Whatever happened to Bam Margera?

MTV’s Jackass set the stage for prank shows to come. In a world devoid of iPhones, where the mere idea of Ridiculousness was ridiculous, the series transformed its cast of skateboarding delinquents-slash-amateur stuntmen into genuine A-list superstars. They were the kind of rebels condemned by politicians and beloved by teens across the globe, but around 2011, after a litany of seasons, spin-offs, and feature-length films, it seemed like the boys were finally growing out of habitually injuring themselves for laughs. At the very least, they needed a break.

This break turned into a decade-long hiatus during which ringleader Johnny Knoxville pursued a career behind the camera. Most notably, he’s responsible for Bad Grandpa and Action Point. Steve-O, who was infamously flipped upside down in a port-o-potty, found sobriety and was spotted duct taped to a billboard while promoting his comedy special Gnarly. Then there was Bam Margera, the pro-skateboarder who scored his own spin-off, Viva La Bam, where he perennially annoyed his parents, April and Phil. 

In late 2019, Paramount confirmed that the cast would be reuniting for a 2021 Jackass film, but fans were left wondering how big of a role Margera would play. It’s no secret that the star’s post-MTV years have been particularly turbulent. Today, Margera is on a path to healing, but it’s proven to be his most difficult stunt yet.

Viva la Castle Bam

Bam Margera racked up a massive fanbase during his time on MTV, but his hometown in Pennsylvania wasn’t one of them. Long before TikTok and YouTube stars like Jake Paul wreaked havoc on their residential neighborhoods, Margera became such a public nuisance while filming Viva La Bam that in 2004, Pocopson Township sent him a cease-and-desist letter, according to an archived article in The Philadelphia Inquirer. This was not Margera’s only warning.

Nearly a decade and a half later, not much has changed. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that as of February 2019, Margera was still receiving (and ignoring) cease-and-desist letters from Pocopson, which threanted him with potential jail time if he kept throwing parties at his infamous home, Castle Bam. They claimed it was the result of a brand new special events ordinance, but Margera didn’t buy it.

“Guess what? It’s happening anyway, and you’re just going to have to f***king fine me, alright?” he said in an Instagram video. “It says I could go to jail. I’d love to f***ing see that. For what? Having skateboarders skate a f***ing ramp, and then a neat-o concert ending before 10? You just make up your own rules.”

Margera claimed that Castle Bam had been dormant for nearly 10 years, which isn’t exactly true according to the Philadelphia Inquirer writer who attended a blow-out at the manse in 2018. Regardless, Margera the party in 2019 and did not end up behind bars as far as we can tell.

Castle Bam almost went from MTV to Airbnb

If you’ve ever wanted a chance to stay at Castle Bam, your early ’00s dream almost became a reality. Bam Margera’s West Chester mansion isn’t just the backdrop of Viva La Bam; the star’s family also reportedly made plans to transform it into an Airbnb.

In a 2018 interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bam’s mom, April Margera, revealed that she was renovating her son’s sprawling, 14-acre property so she could list it on the home rental website. As part of the revamp, she planned to repaint the iconic purple walls in the 4,200 square foot house and redesign Bam’s famed pirate bar. It’s unclear which amenities she planned to keep — from the indoor skate park to the various heartagram logos on the walls — but we do know it was going to look very different. “It’s not going to look like the show set,” she told The Philadelphia Inquirer, “but there are a lot of amenities there that people might be interested in in this area.”

At the time of this writing, it doesn’t seem like April ever listed the property. During Bam’s 2019 appearance on Dr. Phil, the skateboarder argued with his mother about Castle Bam’s Airbnb plans, and his wife claimed that his friends were squatting in the home for free. According to Philly Voice, the Jackass star claimed the house previously looked like a “North Philly crackhouse” and April renovated it with his permission.

The tragic loss of Ryan Dunn

In 2011, tragedy struck the Jackass cast when Bam Margera’s best friend and co-star Ryan Dunn was killed in a fiery car crash. According to ABC News, Dunn was driving at between 132 to 140 mph with a blood alcohol concentration more than twice the legal limit when he crashed his Porsche into a guardrail. It ultimately burst into flames in a scene so horrific that West Goshen Police Chief Michael Carroll told TMZ he had “never seen a car destroyed in an automobile accident the way this car was.”

Both Dunn and Jackass 2 production assistant Zachary Hartwell were killed instantly in the crash. Margera, who was in Arizona at the time, told Fox’s WTXF that he found out through the “worst phone call [he’s] ever gotten in [his] life.” He was so connected to his former co-star that he had a premonition of the accident. “At 12:30 [local time], I just started punching out the windows of the rental van and ripping out the speakers, and I don’t even know why,” he said. “I wasn’t mad at anything or anybody. If it was 12:30 there [in Arizona], that means it was exactly when he crashed.”

To this day, the photos of Margera sobbing at the crash site remain one of the most gutting things ever published in the tabloids. According to the New York Daily News, the skateboarder claimed that he would never get over the loss.

