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Billy Blanks

Billy Blanks, April 2006
Born September 1, 1955(1955-09-01)
Erie, Pennsylvania

Billy Wayne Blanks (born September 1, 1955) is an American fitness guru, martial artist, actor, and the inventor of the Tae Bo exercise program. His brother Michael "the Kicking Machine" Blanks is also a successful actor and martial artist.




Blanks began his study of the martial arts at the age of eleven.[1]

Blanks began his acting career in the 1980s where he starred in several unsuccessful action-adventure feature films. In the late 1980s, Blanks invented the Tae Bo workout, while running a karate studio in Quincy, Massachusetts. He used components of his martial arts and boxing training. The name is a portmanteau of tae kwon do and boxing. Blanks opened a fitness center in Los Angeles to teach his new workout. He later attracted some celebrity clients such as Paula Abdul and the popularity of the workout quickly grew, becoming a pop culture phenomenon after Blanks began releasing mass-marketed videos. The popularity of the workout later waned, but Blanks still attracts many celebrity clients and Tae Bo videos and DVDs have continued to sell well.

Most of Billy Blank's products are licensed to DRTV, as can be seen by the copyright info in the footer of DRTV is an infomercial product company included under the umbrella of Gaiam, a lifestyle brand media company[2] with offices in Broomfield, CO and New York, NY.

Personal life

Blanks was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, the fourth of fifteen children. As a child he suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia. Blanks is a Christian and released a special line of Tae Bo workouts called the "Believer's" series that includes motivational prayers and other Christian components. He has appeared on Christian television network TBN.[3]

He married to Gayle H Godfrey, whom he met in karate class, on June 28, 1974. Gayle's daughter, Shellie, was adopted shortly after they married and Billy is the only father she has ever known. Shellie Blanks Cimarosti is now an accomplished martial artist, is prominently featured in most all of Billy's Tae Bo videos and has recently done her own video (Tae Bo Postnatal Power),[4] as well as hosted her father's new infomercial Tae Bo T3 (Total Transformation Training). Gayle and Billy also have a son, Billy Jr., who has acted in a touring production of Fame and, separate from his father's endeavors, has started his own fitness video line called CARDIOKE.[5]

Billy and Gayle were divorced in 2008 after 33 years of marriage. According to the Petition for Legal Separation filed by his wife Gayle on April 22, 2008 in Los Angeles Superior Court, she and Billy had been separated since September 25, 2007. The reason given in the petition for the separation is "irreconcilable differences."[6] [7]

In November 2008, Blanks became the father of a new daughter named Angelika. The mother was his Japanese interpreter Tomoko whom he had known since 2007.[8] Billy and Tomoko's marriage was formally registered in January 2009 and their wedding ceremony was held on June 20, 2009. He has also adopted his new wife's two daughters, Marriett and Erika Peterson. He is currently living with them in Osaka, Japan.



External links

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