Chuck Norris gave up his entire career to care for his sick wife – he will always call her his ‘best friend’

There are few actors more iconic than Chuck Norris, at least when it comes to stunts, martial arts, and through-and-through badass films.

Over the years, the 82-year-old Oklahoma native has featured in around 40 films, and it wasn’t long into his acting career that he got his big breakthrough.

Chuck has had two long marriages; his second one is still going strong today. Moreover, he is a loving father to five children.

Recently, though, he shared some rather troubling news regarding the health of his wife.

Let’s take a closer look at Chuck Norris’ career and life.

Chuck Norris was born on March 10, 1940, in Ryan, Oklahoma. The oldest of three boys, when describing himself as a young kid, he said he was “the shy kid who never excelled at anything in school.”

Chuck Norris – early life
But in fact, Norris’ childhood was quite tumultuous. His father was a heavy drinker, and when Chuck was just age 10, he suddenly disappeared, leaving his mother, Wilma, all by herself. She singlehandedly raised Chuck and his two siblings, but by the time Chuck Norris had turned 15, the family had moved 16 times. Ultimately, they settled in California.

Now, Wilma was a devoted Christian, and ensured that Chuck and his brothers – Wieland and Arron – went to church wherever they lived. As a result.
Chuck attended North Torrance High School, though by 14, he had started to take on more responsibility at home. As well as studying, he helped his mother in taking care of his brothers while she worked.

“God has a plan for you,” Wilma would tell Chuck daily.

“She loves Jesus with all of her heart and soul and made sure we understood that [growing up],” he was reported as saying by Baptist Press. “She influenced me spiritually and instilled in me a sense of responsibility that carried over in my later adult life, she always told me ‘God has plans for you,’ and I didn’t know what she meant. I think I do now.”

It was in 1958 that Chuck married his high school sweetheart, Dianne Holechek. But we’ll come back to that in a short while.

Around the same time, he had started to take an interest in the army. He ended up joining the US Airforce the very same year he tied the knot with Holechek.

How Chuck Norris got his name
Chuck Norris was initially stationed at the Osan Air Base in South Korea, and it was there that he began to study martial arts.

As fate would have it, it was thanks to his time in the service that he got his now-legendary name.

During boot camp at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas, a Hispanic guy living in the barrack with Chuck asked if he knew what Carlos meant in English.

“I said,’ yea, it is Charles,’” Norris explained on his website. “Then he said,’ The nickname for Charles is Chuck. That is what I am going to call you.’ Well, all the guys started calling me Chuck and it stuck.”

As per the US Army website, Chuck soon “realized that he couldn’t arrest a rowdy drunk without pulling his weapon.” So, he decided to study martial arts. His instructor was Grand Master Mun – instructor Tae Kwon Do – at the Osan Gym.

When he left the service in 1961, Chuck began working as a karate instructor. At that point, he had a black belt in karate and a brown belt in judo.

Chuck would go on to be something of a karate studio franchise owner. He opened more than 30 karate studios in the 1960s in the US, and through them taught many celebrities, including Priscilla Presley and Steve McQueen.

Moreover, he competed in numerous tournaments, winning the World Middleweight Karate Championship title for the first time in 1968. Norris would defend the title five times, and was soon seen as one of the greatest fighters in martial arts history.

“I was competing against guys with years and years of experience”
In 1974, Chuck retired from competition. By that point, his chain of karate schools had fallen into ruin.

“I thought that maybe 500 schools was better than owning six schools, well turns out it wasn’t. Anyway, two years later, I lost everything. It took me five years to get out of that hole and pay all the creditors back. In the meantime, I was trying to decide what I was going to do with my life,” Chuck explained.

As mentioned, Chuck had tutored Steve McQueen. It turned out that the actor had actually told Norris to try his hand at acting. The problem was that Chuck had no money, and acting classes were costly.

“Finally I found an acting school that I was able to take on my GI bill through the military,” Norris said. “So I went back to school to learn acting. Then I went out trying to find work (as an actor) but I was competing against guys with years and years of experience.”

“I said ‘this isn’t going to work.’ So I wound up writing my own screenplay and finally, you know through sheer determination and faith I sold the idea and made it a reality. That was in 1977. That really was the beginning of my career.”

Before that, however, Chuck would take on what is today considered a cult role. In 1972, he appeared in Return of the Dragon, with a particular highlight of the film being a fight scene involving him and action star Bruce Lee, staged in the famous Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

The story behind the legendary scene is quite something.

“It was amazing because when I got to Rome my fighting weight was 168 (lbs.) and at the time Bruce weighed about 145,” Chuck said.

