint as the GOP chair for Arizona, the novel in question — titled "The Way of the Shadow Wolves: The Deep State and the Hijacking of America" — is billed as "a book of fiction based on reality." The plot follows an Arizona tribal officer who untangles a high-reaching conspiracy among drug smugglers, the mainstream media, and the United States government, all carried out in the name of instituting a "jihadi caliphate" in America.

As with many of Seagal's films and albums, the reviews haven't exactly been kind. In December 2017, the A.V. Club highlighted a series of Amazon writeups and social media posts subjecting the authors and their work to gleeful mockery, and culture critic Nathan Rabin "hate-read" the entire book in order to offer an in-depth rundown of the story. Right-wing classic rocker Ted Nugent, on the other hand, posted on Facebook that he loved it — and although he later admitted he hadn't had a chance to read it, disgraced former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio went so far as to pen the book's foreword.

He's revisiting the films that made him famous

With so many different projects and hustles under his belt, you might think it's hard for a guy like Steven Seagal to move forward and find something new to explore. And you'd be right. As it turns out, the actor is moving forward in his career by reaching into the past. "Under Siege" and "Under Siege 2" are among Seagal's biggest cinematic hits, and a film to complete the trilogy is apparently in the works. In October 2016, Seagal took to his official Twitter account to announce that former Navy SEAL Woodie Mister was hard at work on the "Under Siege 3" screenplay adding the ominous, "It's time." Mister is a producer on another Seagal project in development: "Above the Law 2," a sequel to Seagal's debut film from 1988.

As of this writing, neither project has yet to make much in the way of headlines since their initial announcements. But hey, that's the whole thing about Steven Seagal: he always strikes when you least expect it. 

He starred in a curious Russian martial arts viral video

It's not exactly news that Seagal is no longer the athletic martial arts master of "Under Siege" or "Above the Law." So maybe he's put on some weight and moves a little slower — that's going to happen to most any guy who's in his mid-sixties. That's why some were a little skeptical of a viral video of Seagal demonstrating the martial art of aikido at the 2015 International Youth Sambo Tournament, held in the Russian city of Saratov.

Seagal takes on two faster, younger combatants and effortlessly flips and tosses them, all while barely moving around. When cornered by TMZ, Seagal laughed off accusations that the fighting in the viral video was fake. "I've been doing martial arts all my life, how could it be fake?" Seagal argued. After the TMZ reporter suggested that the guys up against Seagal flopped a little too hard, Seagal explained, "When you're about to break someone's arm or wrist, usually they like to go with it so it doesn't snap."

Steven Seagal wants everyone to stand for the national anthem

One of the truly great things about a democracy is that every citizen has a voice — even if, as in Steven Seagal's case, he happens to be a veteran Hollywood action hero who's been granted citizenship in one of his native country's biggest rivals. Seagal made that voice heard during a September 2017 appearance on Good Morning Britain, accepting host Piers Morgan's invitation to weigh in on the large number of professional athletes protesting racial injustice and inequality in America by opting not to stand during the national anthem prior to sporting events. It's a complicated issue that's inspired no shortage of debate, but from Seagal's point of view, it's all very simple.

Insisting that he believes in free speech and agrees that "everyone's entitled to their own opinion," Seagal — who went on to claim he's "risked [his] life countless times for the American flag" — made it clear that he's deeply offended by the idea that anyone would refuse to stand during the anthem for any reason.

"I don't agree they should hold the United States of America and the world hostage by picking a venue where people are tuning in to watch a football game and imposing their political views," Seagal told Morgan. "I think it's outrageous, I think it's a joke. It's disgusting." Seagal's remarks were picked up by a number of outlets worldwide — many of whom were quick to point out that as patriotic as his words may have seemed from a particular point of view, they were delivered via remote feed from Moscow.

George Foreman wants to fight Steven Seagal

It's been years since action thriller fans were wowed by a new Steven Seagal fight scene, but once you've spent years building yourself a reputation as a supposedly unbeatable fighter, people will keep lining up to try and make you prove it long after you probably should have retired. Boxer George Foreman, who himself knows a thing or two about climbing back in the ring well after many believed his final bell had been rung, issued just such a challenge to Seagal in October of 2017, tweeting an offer to go ten rounds with his would-be opponent in a no-holds-barred Vegas match during which he'd stick to boxing but Seagal could "use whatever."

Seagal didn't immediately respond to Foreman's challenge, but that didn't stop it from making headlines that triggered a surprising amount of gleeful anticipation. Then again, maybe it isn't so hard to understand why people would want to watch these once-mighty fighters whale on each other — if you've ever struggled to make your way through a late-period Seagal movie or burned yourself on a Foreman Grill, the idea of either man being punched for your enjoyment must be pretty tempting.

