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1994 Press Photo Jean-Claude Van Damme, Hard Target

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Caption: Jean-Claude Van Damme"Hard Target"Van Damme describes pet sorrowBelgian-born action-picture star Jean-Claude Van Damme tells all in a soul-searching interview in the latest issue of Playboy, reserving his most meaningful remarks for reminiscences about the early years.Before he came to America, he recalls, he had a blow chow named Tara. "I really loved this dog," says Van Damme. "I treated her like a girlfriend, the love of my life."Walking Tara one day, he saw a man walking a big healthy-looking dog and decided to give Tara to the man "because I cannot take her with me to America."A year later, he went back to Europe and wanted to see his dog again but was afraid such a visit would depress her. "So I bought sunglasses and I put on a hat for the dog not to recognise me. When I saw my dog walking, she had holes with no hair, and I said to myself, "You are such an idiot .. You're doing two-bucks-an-hour jobs, and here is the dog who is loving you like nobody else, and you left her.""I wanted to go and touch her, smell her, but if I did then she would be happy for one day, and then become even more broken. Life if you go back to a woman you once loved, but now respect as your best friend, she thinks that it's love. A woman will not understand."He spent three days looking at Tara, "crying beneath my glasses. I left and returned a year and a half later, and she was gone."And the same thing happened to my parrot."Free Press wires.

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