The father-son duo was seen togther on-screen in the movie Rocky V.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 8, 2020. It has since been updated.
As parents, we always want the best for our kids. At times, we put all our plans on hold to make sure our children have the best life. But when our idea of their future does not match with theirs, clashes happen. However, that never means we stop loving them. Sylvester Stallone had a tumultuous relationship with his eldest son, Sage. They had their differences about his career and life, most of them coming from genuine care for his wellbeing. But when he tragically left the world, Stallone was inconsolable, so much so that he chose to stay disconnected for a long while from the rest of the world and maintained stoic silence in order to cope with the overwhelming grief.
Sage was just 36 years old when he died in his Los Angeles apartment on July 13, 2012, after suffering from a heart attack, according to CNN. He was the eldest son of the actor with his first wife, actress Sasha Czack.
According to TODAY, Stallone had released a statement at the time that read, "When a parent loses a child there is no greater pain. Therefore I am imploring people to respect my talented son’s memory and feel compassion for his loving mother Sasha. This agonizing loss will be felt for the rest of our lives. Sage was our first child and the center of our universe and I am humbly begging for all to have my son’s memory and soul left in peace."
Stallone and Sage had their fair share of ups and downs in the past, but they always found their way back to each other somehow. That's how it is between people who love each other despite their differences. When the Rambo star divorced Sage's mother, Sasha, amid rumors of his affairs, it probably strained his relationship with his son all the more. Years later, they rekindled their relationship and starred in the movie Rocky V as father and son. Their on-screen chemistry was undeniable, and the two appeared together for several interviews.
According to PEOPLE, Sage admitted that some of the scenes were, in fact, so close to his real life that they did not require acting. “When I was screaming: ‘You never spent time with me! You never spent time with my mother!’ that was true. I was looking into my father’s face and really saying that,” said Sage. He continued, "I got a lot of things out. We broke into tears a few times. After the film, everything changed. We’d do anything for each other.”
However, Stallone did slip a few times as a dad. Once, Stallone had publically insulted Sage and made fun of his appearance. “He avoids the gym like the plague and is interested in abstract, art-house films. He has put himself in a position in which he’ll never have to be compared to me," according to PEOPLE.
Following Sage's death, many of his friends talked about his struggle to get along with his father. “The love–hate would go back and forth all the time,” recalls longtime friend and fellow actor Stephen Wozniak, according to PEOPLE.
He continued, "[Sage] would say, ‘I loved that rare ending in Nighthawks that my dad was really sticking up for.’ And then a few minutes later he would look in a magazine and say, ‘Look at these tribal tattoos that my dad is getting at age 66. What is he doing?’" He was also unhappy with his dad after he cast the much leaner Milo Ventimiglia in Rocky Balboa instead of him.
But all the pain and love came raging into the heart of the father when Sage left the world. At the end of the day, no fight is as long as life. But when life is cut short suddenly, the fights turn meaningless and a deep sense of regret and incompleteness can take over.
"It’s very, very tough. It’s a horrible situation, but time hopefully will heal, and you try to get through it, but it’s just something that’s a reality of life," said the grieving dad, according to Hollywood Reporter.