The Untold Truth of Johnny Knoxville and Jackass

Knoxville’s history is littered with box office triumphs, one-of-a-kind opportunities, and bizarre tales, as well as a fair measure of adversity. Knoxville’s real life is full with adversity, from troubled close friends to strained personal relationships — and that’s not even mentioning the physical injuries he sustained as a result of the vast range of stunts he performed for the sake of entertainment.

Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson / Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville / Johnny Knoxville / Jackass Members
Photo by Getty Images

“No pain, no gain” is a saying that Johnny Knoxville embodies. The actor and stuntman rose to prominence as the face of MTV’s “Jackass” franchise, which is recognized for its outrageous stunts and witty humor.

While his acting career had its ups and downs, he was always a hit with the “Jackass” format: According to The Hollywood Reporter in 2014, the film franchise has grossed more than $300 million. Furthermore, Knoxville’s film “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” earned more than $150 million worldwide.

What Johnny Knoxville’s Childhood was Like

Johnny Knoxville was born and raised in Tennessee. According to The Washington Times, his father operated a tire company and was a stay-at-home dad. According to The New York Times, Knoxville was a standout student in elementary school, earning straight A’s throughout high school.

A childhood photo of Johnny Knoxville.
Source: Pinterest

According to his mother, he could climb up on his playpen and toss himself out on the floor when he was 9 months old, “Thank goodness they had carpet back then. Even when he was harmed, though, he never sobbed.” And as his mother also said, ”he has a golden heart.”

The Most Complex Side Popped Open

Some may dismiss “Jackass” as a slapstick comedy, but its star, Johnny Knoxville, is more than meets the eye. The actor has a strong background in the arts. Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, he told The Washington Times, are two of his favorite novels.

Johnny Knoxville at the 2019 Gala.
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Knoxville, in fact, gives the impression of being a voracious reader. He said in an interview with The New York Times that Ernest Hemingway’s writing is “too macho.” Instead, he prefers Flannery O’Connor’s Southern Gothic style. Classic films are very popular in Knoxville.

Where It All Began

Johnny Knoxville used to have stars in his eyes when he was a young man. He was an aspiring actor who traveled to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry before becoming a stuntman. He enrolled at the Pasadena School of Dramatic Arts because he was so committed to realizing his dream.

Ryan Dunn, Johnny Knoxville and Travis Barker attend the MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo by Ron Galella/Getty Images

He had a sensation from a young age wanting to be on television — or at the very least, that it was a line of employment that he’d be okay with taking on, as he told The Washington Times.

The Big Time Decision

He was asked by “Saturday Night Live” to join the cast of the long-running sketch comedy show. This might have been a big opportunity for Knoxville, with prominent graduates like the multi-talented Tina Fey and the legendary comedian Chris Rock. However, he chose to decline the offer.

Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O.
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images

Knoxville revealed how he was given the opportunity to “perform what I do” every week on “SNL” for “three or five minutes” on a 2018 episode of “The Howard Stern Show.” He was, however, working on the MTV pilot episode that later became “Jackass” at the time.

Wife and Lovely Kids

Knoxville and Cates divorced after twelve years of marriage. After his romance with Cates ended, the stuntman walked down the aisle once more. He married Naomi Nelson in 2010, and they had two children, Rocko and Arlo.

Johnny Knoxville and Naomi Nelson.
Source: Reddit

If Knoxville has his way, none of his three children will follow in his footsteps. Despite his reputation on television for sometimes irresponsible actions, Knoxville is the polar opposite when it comes to caring about others. “He is especially concerned about his children’s physical well-being,” says the author.

An Emotional Affair

Simpson was married to Nick Lachey, and Knoxville was married to Melanie Cates, but that didn’t stop the rumors. According to tabloid reports, Knoxville and Simpson began dating while working together – despite their denials. According to Bam Margera, he hooked up with Simpson.

ohnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson on stage at the MTV Music Awards.
Photo By Kevin Winter/Getty Images

According to People, she had a “emotional affair” with Knoxville. “He believed in me and made me feel like I could do anything,” she said, adding that her emotional connection with the “Jackass” star was even worse than a physical one.

Being Faced With Injuries

Being a professional stuntman, it’s no wonder that Johnny Knoxville has sustained several bruises, breaks, and bashings throughout the years. Knoxville has faced major injuries throughout his career, even if some agony was worth it for a laugh.

Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O on stage at the LIFEbeat 10th Anniversary benefit concert.
Photo by Scott Grie/Getty Images

He’s had “broken bones, endured concussions, and damaged his urethra in a misbegotten effort at back-flipping a motorcycle,” according to The New York Times. As of 2013, Knoxville was also scheduled for elbow surgery.

The Darkest Moments

Despite the glitz and good times on television in “Jackass,” Johnny Knoxville was losing control behind the scenes. The stunt actor reflected on his life as “Jackass” in an interview with The New York Times.

Johnny Knoxville and his wife, Melanie, and their daughter, Madison.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Knoxville’s marriage to Melanie Cates, his first wife, came to an end. As a result, he resolved to begin self-improvement in order to reclaim his life, which included going to counseling. He uncovered “a lot of terrible behavior that cost me my first marriage” during those sessions.