Chuck Norris – film career & net worth
“The producers of the film looked at us together and said to me ‘you know you two don’t look much different in size, you need to be bigger than Bruce, can we make you bigger?’ I said ‘what do you mean?’ He said ‘can you put on some weight?’ I said ‘well, I don’t know.’ You know by this time I’m intimidated because I’ve never done this before, I’m scared and I said ‘well how much weight do you want me to put on?’ He said ‘well can you put on 20 pounds?’ I said ‘well I’ll try.’”

Norris continued: “So I started eating hamburgers and drinking malt. But I was training every day so I was burning the weight right back off again. I had to literally stop training and just eat. And then of course you know it wasn’t muscle it was more fat than it was muscle (laughs). So I went up to about 180 for that fight scene. That’s why you didn’t see me do any jumping kicks I couldn’t get off the ground.”

Chuck might not have won Academy Awards during his time in the spotlight, but his career in acting has been quite something. All told, he’s been in around 40 films, including the 1984 film Missing in Action, Code of Silence (1985), and The Delta Force (1986).

As the 1990s approached, Chuck’s career as an actor began to fade. He wasn’t landing prominent roles anymore, and so decided to create some new projects on the side. The result? Well, today he has a net worth of around $70 million.

Norris has always been a big supporter of several charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 1990, with the help of President George H. W. Bush, he started his own charitable organization, Kickstart.

The organization provides martial arts training to middle-school students in the US. The purpose of the training is not to teach kids how to fight. Instead, it’s designed to raise their self-esteem, so they don’t feel they have to fight in the first place.

Chuck Norris – family, wife, children
“Kickstart, I think, is one of God’s plans for me and for Gina, too,” Norris said. “We work with kids who are already going down the wrong path, who already have two strikes against them, inner-city children who have no self start. And our program Kickstart, which means building strong, moral character in our youth through the martial arts, is a way for us to give back.”

As mentioned earlier, Chuck tied the knot with his high-school sweetheart, Dianne Holechek, in 1958. The two stayed together until 1988, and share children, Mike and Eric.

Then, in 1997, Chuck went on a date at a restaurant in Dallas. However, it was another woman that caught his attention. That woman was Gena O’Kelley, and the two started dating soon after. Chuck and Gina married in 1998 and remain deeply in love to this day. For their 20th anniversary, Chuck took to Facebook to post an emotional tribute to his wife, whom he calls his best friend.

“22 years ago I met the love of my life. And we are now celebrating 20 years of marriage together,” Norris wrote.

“Gena… Thank you for being not only the best wife a man could ask for but the greatest mom and best friend as well. I love you Gena and look forward to celebrating many more years together.”

Gena and Chuck Norris have welcomed two children together, Danielle and Dakota. However, about a decade ago, their lives turned upside-down.

Gave up his film career to take care of ill wife
Since then, Gena’s health has been deteriorating. As per reports, in 2013, she received an injection. According to Gena herself, something felt wrong almost instantly.

“Within hours after the first jab, I felt like my whole body was on fire — as if acid had been passed through it. The burning was isolated at first, but it just kept spreading… I just lay in bed on an IV for five months and had to have round-the-clock nursing care. Chuck slept beside me on the couch and never left. I prayed that I would live to raise my children,” she explained.

Since then, Gena has suffered from nerve pain and kidney problems. They believe she was poisoned by a chemical injected into her multiple times during magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI).

Gena and Chuck have publicly sued 11 healthcare companies in a bid for justice.

Since then, Gena has needed care, and her husband has always been there. In fact, he gave up everything else to care for his wife full-time. According to the couple, they have spent around $2 million on treatments alone.

“I’ve given up my film career to concentrate on Gena, my whole life right now is about keeping her alive,” Chuck said. “I believe this issue is so important.”

“It’s infuriating and heartbreaking,” Gena added. “It’s a vicious, ugly secret that has been kept hidden — something Chuck and I are determined to change.”

We wish Chuck Norris and Gena all the best in the future. Hopefully, she will fully recover soon.

Related Articles


  1. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked
    up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this
    site, as I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I could
    get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?

    Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances
    times will often affect your placement in google and can damage
    your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for
    a lot more of your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again very

  2. Pingback: spin238
  3. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really enjoyed surfing around your
    blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  4. I know this if off topic but I’m looking
    into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get set up?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive.

    Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks

  5. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you
    relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about,
    why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos
    to your blog when you could be giving us something informative
    to read?

  6. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your site?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  7. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and
    bookmark your website to come back later. Many thanks

  8. I have been surfing online greater than 3 hours lately, yet I by no means discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is pretty worth sufficient for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content material as you probably did, the net might be a lot more useful than ever before. “No nation was ever ruined by trade.” by Benjamin Franklin.

