Vladimir Putin has made many political enemies – but that hasn’t stopped him from befriending a number of celebrities.
The Russian president likes to keep his personal life out of the spotlight, but always makes sure the cameras are there whenever he meets an A-lister.
Putin had his picture taken with singer Paul McCartney before a concert in Moscow in 2003, sat with actor Jack Nicholson at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2001 and even wrote to Pamela Anderson.
He drank 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.
In addition to these celebrity acquaintances, Putin has developed close friendships with some Hollywood stars who have responded to Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Around the world, Putin is rapidly losing allies, and many condemn his horrific invasion and attacks on defenseless civilians, with the Russian leader promising worse is yet to come.
How has this changed the way his famous friends think of him?
AFP via Getty Images)
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Hollywood actor Steven Seagal has a surprising friendship with Putin — and has even stayed at his house.
The Under Siege and Hard to Kill star, who obtained 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 a “pure Russian” as his paternal grandparents were Russian-Jewish immigrants and he still has some relatives in the country.
Not surprisingly, Seagal did not blame Putin for the Ukraine war, claiming an “external” entity was provoking both countries to fight.
The 69-year-old martial artist told Fox News Digital that he sees both Russia and Ukraine “as one family.”
“Most of us have friends and family in Russia and Ukraine,” he said Monday, refusing to take sides.
“I look at them both as a family and really believe it’s an outside entity that spends huge sums of money on propaganda to get the two countries to contradict each other.
“My prayers are that both countries will come to a positive, peaceful resolution where we can live and prosper together in peace.”
TASS via Getty Images)
Seagal has praised Putin on several occasions, including in a 2013 interview with Russia’s RT television network, when he said Putin was “one of the greatest leaders in the world, if not the greatest leader in the world alive today.”
He continued, “When I first came to his house, I walked in and saw a life-size statue of Kano Jigoro, the founder of judo, so I was immediately smitten and impressed and really wanted to get to know the man more deeply.”
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 Russian citizenship, which prevented him from entering Ukraine.
“This [was his] wish, he really applied,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press.
“He was very persistent and asked for citizenship for a long time, he is actually known for his rather warm feelings towards our country. He’s never made a secret of it, at the same time he’s quite famous, as you know, actor.”
In 2017, Seagal appeared on Good Morning Britain live from Moscow to defend Putin as he claimed he influenced the American election.
RIA NOVOSTI/AFP via Getty Images)
Speaking of his Russian citizenship, he said: “I have many relatives in Russia and you know that I love Russia, I love the country, I love the people and, you know, I think that one thing that is not common knowledge, There are millions and millions of people in America with dual and multiple citizenship, so this is not uncommon.
“The thing that makes it controversial is all the propaganda that’s flying over Russia, especially from America, so it becomes a kind of controversial situation.”
He told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid he’s had many direct deals with Putin as he showered 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. He and I started becoming friends through the martial arts. The martial arts have to do with many things.
“It’s a philosophy, it penetrates the history of tactics and the history of the world and the world in conflict and the world in peace and so he and I basically don’t have a political relationship, we really talk about the martial arts and the philosophy and people and dilemmas in life, that sort of thing.”
American podcaster Joe Rogan recently shared an image of a fake CNN report showing Seagal in a special forces uniform and holding a gun.
The fake news report tried to claim that Seagal was among the Russian special forces stationed on the outskirts of Kyiv.
RIA-NOVOSTI/AFP via Getty Images)
French actor Gerard Depardieu was one of Putin’s closest celebrity friends – but their friendship may be coming to an end as he has somewhat surprisingly denounced the ‘Fracture Killer War’.
The 73-year-old, who starred in ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ and ‘102 Dalmatians’, actually received Russian citizenship after turning his back on his homeland.
Depardieu angered many of his compatriots by fleeing to Russia, apparently to avoid high taxes in France after a highly publicized tax dispute.
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 any of its citizens shabby.”
The actor responded by writing an open letter in which he said: “I love your country, Russia – its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence.”
Depardieu traveled to Russia in 2013 to officially receive his Russian passport and had an audience with Putin.
The couple shook hands and hugged at the meeting in Sochi, although the president’s spokesman said he did not personally deliver the document.
The actor was later invited to settle 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 capital, Saransk, the actor showed his new passport and said: “I’m very happy, it’s very beautiful here. Beautiful and soulful people live here.”
In 2016, Depardieu caused outrage in his native France when he appeared in a “disgusting” advert in which he boasted he had shot a deer and that he was Russian.
“Proud to be Russian,” said the actor, who was then seen kneeling over a dead sweetheart and blowing him a kiss.
Metro, the French online news outlet, meanwhile, called the ad “vulgar”, while GQ magazine said it was a mix of “disgusting pun and pathetic production quality”.
But now the love between Putin and Depardieu could be coming to an end as the actor denounced Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Shocked, the film star posted a photo on Instagram with the message: “Russia and Ukraine have always been brother countries.”
Although he did not call Putin directly, urging both nations to start peace negotiations.
“I am against this fratricidal war,” he added. “I say: ‘Stop the guns and negotiate.'”
However, it is unlikely that the Ukrainian population will change their minds about Depardieu given his past connections.
Back in 2015, the Ukrainian government included the French actor on a list of cultural figures who pose a threat to the country’s security.
Although no specific reason was given, the decision is believed to be linked to controversial comments he made questioning Ukraine’s independence.
At the Baltic Pearl film festival in Latvia in 2014, Depardieu said he loved both Russia and “Ukraine, which is part of Russia.”
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/putins-unlikely-celebrity-pals-whether-26386427 Putin's unlikely celebrity friends and whether they're sticking by him during Ukraine invasion - World News