Steven Seagal's daughter is a model

After Kelly LeBrock divorced Steven Seagal, she purposely left Hollywood to "raise [her] babies away from the limelight," she told Closer Weekly. One of those babies was her daughter with the action man, Arissa LeBrock. The younger LeBrock grew up and found her own place in the spotlight, working as a model for clothing lines such as Mac Duggal and Ashley Stewart. She told the New York Post that while she's following in her mother's modeling footsteps, she "ended up looking like a Seagal: strong and built."

Of course, you don't need a New York Post article to tell you that: one look at Arissa LeBrock in the photo above should tell you everything you need to know about her parentage. Let's just say that Steven Seagal probably never thought about needing to take a paternity test. Of course, all of this raises an important question: should Steven Seagal have been a runway model instead of an action hero? Now's probably as good a time as any for him to give that career path a shot.

He's incredibly difficult to work with

According to multiple actors, Steven Seagal is an incredibly difficult coworker, something John Leguizamo discovered the hard way. While filming Executive Decision, Seagal got angry with his costar and allegedly shoved Leguizamo against a wall.

Seagal also made life hard for the "Saturday Night Live" cast. While hosting the show in 1991, he was "very critical of the cast and writing staff." According to Tim Meadows, Seagal "didn't realize that you can't tell somebody they're stupid on Wednesday and expect them to continue writing for you on Saturday." David Spade, meanwhile, said that in his six years on the show, Seagal was the absolute worst host, which probably had a lot to do with the aikido king's taste in comedy. According to Julia Sweeney, Seagal wanted to perform a sketch where he played a therapist who wants to sleep with a rape survivor. Evidently, Seagal was so frustrating, he was banned from ever hosting again.

Stephen Tobolowsky also learned firsthand about Seagal's petulant ways. In "The Glimmer Man," Tobolowsky played a serial killer — naturally, Seagal was supposed to blow the bad guy away. But then, as Tobolowsky told The AV Club, Seagal decided it was "bad for his karma" to keep killing people on-screen. Now, he wanted Tobolowsky to survive. Thinking on his feet, Tobolowsky explained that his character was trapped in his own private Hell. By killing the villain, Seagal would be allowing the bad guy to reincarnate as a more peaceful being. Seagal agreed, and the scene went on as scripted.

His weird relationship with the UFC

In February 2011, UFC fans prepared to watch middleweight champion Anderson Silva face off against Vitor Belfort. At the time, Silva was widely considered the greatest mixed martial artist on the planet, and in round one, he knocked Belfort out with a front kick to the face. It was one of the most iconic moments in UFC history ... and days later, Seagal was taking all the credit. According to Seagal, he was the man who taught Anderson Silva how to use that particular kick. In fact, Seagal even claimed that he'd invented that kick. While many assumed Seagal was lying, the actor had indeed escorted Silva to the ring that fateful night. And a few events later, Lyoto Machida knocked out the legendary Randy Couture with a "Karate Kid"-style crane kick. Once again, Seagal took credit for the move, this time on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

While Silva seemed to enjoy the joke at first, the champ eventually decided to speak up, explaining how he'd been practicing the front kick long before he met Seagal. In his famous broken English, Silva admitted (via MMA Mania), "Seagal is a good man. No coach. No train me. Is a good man. Is a good person. That's it."

Other athletes are far less polite. When Seagal tried to go backstage at UFC 135 to advise light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, the fighter turned him away. Ronda Rousey once claimed she could "beat the crap" out of the actor. Seagal even challenged two-time ex-champion Randy Couture to a fight ... so long as there weren't any witnesses around. When asked about the matchup, Couture said he wasn't surprised that Seagal wanted to fight "in a private, remote location where nobody could see it happen."

Steven Seagal vs. James Bond

In addition to acting, Steven Seagal has done quite a bit of fight choreography. According to IMDb, most of the films he's choreographed are his own, but in the early '80s, Seagal worked on the James Bond film "Never Say Never Again," having been brought onboard to teach Sean Connery about martial arts. Now, Connery was already well-versed in karate. While preparing for 1967's "You Only Live Twice," the actor was awarded an honorary third-degree black belt. But for his seventh outing as Bond, Connery needed to learn a little aikido, so Seagal was hired to teach him how to throw opponents and manipulate joints.

