Norris had been part of the US Air Force until 1962 and during that time he had had a brief fling with a woman, who had kept it a secret until her daughter overheard her one day, talking about Norris.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 8, 2020. It has since been updated.
Sometimes, the nicest people make the biggest mistakes but what matters is that they make reparations and ask for forgiveness. Owning up to our mistakes can be hard sometimes and it can also lead to a great deal of pain, but honesty is better than keeping our transgressions hidden from loved ones.
Before Chuck Norris became a superstar, he was a martial arts teacher. His alcoholic father disappeared from his life after his parents got divorced and he was only 10 when they moved to California. He married his high school sweetheart Dianne Holchek in 1958. The same year he joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at the Osan Air Base in South Korea, which is where his love for martial arts began. The actor left his service in 1962 to work as a karate instructor, according to Biography.com.
The same year, the Missing in Action star cheated on his wife which led to a child out of wedlock, something he didn't know about until much later in life. In his biography, the actor revealed that he found out about his daughter only in 1991. He received a letter from a woman called Dina, who claimed to be his biological daughter, according to Contactmusic.
In his book Against All Odds: My Story, Norris admits he that the feeling of shame for lying to Dina's mother, Johanna, has never abated. He says, "To my shame, I never told Johanna that I was married."
When they met, he had been stationed in California and his brief fling with Dina's mother was not even days or weeks long. It was basically a romp in the back of a car. Johanna had tried to keep the information away from him and her daughter, assuming it would hurt both. She didn't want to disrupt his life when he became a famous martial arts teacher, who opened some 30 studios and had celebrity clients, or later in the 1980s when he became a celebrity himself.
However, her daughter heard her mother talking about Norris to a friend. Once she knew, the daughter had to get in touch with her father. Johanna tried hard to convince her daughter to not contact the Walker, Texas Ranger actor. "Johanna later confirmed to Dina that I was her biological father but that I was married and had children and she shouldn't disrupt my life,” wrote Norris in the book, according to Nikiwiki. When his daughter contacted him, in 1991, he agreed to meet her and her mother.
Norris recalled, "I didn't need DNA or blood tests. I went to her, wrapped my arms around her, and we both started crying. At that moment, it was as if I had known her all my life."
By the time, he found out about Dina, his marriage with Holechek had already disintegrated. They had divorced in 1988 and it wasn't until a decade later that he met the love of his life, Gena O'Kelley. He was a dad to three kids with his first wife and O'Kelley gave birth to twins in 2001.
Johanna has never made any comments about her relationship with Norris. Dina and he are still in contact and even holiday together. One photo from August 2015, shows the big Norris family holidaying in Hawaii. Dina, her husband Damien, and their boys Dante and Eli were also present as was Norris' wife O'Kelley.
Recently, his faith was tested when his wife got sick. O'Kelley had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and while an MRI was being performed on her, she was injected with gadolinium as it makes scans better. However, she felt that her body was on fire and it led to some long-term repercussions. The couple eventually sued the companies that created the product. Norris had revealed that he gave up his career to be by her side.
Cover Image Source: (L) Chuck Norris Instagram, (R) Getty Images | Photo by Jason Merritt