As the Russia-Ukraine war continues, many industries have sanctioned Russia, including Hollywood.
Although Russia isn’t a leading market for Hollywood, it was one of the top six box office markets worldwide in revenue in 2021, according to Statista.
And over the years, celebs have met with Russian President Vladimir Putin while visiting the country for events, like professional fights and concerts.
Here’s a look at some celebs who either once hobnobbed or briefly met with Putin.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Mickey Rourke recalled meeting Putin when Rourke had a “professional fight four years ago” in Russia.
“I had the time of my life,” Rourke told Fox News Digital about visiting the country. “The people couldn’t have been nicer, more polite, more respectful. I actually went with Putin. He took us to a very famous museum in St. Petersburg.”
Many entertainers, including Gerard Depardieu, have met with Vladimir Putin since his presidency of Russia.RIA-NOVOSTI/AFP via Getty Images
Rourke said he also visited a children’s cancer hospital.
“And we went in there and visited the really, really sick, little, tiny, tiny kids,” Rourke recalled. “And, you know, I looked over at him and I saw him and — nobody’s going to want to hear this — but I saw a man with empathy and who was really moved by what these children are going through.”
Now Rourke, who once wore a shirt with Putin’s face on it and reportedly spoke kindly about him at the time, feels differently, calling what’s happening in Ukraine a “nightmare kind of scenario.”
Mickey Rourke wears a T-shirt with an image depicting Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, as he visits a souvenir shop in Moscow.REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
“Then now there’s this whole other thing that’s happening,” the former boxer said, noting that he prays to God that Putin will end the war.
“When I pray at night, I pray, ‘Please God, … let him find something inside his soul to just say, ‘Okay, that’s it,”” Rourke said.
Leonardo DiCaprio was once photographed alongside Putin after the two attended the International Tiger Conservation Forum at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg in 2010.
In the wake of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, DiCaprio donated to humanitarian groups CARE, International Rescue Committee, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children in support of Ukraine, a person close to DiCaprio said. However, no dollar amounts were provided.
The actor further shared resources Friday on his personal Instagram account.
“The victims of warfare in Ukraine have lost everything from their loved ones to basic materials for survival,” he wrote, alongside photos from Ukraine. “Humanitarian organizations like @SavetheChildren @careorg @rescueorg and @refugees are on the ground, dedicating their personnel and resources to support families and innocent people.”
Film director Oliver Stone, who previously worked with the Russian president for the documentary “The Putin Interviews,” told KCRW’s Robert Scheer in early February that the United States media had “no proof” that Russia intended to invade Ukraine.
Stone was proven wrong when Putin launched his attack on Feb. 24, and Stone subsequently made a statement condemning Russia’s “aggression.”
“Although the United States has many wars of aggression on its conscience, it doesn’t justify Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. A dozen wrongs don’t make a right. Russia was wrong to invade,” Stone said.
Oliver Stone poses with Vladimir Putin after shooting his documentary ‘The Putin Interviews’ for Showtime.Komandir/Courtesy of SHOWTIME
Gerard Depardieu, a reported friend of Putin, has taken a stance against the Russia-Ukraine war. The French actor became a Russian citizen in 2013 to avoid taxes, according to The New York Times. In a letter to Russian state television he wrote, “I love your president, Vladimir Putin, very much, and it’s mutual.”
Before Putin launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, Depardieu went on French television to say, “Leave Vladimir alone.”
Once the war began, the French actor denounced it but didn’t call out Putin specifically.
“Russia and Ukraine have always been brother countries,” Depardieu said during an interview with Agence France-Presse. “I am against this fratricidal war,” he added. “I say, ‘Stop the weapons and negotiate.’”
Steven Seagal was granted Russian citizenship in 2016 and, prior to the war, had publicly praised Putin.
The 69-year-old American actor once called Putin “one of the world’s greatest living leaders” but has since tempered his support for the Russian president.
Steven Seagal has long had a close relationship with Vladimir Putin and was granted Russian citizenship in 2016.AFP/Getty Images
“I look at Russia and Ukraine 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,” he told Fox News Digital.
“My prayers are that both countries will come to a positive, peaceful resolution where we can live and thrive together in peace,” Seagal added.
Paul McCartney met with Putin at the Kremlin May 24, 2003, in Moscow as he prepared for a concert on Red Square.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted the Beatles star to share a photo of himself performing in Kyiv in 2008.
“Remembering playing for our friends in Ukraine in Independence Square in 2008 and thinking of them in these difficult times,” the musician shared on his official website. “We send our love and support.”
McCartney also shared links to resources providing support to Ukraine.
Paul McCartney meets with Vladimir Putin for a talk at the Kremlin in 2003.REUTERS
Although there are no photos of Putin and Jane Fonda together, the actress previously claimed that the now-Russian president was once her tour guide.
“This guy,” Fonda said during a 2020 interview with Andy Cohen as she pointed to Putin on a screen, “was our travel guide. When I was married to Ted Turner, and he was going to do his Goodwill Games in Leningrad.
“We landed at the airport, and the person who picked us up, and drove us around, was Vladimir Putin. He was the travel guide. He was like our interpreter at the time.”
The actress recalled a moment during the trip when Putin refused to go meet his wife at the hospital.
“His wife had gotten sick, and she was heading to the hospital,” Fonda said. “He told us that in the car and Ted said, ‘You have to go to the hospital. You have to go to the hospital to check on your wife,’ and he wouldn’t. Vladimir Putin wouldn’t do it. He stayed with us.”
She has not publicly commented on the Russia-Ukraine war.
Fonda previously received backlash for posing with an anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. The actress was nicknamed “Hanoi Jane” and accused of treason.
“I am proud I went to Vietnam when I did,” she said during the Television Critics Associations Summer Press Tour in 2018. “I am so sorry that I was thoughtless enough to sit down on that gun at that time and the message that that sends to the guys who were there and their families. It’s just horrible for me to think of that.”