French actor Gerard Depardieu, who famously pulled up stakes in his home country for Belgium because of high taxes, says he is now actually a “citizen of the world.”
Despite his well-publicized row with politicians, in an interview with French media Depardieu, 64, claims that the French public still loves him and the feeling is mutual. The French citizenry hold him in high regard, he claimed, because he’s “a rebel… who is sometimes drunk.” That same “hooligan” reputation is what caught the attention of Vladimir Putin, Depardieu suggested, who earlier this year issued the actor a Russian passport.
The Cyrano de Bergerac star said he wants to acquire seven passports before all is said and done to help him avoid needing visas. In the meantime, as a part-time resident of France, he claims that he still coughs up 30 percent of his income in French taxes and that he is not a tax exile. That withstanding, he deemed France “almost a Bolshevik country” in part because of the scandal involving France’s ex-Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac who was charged with fraud after it was discovered that he held a secret Swiss bank account. He even claimed that Russia enjoys a news media that is more free than its counterpart in France.
The actor denied ever officially seeking citizenship in Belgium, however, but that he “was pushed (into becoming a semi-expatriate)” by high taxes. Depardieu added that “I know that I love the French people and that I have never left them. I was born here with nothing and for the last 30 years I have employed 100 people.”
In April, Depardieu was a no-show for an April Paris court date on charges of riding his motor scooter while intoxicated. The court is expected to make a ruling in that case this week. He is currently filming a movie about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal.
Depardieu insists that his politics are neither left nor right although he supported Nicolas Sarkozy in the May 2012 presidential election. “Sarkozy was rejected by the French press, Hollande has been rejected by the French people,” he declared.
Are you a fan of Gerard Depardieu despite or because of all this controversy?