Sylvester Stallone Says He Was ‘Embarrassed’ as Parent When He Was Unemployed


Sylvester Stallone is reflecting on a painful period in his life.

During an appearance on Unwaxed — the podcast his daughters Sophia, 27, and Sistine, 25, host — the actor revealed there was a time when he felt ashamed to be their dad because he couldn’t find work.

“I was embarrassed to be your father,” he recalled of a time in the early 2000s when he struggled to secure acting work. 

“I felt so worthless. You didn’t even really know what I did for a living,” he added. “He just wanders around looking depressed.”

Stallone, now 77, experienced huge commercial success in the 1970s and ’80s with the Rocky movies, the Rambo franchise and other big-screen hits. However, there came a lull in his career when roles didn’t come as often.

Sophia and Sistine recalled on Unwaxed that their father would watch movies “all day” during that time.

Stallone says he’s a much better dad later in life.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

“When the good times go away, that’s when you find out your family is so important,” he told his daughters. “The ship sailed on me, it was pretty bad. And I realized that people you thought were your friends are not your friends.”

He added, “I thought I was definitely done. The phone wasn’t ringing.”

The Tulsa King star has since bounced back with starring roles in the Expendables films, Creed spinoffs and Guardians of the Galaxy. A documentary about his career, titled Sly, recently debuted on Netflix.

Stallone also shares daughter Scarlet, 21, with wife Jennifer Flavin, with whom he stars on the reality series The Family Stallone.

In November 2022, Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter that he regretted at one point putting his career ahead of his family life.

“Sometimes I put the work ahead of [my family], and that is a tragic mistake which won’t happen again,” he said. The actor also explained to THR that he felt “as though I wasted a lot of time” in his career and “now I realize there are only so many bullets left in the gun.”

Sophia Rose Stallone, Jennifer Flavin, Sylvester Stallone, Scarlet Rose Stallone and Sistine Stallone attend A Sense Of Home’s First Ever Annual Gala – The Backyard Bowl at a Private Residence on November 01, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.

Stefanie Keenan/Getty

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The Family Stallone series, which premiered in May, revealed that Stallone “becomes full-on Rambo” when he meets his daughter’s boyfriends.

“The first time a boy came over to meet my parents, he’s going in for the first kiss and I was so nervous but I was excited, and he looks up at the balcony and he goes, ‘Oh my God. What is that?’ And it was my dad standing on the second-floor balcony backlit so you just see a silhouette,” Sistine said during a confessional on the show. “He’s so cinematic in the most unnecessary [ways].”

Unwaxed is available on podcast platforms.

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