At first, the lessons seemed to be going well ... too well, in fact. As Connery put it, "I got a little cocky because I thought I knew what I was doing," and then an irritated Seagal allegedly grabbed Connery's arm and broke the actor's wrist (via The Independent). While he was undoubtedly in pain, Connery kept on training. In fact, he didn't realize that Seagal had actually snapped his wrist until the late '90s. That must've been one slow-healing injury.

Of course, Seagal can take a bit of pain as well. While working on his breakout film, "Above the Law," actor Henry Silva broke Seagal's nose with an overzealous punch. Knowing the show must go on, Seagal stayed up late that night, icing his battered schnoz so he could keep on shooting the next day.

Steven Seagal vs. The Dirty Dozen

In his heyday, Steven Seagal was the biggest martial arts star in Hollywood, but that doesn't mean he could fight in real life. Seagal is a legit seventh dan in aikido, a martial art that relies on joint locks and the redirection of momentum. In fact, Seagal was the first American to teach aikido in Japan. But honestly, aikido is pretty worthless when it comes to self-defense. According to fight analyst Jack Slack, aikido only works if your "opponent is running straight at you," something most smart fighters never do. And as UFC commentator Joe Rogan explained, aikido "would never work against a trained fighter, never, not in a million years."

Nevertheless, Seagal claimed he could beat anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even worse, Seagal made some controversial comments about Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and the sport of full-contact karate. This didn't sit well with Bob Wall. An actor and high-ranking black belt with plenty of tournament experience, Wall was friends with Norris, had worked with Lee, and absolutely didn't care for Seagal's attitude. Wanting to teach the actor a lesson, Wall assembled the "Dirty Dozen," a group of angry kickboxing and karate champions like Benny Urquidez, Bill Wallace, and Howard Jackson. Some wanted to show Seagal was a fake, others were upset at his comments, while others wanted to avenge a group of stuntmen whom Seagal had allegedly injured.

Wanting to get the actor's attention, the Dozen appeared in magazines like "Prevue" and "Black Belt," but despite their efforts, there was never any showdown. Instead, when Seagal finally met Wall, the movie star supposedly apologized for what he'd said. 

The time Steven Seagal got choked out

While Seagal never faced off with Bob Wall, many people claim he did square off with "Judo" Gene LeBell. A martial arts pioneer, LeBell has studied almost every fighting style imaginable, from taekwondo to boxing otka rate. But LeBell was particularly fond of grappling, excelling at both judo and jujitsu. The man was a two-time national heavyweight judo champion, taught Bruce Lee how to grapple, and currently serves as a mentor to UFC megastar Ronda Rousey. LeBell also competed in the first televised MMA fight in American history, when he used his ground game against boxer Milo Savage in 1963. So, he's tough for real.

LeBell also worked as an actor and a stuntman, appearing in over 1,000 films and TV shows. He was the fight choreographer on "Out for Justice," an action movie starring Steven Seagal. During filming, Seagal allegedly said no one in the world could choke him out, claiming he had a special move that prevented anyone from putting him to sleep. Naturally, Gene accepted the challenge, and the two guys went at it. Within seconds, LeBell had Seagal in a rear-naked choke. And that's when the aikido master supposedly pulled out his super-secret, special trick move — a karate strike to LeBell's balls.

Despite the low blow, LeBell held on — soon, Seagal was out like a light. On top of that, the actor reportedly had a bizarre reaction to being choked out. According to LeBell, Seagal must've had a big meal before the match, because the unconscious star suddenly soiled himself. Obviously, Seagal denies the fight ever took place, but according to the "Godfather of Grappling," Seagal was a truly crappy fighter.

Steven Seagal versus the mob

Steven Seagal has battled all sorts of bad guys on the silver screen, from terrorists to the yakuza. But Seagal has also faced some scary villains in real life, namely the Mafia. In the '90s, Seagal teamed up with producer Julius R. Nasso. Together, the duo made a string of hits, but their relationship soured in 2000. Eventually, the two had a falling out, but things took a dark turn when the Gambino crime family got involved.

One day, Seagal was ordered into a car and escorted to a Brooklyn restaurant, where he met an alleged Gambino captain named Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone. According to Seagal, Ciccone ordered him to start working with Nasso again. He also demanded that Seagal fork over $150,000 for every film he made. Evidently, Seagal was so shaken, he gave the gangsters $700,000. The martial artist had every reason to be afraid. As he left the meeting, someone supposedly told Seagal, "If you would have said the wrong thing, they would have killed you."

