Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone are synonymous with the Rocky movies. As well as being co-stars in multiple box office hits, the two men are like “brothers” although their relationship hasn’t been without its ups and downs. Dolph appears alongside Sylvester in his new reality series The Family Stallone in 2023.

The two actors first met during casting sessions for Rocky IV and they went on to star in the movie as Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa. Today, they still remain friends almost four decades later.

However, Dolph and Sylvester Stallone have had some tough moments during their friendship and lives together as colleagues.

Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren stand together smiling in suits at Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Creed" - Red Carpet
Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Who is Dolph Lundgren?

Dolph Lundgren is a Swedish actor who was born Hans Lundgren in 1957.

Before his break-out acting role came around in 1985, Dolph became a black belt in karate and also became qualified for a Master’s degree level in chemical engineering.

In 1985 he was cast as Rocky’s opponent, Ivan Drago, in Rocky IV.

The two went on to star in more movies together including The Expendables and Creed II.

He stars in Sylvester Stallone’s reality series The Family Stallone in 2023.

Dolph almost knocked out Sly Stallone

Despite spending their lives appearing in films alongside one another, Dolph and Sylvester clashed many times.

A 2023 report from The Express reveals that Dolph almost “knocked Stallone out” after he made him cry on his lunch break.

He said that Stallone “yelled” at him “in front of the whole crew” when they were filming Expendables 1.

Dolph explained: “It was like, My grandmother could do it better than that. What the f***, what are you doing?’ You know, basically in front of everybody. And there was press there that day too, international press.

“We took a lunch break and I remember, I was kind of in tears. I was really upset. I called my wife that time, and I basically just told her, ‘If he says one more word, I’m gonna knock him out and fk this movie, I’m outta here. I’m just gonna punch him out and f**king leave.’”

Despite having some fall-outs, the two men are friends to this day and appear together on The Family Stallone.

Rocky star’s cancer battle

Both Sylvester and Dolph have been through many hardships and heartbreaks in their lives. Sylvester grieved the loss of his 36-year-old son in 2012 after he passed from a heart attack.

In a 2023 interview with Graham Bensinger, Dolph explained that he has been battling cancer since 2015.

At one point he was told that he had two to three years to live, however, after getting a second doctor’s opinion, he was put on a treatment that effectively reduced his tumors last year.

During the interview, he also said that he learned karate to confront his abusive father and that he’s an advocate for therapy.


In the US, contact Cancer Care at 800‑813‑HOPE (4673) or visit this link, [email protected]. You can also call the American Cancer Society on 1-800-227-234 or visit their website (Find Support Programs and Services in Your Area)

In the UK you can call Breast Cancer Now free on 0808 800 6000 or visit Cancer Research UK (Resources and support), or Macmillan Cancer Support (Breast cancer).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website. For the UK, you can visit the Refuge website here, or Women’s Aid.

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