As the war between Russia and Ukraine rages on, many industries have sanctioned Russia, including Hollywood.
While Russia is not a leading market for Hollywood, it was one of the top six grossing box office markets globally in 2021, according to Statista.
And over the years, celebs have met with Russian President Vladimir Putin as they visit the country for events like pro fights and concerts.
Here’s a look at some celebs who have either met Putin once or met him briefly.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Mickey Rourke recalled meeting Putin when Rourke had a “professional fight” in Russia four years ago.
“I had the time of my life,” Rourke told Fox News Digital of visiting the country. “People could not have been nicer, more polite and more respectful. I actually went with Putin. He took us to a very famous museum in St. Petersburg.”
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 that — but I saw a man with empathy and who was really moved by what these kids are going through.”
Now Rourke, who once wore a shirt with Putin’s face on it and allegedly spoke kindly of him at the time, sees things differently, calling what is happening in Ukraine a “nightmare scenario.”
“Then all these other things are happening now,” 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 in his soul to just say, ‘Okay, that’s it,'” Rourke said.
Leonardo DiCaprio was once photographed with Putin after the two attended the 2010 International Tiger Conservation Forum at the Mikhailovsky Theater in Saint Petersburg.
After Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, DiCaprio made donations to humanitarian groups CARE, International Rescue Committee, the United Nations 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 shared additional resources on his personal Instagram account on Friday.
“The victims of the war in Ukraine have lost everything from loved ones to basic survival materials,” he wrote alongside photos from Ukraine. “Humanitarian organizations like @SavetheChildren, @careorg, @rescueorg and @refugees are on the ground, using their staff and resources to support families and innocent people.”
Film director Oliver Stone, who previously worked with the Russian president on the documentary The Putin Interviews, told KCRW’s Robert Scheer in early February that the US media had “no evidence” that Russia intended to invade Ukraine .
Stone was proven wrong when Putin launched his attack on February 24, and Stone subsequently issued a statement condemning Russia’s “aggression.”
“Although the United States has many wars of aggression on its conscience, that does not justify Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. A dozen wrongs don’t make a right. It was wrong for Russia to invade,” Stone said.
Gerard Depardieu, an alleged friend of Putin, has spoken out 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 is mutual.”
Before Putin launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, Depardieu said on French television: “Leave Vladimir alone.”
When the war started, the French actor denounced it, but didn’t specifically call out Putin.
“Russia and Ukraine have always been brother countries,” Depardieu said in an interview with Agence France-Presse. “I am against this fratricidal war,” he added. “I say, ‘Stop the guns and negotiate.'”
Steven Seagal received Russian citizenship in 2016 and had publicly praised Putin before the war.
The 69-year-old American actor once called Putin “one of the greatest living leaders in the world” but has since softened his support for the Russian president.
“I look at Russia and Ukraine as one family and I really believe it’s an outside entity that spends huge sums of money on propaganda to get the two countries into conflict 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 prosper together in peace,” Seagal added.
Paul McCartney met with Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 24, 2003 as he was preparing for a concert in Red Square.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted the Beatles star to share a photo of himself performing in Kyiv in 2008.
“I remember playing for our friends in Ukraine on 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 supporting Ukraine.
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, pointing at Putin on a screen, “was our tour guide. When I was married to Ted Turner and he wanted 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 guide. He was something like our interpreter back then.”
The actress recalled a moment during the trip when Putin refused to meet his wife in the hospital.
“His wife had become ill and she was on her way to the hospital,” Fonda said. “He told us that in the car and Ted said, ‘You need to go to the hospital. You have to go to the hospital to check on your wife,’ and he didn’t want to. Vladimir Putin would not do it. He stayed with us.”
She has not publicly commented on the Russia-Ukraine war.
Fonda had previously received backlash for posing with an anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The actress was nicknamed “Hanoi Jane” and was accused of treason.
“I’m proud that I went to Vietnam back then,” she said during the Television Critics Associations Summer Press Tour in 2018. “I’m so sorry that I was thoughtless enough to focus on that gun and that.” sending message to the guys who were there and their families. It’s just awful for me to think about it.”