Vanilla Ice is an American rapper, songwriter, actor, and television host who caught the attention of people with his hit songs in the late ’80s through the early ’90s. Without it sounding offensive, he can be said to be one of those who rose to fame in the music industry but quickly lost relevance as well. He struggled severally to have himself in the spotlight again but was unsuccessful with each effort he took. At a time, he tried to commit suicide but that failed as well and he’s lucky to still be alive today. He later left music for other activities where he regained his self-confidence and came back to music.
Well, his story is not entirely a sad one, some of his hit songs are still very much loved today and at least, he should be given credit for that. Here is all there is to know about Vanilla Ice’s bio, wife and kids, net worth, and body statistics.
Vanilla Ice Biography
Vanilla was born as Robert Matthew Van Winkle in Dallas, Texas, on October 31, 1967. His mother’s name is Camilla Beth Dickerson while his father is not known. He took the name of his stepfather who his mother was with when he was born. He can sadly be said to have come from a broken home and this affected him greatly. He grew up moving between places as his stepfather who was a car dealer often moved around. Due to the numerous problems which bedeviled his background, he was not well organized emotionally and psychologically and this was vivid in his poor academic performance. He even dropped out from R. L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas, before graduating but what he couldn’t excel in academically, he made up for with his musical talent.
He was exceptional in poetry, knew how to rap and was a good dancer as well. Hip-hop affected Van Winkle at an early age, as he said “It’s a very big passion of mine because I love poetry. I was just heavily influenced by that whole movement and it’s moulded me into who I am today.”
By his teenage years, Robert had perfected his breakdance moves which led to his friends who were mostly blacks nicknaming him ‘ice’ because he knew how to perform the ice move excellently. He was also given another nickname ‘vanilla’ because he was the only one amongst his friends who wasn’t black. Thus his stage name Vanilla Ice was coined.
Vanilla Ice’s Venture into Music
At first, he was popular for his dance moves as he often defeated anybody who challenged him in it. He became frequent at Dallas nightclubs with his dance troupe The Vanilla Ice Posse or The V.I.P. His stellar performance caught the attention of City Lights nightclub owner Tommy Quon who offered him an opportunity to perform regularly in his club. This was a win-win for both parties as Vanilla was already drawing attention to himself and the club provided him an audience he could perform to regularly.
As he was performing in nightclubs, he was also writing songs and by 1989, his first album which featured his first hit song titled Ice Ice Baby was released. The song was on the list of frequently played songs on most radio stations then. The success of this song landed him a deal with SBK Records. This same year, he released a single Play that Funky Music which did not fall short of the success of his first work.
Vanilla’s Decline in Music
However, his success came with questions of people asking about his background and all that sort of questions which he hadn’t disclosed at that time. It was said that SBK Records cooked up a false biographical account of the star which was meant to be a representation of what his childhood was like, how he ventured into music all those types of things people would like to read about a music star. Ice was ignorant of this, however, as he would later, in an interview, say something entirely different from what people had read to be his biography.
This discrepancy infuriated a lot of people including his once-loyal fans who started seeing faults in his lyrics. He was accused of making songs that were bereft of creativity and suffers from an acute dearth of originality. His lyrics than were said to be mainly a whole mix of the African-American style of music.
Vanilla tried fruitlessly to get his musical acts trending but with each attempt he made, he sank deeper into a state of musical oblivion. His 1994 Mind Blowin single was not potent enough to resurrect him musically and by July of the same year, he thought it comforting to call it quits with life by taking a drug overdose. He got close to dying but was lucky to escape with a near-death experience. That is why we still have him today.
When he got back to the land of the living where we are currently, he decided to bury the former music star in him – Vanilla Ice and take on his real identity, Robert Matthew Van Winkle.
Van Winkle having seen it all started extreme sports. He went jet skiing competitively which he really enjoyed outside the hustle and struggle of his former music self. He even opened a goods store for sporting items called “2 The Xtreme” in Miami Beach. Lets mention here that in his younger years, he actively participated in motorsports and was said to have won two championships.
With his new found confidence, he felt poised to come back to music again. We saw him do Hard to Swallow in the album “My Much-Needed Therapy Session” in 1998. In 2001 and 2003 he gave us Bipolar and Hot Sex respectively. 2005 saw the release of his album “Platinum Underground.” In 2008 Ice Is Back: Hip Hop Classics was released and it featured cover songs by artists like Public Enemy, Cypress Hill and Bob Marley.
None of these his later songs was able to stir the wave his songs at the beginning of his career did. Well, he has made his mark and we are glad he did have some shine in his own time.
Vanilla Ice has a net worth put at $18 million. His wealth revolves around his musical success of the 80’s through the 90’s when he topped charts.
Family – Wife and Kids
Vanilla dated the famous singer Madonna for 8 months in the year 1990. However, their relationship didn’t go beyond that as they did not marry or have any kid/s together. None that we know or heard of.
The once famous musician later met Laura Giaritta in 1995 and they fell head-over-heels in love with each other and decided to tie the nuptial cord, thus, they got married in 1997. Their marriage has since seen to the birth of two daughters Dusti Rain, born in 1998 and Keelee Breeze born in 2000.
In October 2016, his wife filed for divorce citing an irretrievably broken relationship as the basis for wanting to quit the marriage union. Vanilla spent the next 6 months trying to talk her out of it but it seemed like the same fate which followed him in his music has found its way into his over 20-year old marriage.
In May 2017, however, he stirred things up by countersuing the divorce petition. This attracted more public attention to the crumbling union as people began asking questions. It was learnt that prior to Laura filling for divorce, the couple had since been separated but were occasionally dating each other when they felt like. It means they come back to each other at times as man and woman. This is not wrong because they are married.
The counter-petition Ice’s lawyer John T. Christiansen filed has it that Ice wants 50/50 custody of their children and, if Laura “litigates this case vexatiously,” he wants her to pay his attorney’s fees. The lawyer also disclosed that Ice won’t give her alimony, saying “the wife can contribute to her own support.”
Not much information has made it out about the status of the divorce proceedings as both parties are treating it as a private matter.
Height and Body Stats
The former star certainly looks younger than for how long he has been around. He has a healthy-looking muscular body structure like most other men who work out regularly. However, the exact digits of his biceps, chest etc are not publicly known. For his height, you will be the same height as him if you stood at over 6 feet, while for weight; he weighs 86kg or 189 pounds.