  9. I’ll immediately take hold of your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me understand so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  10. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  11. I just couldn’t go away your site before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard information an individual provide for your guests? Is going to be again regularly to check up on new posts.

  12. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your
    website is fantastic, let alone the content!

  13. Pingback: biilad rafidain
  14. I’ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Please permit me know so that I may subscribe.

  15. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I might as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your
    web page yet again.

  16. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It
    absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & aid other customers like its helped me.
    Great job.

  17. I believe that is one of the most vital information for me.
    And i’m glad studying your article. However wanna remark
    on some normal issues, The web site taste is wonderful, the articles is
    truly great : D. Good activity, cheers

  18. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.I
    will be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back
    from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great work,
    have a nice afternoon!

  19. Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to grasp so much approximately this,
    like you wrote the guide in it or something. I feel that you simply
    could do with a few percent to force the message home a little bit, however instead of that,
    that is excellent blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  20. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.

    I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks
    for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  21. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or
    did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few
    simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Thanks

  22. Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed
    to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they
    just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a
    signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  23. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive
    the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  24. Right now it sounds like Expression Engine
    is the preferred blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  25. Hello! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick
    shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?
    Thank you so much!

  26. If you are going for most excellent contents like myself, simply
    visit this web site everyday because it provides feature contents, thanks

  27. My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was totally right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not imagine
    simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  28. I am typically to running a blog and i actually recognize your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and preserve checking for brand new information.

  29. Great work! This is the type of info that should be shared around the internet. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my website . Thanks =)

  30. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

  31. F*ckin¦ remarkable things here. I¦m very satisfied to look your post. Thanks a lot and i’m having a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  32. I have been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours as of late, but I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It¦s beautiful value enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content material as you did, the net can be much more useful than ever before.

  33. Pretty component to content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to say that I acquire actually loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing for your feeds or even I fulfillment you get admission to consistently quickly.

  34. Hi there this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  35. Very good site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Many thanks!

  36. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thanks, I?¦ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your website?

  37. You made some first rate points there. I seemed on the internet for the problem and found most individuals will go together with along with your website.

  38. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  39. obviously like your website however you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to inform the reality nevertheless I will surely come again again.

  40. Wow, fantastic weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you made running a blog glance easy. The entire glance of your site is magnificent, let alone the content material!

  41. I do enjoy the way you have presented this specific problem plus it does supply me some fodder for thought. Nevertheless, because of just what I have experienced, I just hope when the actual responses pack on that men and women stay on issue and not start on a tirade regarding the news du jour. Anyway, thank you for this fantastic point and whilst I do not necessarily agree with the idea in totality, I regard your perspective.

  42. I feel that is one of the most important info for me. And i am happy studying your article. However should observation on few common issues, The website style is perfect, the articles is in reality nice : D. Just right job, cheers

  43. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve take into account your stuff prior to and you’re simply too fantastic. I really like what you have got right here, really like what you’re stating and the way by which you assert it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to care for to stay it wise. I can’t wait to learn far more from you. This is actually a terrific site.

  44. I was just seeking this info for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative web sites in top of the list. Usually the top websites are full of garbage.

  45. Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, and I’m shocked why this accident didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  46. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

  47. hello!,I love your writing so so much! share we communicate more approximately your article on AOL? I need an expert on this house to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking ahead to look you.

  48. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!

  49. What’s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & assist other customers like its helped me. Good job.

  50. Thanks for any other informative website. The place else may I am getting that type of info written in such a perfect means? I’ve a project that I am simply now running on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such info.

  51. I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  52. Lottery Defeater Software: What is it? Lottery Defeater Software is a completely automated plug-and-play lottery-winning software. The Lottery Defeater software was developed by Kenneth.

  53. Situs yang menyediakan layanan porno ilegal dengan video porno
    anak kecil adalah ancaman besar bagi keamanan dan moral masyarakat Indonesia.
    Konten semacam ini tidak hanya melanggar undang-undang, tetapi juga
    menghancurkan masa depan anak-anak yang menjadi korban. Pemerintah Indonesia melarang keras dan mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap situs-situs ini.

  54. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something like this before. So good to search out anyone with some authentic ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is something that’s wanted on the web, someone with slightly originality. helpful job for bringing one thing new to the internet!

  55. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was entirely right.
    This put up actually made my day. You cann’t consider
    just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  56. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Cheers

  57. Thank you for another informative web site. Where else may I am getting that kind of information written in such an ideal manner? I’ve a undertaking that I am just now running on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

  58. Wonderful blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any tips? Appreciate it!

  59. I haven¦t checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  60. Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this post to him.
    Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  61. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more
    of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  62. Heya just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried
    it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

  63. It’s truly a nice and useful piece of info.
    I’m glad that you simply shared this useful info with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank
    you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button