Darcy LaPier was a stunner who turned heads as a Hawaiian Tropic model. She is also a great example of personal reinvention (and still a stunner), now the subject of E!’s True Hollywood Story airing October 7.
LaPier first married her boss, Hawaiian Tropic honcho Ron Rice. Then she caught the eye of Belgian action-star Jean-Claude Van Damme, with whom she had a son, Nicholas. Her third marriage to Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, who died suddenly at age 44, ended less than a year after their nuptials.
Today, LaPier, a mother of three, has transformed herself into an award-winning professional rodeo barrel racer in her home state of Oregon. You’ll be seeing more of the intrepid athlete whose love of the equine sports has given her comfort and coping skills during some tough years.
Darcy LaPier is a bonafide rodeo star, a cowgirl and a damned fine barrel racer when the weekends roll around. Darcy and her family have thrived in the Pacific Northwest, but Hollywood and reality TV have caught wind of her unique story, and are all ears.
The premiere of Hollywood Ex Wives: The E! True Hollywood Story on Wednesday, October 7 (10pm on E!) will introduce you to a woman who has come through the ride, and survived.
The E! series “Hollywood Ex-Wives” will deliver an intimate look at some of the women who’ve been married to Hollywood’s biggest players and how they’ve gone from rags to riches, and in some cases, back to rags.
E! Producers delve into the world of privilige, lawyers, pre-nups, perks and the perils of being married to a hot property that everyone wants a piece of.
Featured ex-wives include: Gretchen Bonaduce (Danny Bonaduce), Sharise Ruddell-Neil (Vince Neil), Sandra Carradine (Keith’s Carradine) and of course, the lead “ex-wife”: Darcy LaPier (Jean Claude Van Damme).
From her model years, to her Trophy wife rocky marriage with Jean Claude and the historic divorce, and her subsequent marriage to HerbalLife founder Mark Hughes which ended with his tragic death, Darcy LaPier’s story serves as a lesson for anyone with a past, as she rebuilds her life inside and out of the rodeo circuit for a docu-drama series that will be announced later this Fall.
Monsters and Critics was granted an interview with Darcy LaPier:
Darcy, you went from one high profile marriage to the next, each union seemingly was more newsworthy and tragic than the one before it. After the death of your last husband, how did you pull through this shock, heal emotionally, take care of yourself and your children and reinvent yourself?
Darcy: First, you have to allow yourself to grieve. I traveled for a year. I didn’t want to take on any new projects in Entertainment. I wanted to move to Oregon and fulfill my lifelong dream of living on a farm or ranch. I couldn’t have made a better choice, it’s been perfect for the children.
When did the rodeo bug bite you? Was this a childhood dream or a later in life epiphany for you?
Darcy: After I moved to Oregon, I went to a rodeo with my father. I saw fast horses come storming into the arena with beautiful ladies all glammed up! I said that’s it! I want to do that!
What is it about horses, and the sport that pull you to it?
Darcy: Horses are the ultimate therapy. I lost my husband, my father and grandfather within a year and a half. I found that when I rode, no matter how I felt, they always put me in a better mood. They show you comfort, trust and unconditional love. I know its strange because I come from the beauty pageant world, but I like that rush of the race.
Barrel racing is a speed event, the only sport in the PRCA for Women. You race your horse through a cloverleaf pattern as fast as you can go. Fastest time win prizes which can include titles, points, saddles and cash.
We travel in a four horse live-in trailer and I usually drive the full semi to pull it. It has a 14 ft live-in quarters. I love the western style!
Injuries are rampant in rodeo work, any good war stories you can share?
Darcy: I’m prone to them! I’ve always been someone who learned to run before they could walk, but I’ve also been known to be clumsy. Just a few injuries I’ve incurred are a compound fracture – my left arm; a torn sternum; a plate in my neck with six screws after I herniated two discs; a broken foot; some chipped teeth and plenty of broken fingers.
Most every competitor has something so working it out is a must and massages are a necessity not a luxury! Us rodeo girls usually take better care of our horses than ourselves. They get ice therapies, special shoes and bedding – I’ve come to find that if you take care of the horse, they take care of you. The horse always the most important!
You are a glamor puss, an ex-model; is Oregon satisfying that part of you?
Darcy: No it doesn’t! I love and miss Los Angeles and its glamorous scene. Lately, I’ve been traveling back every week for business and that’s been satisfying me… for now.
How did your reality show “happen”? Who found you again?
Darcy: A producer had seen that I had become a serious professional barrel racer. With the combination of my past life in the Hollywood spotlight and current life as a rough and tumble kick ass cowgirl, they loved the idea and me!
You have weathered a lot of tragic events. What would you want people to take away from your reality show?
Darcy: I hope people take away that if you truly want something, you one hundred percent can do it and have it! Gotta work hard, have a little faith and never, never give up.
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