Bam Margera picked up a paint brush

The year following the release of Jackass 3.5, Bam Margera dove head-first into the art world. It was an unexpected leap from the raucous stunts of the skateboarder’s past, but he found success nonetheless.

According to Southern Chester County Weeklies, the MTV star teamed up with local West Chester artist John Hannafin to co-host an art show at the Chester County Historical Society. Apparently, Margera picked up painting while recovering from an injury and hosted his first art show earlier that year in Philadelphia. He met Hannafin after purchasing one of the artist’s West Chester-inspired paintings and eventually started painting with him at Castle Bam.

As for inspiration, Margera told Southern Chester County Weeklies that he mostly paints “naked chicks” and his friend Brandon Novak, who regularly guest starred on Viva La Bam. “I love painting Novak because he always has the most random quotes ever. So I’ll just paint his face and write the quote above it,” he said, adding, “If I want to paint a serious girl [portrait], then I will. If I want to paint Novak getting out of jail with his middle finger up, I will.”

Bam Margera said I Do and I Don't

Third time’s a charm for Bam Margera. The star was engaged twice before proposing to Nicole Boyd, who he married in 2013 during a benefit concert in Reykjavik, Iceland. The star wore a hoodie and sunglasses instead of a tux and performed with his band F**kface Unstoppable after exchanging rings. 

Margera’s long, tumultuous road to love began when he started dating Jen Rivell in 1996. According to Zimbio, they called off their engagement in 2005 amidst rumors of an alleged affair between the Jackass star and Jessica Simpson (which is so painfully early aughts it might as well define the decade). The following year, Rivell allegedly broke into Margera’s house, and he filed for “Protection From Abuse,” according to Us.

Following the split, Margera got together with his childhood friend Missy Rothstein, who he proposed to on a whim at the King of Prussia Mall. The pair’s path to matrimony was documented in the nine-episode Jackass spin-off Bam’s Unholy Union, but it only took two years to fall apart. 

In 2009, TMZ reported that Margera was hospitalized following a four day alcohol “bender” that was sparked by the pair’s marital problems. “I may get a divorce … booze helps,” he told the tabloid. By 2010, the pair were openly living apart. They officially divorced in 2012, and Margera wed Boyd the following year. They’ve been together ever since.

Bam Margera has struggled with substance abuse for years

Bam Margera’s Jackass fame meant he was defined by his hard and fast lifestyle. This eventually manifested as a substance abuse problem. In 2017, the star told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he drank a lot while making the show because it helped him perform stunts. My job is to do dumb, jackass s**t, and the more shots of Crown Royal I’d do, the braver I’d be. Drinking helped me get paid,” he said.

Margera’s addiction was only exacerbated by Ryan Dunn’s death in 2011. Alcohol became a crutch that helped him cope with his grief, and the star regularly racked up thousands of dollars worth of bar tabs. During this time, he claimed that it took him “four beers to even feel normal” and “waking up instantly to a beer” was the standard. He was in so deep that getting diagnosed with early pancreatitis did not serve as a much-needed wake up call. 

In an interview with Vice, Margera revealed that during his lowest point, he was basically living on a liquid diet of booze. “I would probably just wake up around 11 AM and instantly start drinking vodka and purple Gatorade,” he said. “By the end of the night, I would probably have ten pints worth of it. It was pretty bad.” 

Bam Margera has also battled an eating disorder

Substance abuse wasn’t the only problem Bam Margera grappled with in the wake of Ryan Dunn’s death. Margera secretly struggled with bulimia, which he used to offset the calories he consumed while binging on alcohol. In an interview with Vice, he revealed that he learned how to purge while he was on tour with Steve-O because the pair had to perform a stunt called the “Tequila Stuntman” that required them to vomit on command. This eventually paved the way for a destructive cycle.

“I think the reason I started throwing up was because I learned how to do it and at the end of the night I always felt like I drank too much, and if I’m drunk, I’ll stuff my f**king face with spaghetti,” he said. “I would eat it, barf it all up, and it was like, I got my fill… but it was all pretty much due to alcohol.”

Margera’s poor diet caused him to balloon up to 230 lbs. which became such a source of shame that he stopped skateboarding.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorder Association’s Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or chat with one of their helpline volunteers on NEDA’s website.

Weight gain kept Bam Margera off his board

As Bam Margera simultaneously battled an eating disorder and substance abuse problem, he let his professional skateboarding career fall to the wayside. When he appeared on Dr. Phil in 2019 (via PhillyVoice), the star revealed that he felt too old to be a professional skateboarder, which triggered his depression and exacerbated his alcoholism. “Skateboarding is what I love. So, if I can’t do that, what’s the point?” he said.

Part of Margera’s decision to quit also had to do with his weight. The star felt like he was too heavy to get on a board, so he didn’t even bother trying. “Even if I did do a cool trick, at 230 pounds, I was just going to look like a sweaty meatball doing a neat trick,” he told Vice.