The scandal came to light in 2003, when the government indicted alleged crime boss Peter Gotti and 16 others for a whole host of crimes. In addition to Seagal's testimony, the government had recordings of several individuals — including Siccone and Nasso — discussing how they would intimidate Seagal. They even laughed about how they'd scared the movie star. Nasso defended himself by saying Seagal had backed out of several movie deals, and owed him $500,000. Regardless, the producer was sentenced to one year in federal prison. But once a crooked mob guy, always a crooked mob guy — Nasso wanted his cash, and sued Seagal for $60 million. After the producer got out of jail, he settled with the actor for an undisclosed amount of money.

Steven Seagal versus the FBI

While never a critical darling, Steven Seagal used to pull in some impressive box office numbers. But these days, his films go straight to DVD/streaming/Whatever-Else-The-Kids-Use-By-The-Time-You-Read-This. So what happened to Seagal's career? Well, he blames his decline on, of all things, the FBI.

In 2002, Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch was investigating Seagal about Julius Nasso and the whole Mafia mess. But one morning, she found a dead fish, a rose, and a sign that read "Stop!" on her windshield. Plus, there was a brand-new bullet hole, just what her car always wanted. Afraid, Busch informed the FBI, and the feds began investigating Seagal. At first, the FBI thought the actor had hired a detective named Anthony Pellicano to intimidate Busch. They also suspected Seagal of hiring a thug to scare Vanity Fair writer Ned Zeman with a gun.

But after digging deeper, the FBI concluded there was no evidence against Seagal. (The actor even took a polygraph to prove his innocence.) Instead, they focused on Pellicano, the private eye who illegally spied on celebrities. And then, Seagal just fell by the wayside. The FBI never charged him, but they didn't exonerate him either. The actor believes all the notoriety from the Pellicano case majorly harmed his career ... and he might have a point. According to one Hollywood publicist, "Steven Seagal was no Harrison Ford when this [scandal] happened. But these accusations certainly hastened his decline." So it only makes sense that Seagal wants an apology from the FBI. As for Pellicano, he was sentenced to prison in 2008, and it looks like he'll be behind bars until 2018.

He's a guitar-slingin' singer-songwriter who loves the blues

Steven Seagal's hands aren't just for breaking people's bodies — they're also for making sweet, sweet music. Yes, Seagal is a long-time musician who loves him some blues. Whether the blues loves him back is another question entirely. Seagal has been playing guitar since age 12 and heads the Steven Seagal Blues Band. It wasn't until 2005, however, that Seagal released his first album, "Songs From the Crystal Cave." If Bruce Willis' blues career got your mojo running but you need something fresh, you might dig this. (Might.) 

It's straightforward blues, though not nearly as grimy and soulful as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, or John Goodman. In fact, SputnikMusic called the album "the 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' of records," probably due to the lethal combination of Seagal singing exactly like he speaks (mumbly and half-asleep), six-string noodling that's only slightly more impressive than a tween playing "Louie Louie" at Guitar Center, and Seagal-penned lyrics like "You're like a ghost / The more you eat, the more you're hungry / A hungrier ghost." Ghosts don't need to eat, Steven. You'd think a spiritual guy like you would know that.

He's in international relations

He's got Russian citizenship, a willingness to offer his many opinions on a wide variety of subjects, and a measure of celebrity, so it was probably only a matter of time before the Russian government offered Steven Seagal a job — and that time came in August 2018, when it was THR reported that Seagal had been made a "special envoy for humanitarian ties" with the United States.

That's a fancy-sounding gig, but as the Russian Foreign Ministry noted when announcing Seagal's appointment, it's an unpaid position — and one that's also a little difficult to understand, at least in terms of Seagal actually being able to get anything done. According to the Ministry's description of the role, the envoy's job is to "facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges."

Seagal was in The Menu ... sort of

One of 2022's most original and critically adored films was "The Menu," a black comedy served with a zest of social commentary and a sprig of horror. Among other big names like Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicholas Hoult, the movie featured John Leguizamo as a movie star named George Diaz. Unlike Leguizamo, the Diaz character is no longer relevant as a movie star, instead fading into obscurity as he becomes an ever-increasing target of ridicule. For inspiration in playling this washed up has-been, Leguizamo chose his former costar, Seagal.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Leguizamo certainly didn't mince words (pun intended) when revealing where his "The Menu" character came from. "I kind of based [my performance] on Steven Seagal," the actor said. "I had a bad run-in with him ... He's kind of a horrible human." In watching the film, the basis does shine through. Diaz is a former action star, now seeking to maintain the spotlight (and a living) through any available avenue. For Diaz, it's a potential role as the host of a food show, though Seagal himself has not yet tried his hand at any cooking competitions (completely missing the chance to host a martial arts baking show named "Aiki-dough").

