The action man met actress and former bodybuilder Gladys Portugues when they were both in their early 20s and they fell madly in love before tying the knot in 1987.
But the Bloodsport star left Portugues after launching a movie career and finding fame in Hollywood – a decision he regrets to this day.
The pair reconciled and remarried in 1999, but he still hasn’t forgiven himself for betraying her.
In his Jean Claude Van Damme: Behind Closed Doors TV show, the Belgian actor explains, “This woman (has) been with me for years, when I was a nobody. When I was driving a taxi and I stole food in the market because I didn’t have any money. I even stole my first birth test (to) find out if she was pregnant with (son) Kristopher in her tummy. Then I left this woman because I did go on the Hollywood lifestyle. I didn’t know the jewel I was having.
“I am so happy that Gladys forgave me for my mistakes. (She is) close to being perfect to me. Believe me, I’m so happy. I am blessed. But me, I didn’t forgive myself yet. I did not. I am living with that problem with my heart. I’m living with the scar. I want to take the scars away.”