Nonetheless, skating is in Margera’s blood, and he couldn’t stay away for long. After losing 30 pounds, the star tested the waters in Barcelona, where he wasn’t a household name. “I figured if I was in Europe, people wouldn’t recognize me as much here; that was the hardest part. I wanted to skate, but I didn’t want fans to see me suck,” he told Vice, “I wanted to skate with friends, but I was intimidated by pros. So, it was hard to figure out, but being in Barcelona helped.”

In 2017, Margera told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he makes an effort “to skate three times a week.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorder Association’s Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or chat with one of their helpline volunteers on NEDA’s website.

Dr. Phil tried to help Bam Margera

When Bam Margera hit rock bottom in 2019, he turned towards Dr. Phil for help. However, even the unlicensed TV doctor couldn’t save Margera from himself. According to Page Six and PhillyVoice, who captured Margera’s Instagram posts, the whole thing began when the Jackass star publicly begged the TV personality for assistance, claiming that he’d “disowned” his mother and couldn’t “stand” his wife. “Dr. Phil, I need your help in a big, big way. My family is in shambles. It’s worse than it’s ever been, ever,” he said.

Not long after, Margera appeared on Dr. Phil, where he revealed that he had suffered from a “nervous breakdown” and considered suicide. At the time, he largely blamed his mother and wife but, as Dr. Phil shared at the end of the episode (via People), he agreed to “detox at Alo House Recovery.” What seemed like a happy ending was cut short when the star promptly checked himself out, got a tattoo of Dr. Phil’s name on his chest, and was involved in a bizarre incident at a luxury hotel. 

According to TMZ, Margera was placed under citizen’s arrest by an employee after he refused to leave the property, where he claimed he’d been hired by a patron’s wife to catch him in the midst of an affair. When cops showed up, Margera was cuffed for trespassing. The following month, the star revealed that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was receiving treatment.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

After a shocking robbery, a shaken Bam Margera relapsed

After getting arrested for a DUI in January 2018, Bam Margera checked himself into rehab, according to TMZ. For the first time, it seemed like his treatment was working, and the star remained sober for seven months before it all came crashing down after he was robbed at gunpoint in South America.

In August, Margera took to Instagram to reveal that he was traveling alone in Colombia when he was robbed during a cab ride from the airport. He said that the taxi driver put a gun on his lap and used his phone to translate the phrase “empty your wallet” from Spanish to English. “So, I did,” Margera said. “And I had 500 bucks. They let me go. That was weird. Welcome to Colombia.”

In the video, Margera seemed notably calm for someone just robbed at gunpoint— but that’s just a case of Instagram vs. real life. Months later, the star admitted that he was so shaken up that he “relapsed with a couple beers” after spotting a mini bar in his hotel room.

The road to sobriety has not been easy for Bam Margera

Sobriety doesn’t happen overnight, and no one knows this better than Bam Margera. Though his DUI arrest in January 2018 seemed to be the final straw, the Jackass star spent the next year and a half in and out of rehab. According to TMZ, he kicked off 2019 with a third rehab stay. It was the second January in a that the star spent in treatment, but according to CNN, he left after just 10 days because he was “bored.”

In a series of eight, handwritten letters addressed to “a**holes who want to talk s**t about my sobriety,” the star opened up about his decision to dip out early. “In rehab I am bored 50 percent of the time so that’s when I figured out that when boredom sets in and alcohol is off limits, that’s when I get creative as f***, an explosion of good ideas, exercise, skate, workout, yoga, hike, bike way more. Because I don’t sit stagnant,” he wrote.

Around six months later, Margera filmed his infamous Dr. Phil episode, where he spoke candidly about his nervous breakdown and agreed to try rehab again. TMZ claimed he headed to a treatment facility, where he planned to complete a 60 to 90 day program, but he left after just a few days. By the end of the month, he was headed to recovery yet again following a relapse. As far as we can tell, Margera hasn’t relapsed since.

Bam Margera was saved by his newborn son

In 2017, Bam Margera welcomed his first child with his wife Nicole Boyd, a son named Phoenix Wolf. As it turns out, the child (and not Dr. Phil) is what might have actually saved his life. Though the star struggled with sobriety since Boyd gave birth, he admitted during his Dr. Phil episode (via People) that Phoenix was his “best friend” and he would “get stabbed or shot or whatever just to make sure he didn’t.” In fact, he fought his way through his mental breakdown for his son.

“I had such a mental breakdown that I really thought like I … could just go to the light and be free,” he said. “I was like the pain was gone and I had to beg for pain back. I was like, ‘Please just give me back my pain so I could stay because I want to be with him.'”

Margera is working to put his hard-partying, death-defying days behind him. The MTV star told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2017 that he’s focused on making healthier choices. “I never thought I would do yoga, but now I’m the first one at the yoga studio with all the soccer moms,” he said. “I never thought that I would be that dude, but I am.” If yoga proves anything, it’s that Margera is finally growing up.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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