Somehow, his international relations run deeper

Seagal's position as Russia's "special envoy for humanitarian ties" with the United States was one thing — it's an honorary position, one that doesn't necessarily signify anything about the actor's actual politics. It's harder to say the same about his decision to hold his 70th birthday party in Moscow, especially with two pro-Putin journalists attending who had already been sanctioned by the EU due to the controversial Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition, the birthday party did take place during the height of the early invasion, and Seagal did announce to his contentious guests, "I love all of you and we stand together, through thick and through thin" (via The Times). We'll leave the final word on Seagal's stance up to him (which, depending on your views, he may have already expressed on Russian TV).

Putin is not Seagal's only controversial friend in politics, however. The actor has also publicly voiced support for former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a leader whose strict stance on crime, especially drug-related offenses, earned him the nickname "The Punisher." Seagal has also demonstrated support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (on behalf of the Russian government), a leader whose divisive tactics have led many news outlets to either question his status as a democratic leader (like BBC News and The Atlantic) or outright pronounce him a dictator (like The Hill and The Economist).

He got in trouble for hiding his crypto endorsement

One of the great gifts of being a famous actor is the ability to diversify your income with celebrity endorsements, and Seagal hasn't missed the opportunity. In 2018, Seagal lent an endorsement to Bitcoiin2Gen, a cryptocurrency aiming to rival Bitcoin, and received a tidy sum for his support. Unfortunately for Seagal, he failed to disclose the payments he received, violating U.S. federal law and leading to charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (via CNBC).

According to the SEC, Bitcoiin2Gen promised Seagal $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of B2G tokens as payment for his promotions, and though the actual amount he received only came to around $157,000, he nonetheless never reported his earnings. The SEC explained that the reasoning behind the charges against Seagal is that "investors were entitled to know about payments Seagal received or was promised to endorse this investment so they could decide whether he may be biased." Common sense also supports their reasoning, as celebrities obviously advertise products they don't necessarily support, solely for the paycheck.

To Seagal's credit, upon learning of his offense, he cooperated with the SEC investigation, ultimately paying around $314,000 in disgorgement and penalties. Even further to his credit, Seagal had terminated his relationship with B2G before the true dubiousness of their organization was discovered, leading to a cease and desist order from the New Jersey Bureau of Securities.

Charlize Theron ripped him apart

Seagal has a history of leaving bad impressions on his co-stars, as evidenced by many celebrity quotes elsewhere in this article. Sadly, the list of those Seagal has allegedly wronged only continues to grow, this time expanding to include Charlize Theron. During her June 22, 2020 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Theron made it abundantly clear that she is far from Seagal's biggest fan.

At one point in their discussion, Stern asked Theron how she prepares mentally for her more physical roles in action films. The actress responded that she often watches YouTube videos of martial artists and their fights, adding, "You always come across that odd Seagal video of him 'fighting' in Japan, but he really isn't ... He's overweight and can barely fight. Look it up, it's ridiculous."

When Stern remarked on how comfortable Theron seemed in publicly mocking another well-known industry professional, the actress told the host that she has "no problem talking s*** about [Seagal] because he's not very nice to women." Though she didn't elaborate, Theron was likely alluding to the multiple accusations of sexual assault and misconduct leveled against Seagal over the years. Either way, it's safe to say that Theron is unlikely to appear in the potential "Under Siege" reboot.

He Was Honored By Vladimir Putin

It's no secret that Steven Seagal is known for his international adventures, both on and off the screen. As a friend of Vladimir Putin, Segal continues to meet with the Russian President fairly regularly. But becoming a Russian citizen and headlining a strange Russian martial arts video wasn't enough for the American actor. According to CNN, Putin honored the former action star in early 2023 with an "Order of Friendship," citing the actor's "great contribution to the development of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation" as the reasoning for this honor.

The award itself is a relatively recent invention, having first been instituted by former President Boris Yeltsin in 1994, though it can trace its roots back to the days of the Soviet Union. Seagal's award comes off the heels of his 2022 visit to a destroyed Ukrainian prison during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Appearing on the government-owned network Zvezda, Seagal surveyed the damages with the intent of educating those who haven't actually been there and seen the destruction first-hand, albeit from a Kremlin-based perspective.

But what more can we say about Seagal's strange ties to Putin and the Russian government? The actor has made some increasingly interesting choices over the past decade — including his infamous birthday party in Moscow. He consistently finds himself honored by Putin and the Russian government, making us wonder just what position or award he'll be gifted next.