Who Died From Jackass?

Ryan Dunn’s death is without a doubt the show’s greatest tragedy. When his Porsche drove over a barrier and crashed into a tree not far from Bam Margera’s birthplace of West Chester, Pennsylvania, the actor had a blood alcohol level “more than twice the legal limit” and was traveling 130 miles per hour.

Brandon Dicamillo, Johnny Knoxville and Ryan Dunn ride a golf cart on set of the film Jackass: The Movie.
Photo by Paramount/Getty Images

Dunn’s death shook the “Jackass” community to its core. Chris Raab, who had known Dunn since they were both 12 years old, told Page Six that he was “totally destroyed.” The actor, according to the Daily News, stated he’d never get over it.

A Well Trained Performer as Steve-O

Steve-O seemed like a man who slept on a couch in someone’s trailer and who you could pay tiny amounts of money to do nearly anything when he was initially introduced to the public by Jackass. While this may have been true at times in his life, Steve-O has a formal education.

Steve O giving a rock on sign with his fingers at the Celebrity Go-Kart Tournament.
Photo by Jerod Harris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In no way does Jackass or Steve-O reflect anything learnt in clown college… well, that’s not being fair, is it? The old acquaintance pondered, “I believe Steve-O took a lot away from the experience and learnt a lot, which is a layer on top of what he does now.”

Bam Margera’s Story with Mike Tyson

Margera claimed that he came up with the idea to have Mike Tyson bite off his ear while sipping red wine on a plane, which he was willing to do because of how much “street cred” he’d have; the production company for the films contacted the former heavyweight champ and asked him if he’d do it.

Bam Margera attends the Bam Margera & Friends art exhibit.
Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

“Paramount phoned Mike Tyson and he became irritated and said no,” Margera remembered. When Mike Tyson steps in as the voice of reason, it’s a pretty incredible scenario.

Everyone is Waiting on Knoxville’s Schedule

With Knoxville’s career being the only one of the Jackass crew’s to actually take off (apart from Bam Margera, who found fame in the parallel lane of reality TV, and Steve-O, who’s cultivating a fledgling stand-up career), the rest of the guys have been left waiting for his table crumbs.

Johnny Knoxville speaks to the crowd at a baseball game.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

We’re only waiting for Johnny Knoxville’s schedule to become available. “In Hollywood, nothing is nothing until you have a contract,” he explained. “Did he tell you about the ammo bag that turns into a bloodbath? Who could refuse such an offer?”

Jason “Wee-Man” Acuña

Jason “Wee-Man”Acua has spent his post-Jackass life dabbling in a variety of activities. For one thing, he’s made restaurant investments, assisting in the financing and opening of two Chronic Tacos locations in California. He is not, however, the franchise’s originator, which he claims is a common misperception.

Jason 'Wee Man' Acuna attends the UK premiere of Jackass.
Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage/Getty Images

Acua’s other venture, a skateboard company, is more in line with his Jackass-era interests. In 2015, he founded Nullity Skateboards, which he ran out of his garage at first. In the years after Jackass 3D, he’s expanded out into other industries, but he’s still a performer.

Awesome and Amazing Performance

Chris Pontius put aside his Party Boy character to star in Sofia Coppola’s film, “Somewhere,” released the same year as Jackass 3D. He comes across as a reasonably strong performer in his role as the good-natured actor Sammy in an existential, sun-soaked hangout narrative.

Chris Pontius and Johnny Knoxville at the
Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

Pontius wrote a blog for Gorilla Flicks, a production business formed by Jeff Tremaine, co-creator of Jackass. Following that, he was a member of the Jackass Filthy Seppo Tour, which included Dave England, Jason Acua, and Preston Lacy and took place across Australia and New Zealand.

Brawl and Butterbean

Butterbean vs. Jackass leader Johnny Knoxville was never a fair fight, but that’s what made the stunt so entertaining. Customers and store employees are confused as Butterbean and Knoxville fight in the middle of a store.

Johnny Knoxville and Butterbean standing back to back.
Source: Twitter

Butterbean pummels Knoxville and knocks him out in a matter of seconds, as the team tries to wake him up from the savage thrashing. “Is Butterbean okay?” the bewildered and bloodied Knoxville says in a slurred voice when he finally wakes up.

Valentine’s Day Love Notes

The setup is fantastic in this sketch, playing on everyone’s egos and testosterone. A deranged groupie has put a Valentine’s Day letter on one of the team’s rooms’ doors, according to members of the crew. They are obviously encouraged to read it.

Steve-O reading the Valentine’s Day love note.
Source: YouTube

The note is incredibly complimentary and sexual, and the handwriting grows thinner as it progresses from top to bottom. A gigantic boxer fist comes out of the note, with Knoxville at the trigger, just as it gets really in depth at the bottom with the tiny handwriting.

Bungee Porta-Potty

The ever-enduring and charming Steve-O was propelled into the air while riding inside a used portable toilet, a porta-potty, for the “Poo Cocktail Supreme.” A crane raised a cord attached to the cord, and Steve-O and the contents of the toilet sailed high into the sky like the world’s worst flying simulator.

Steve-O sitting inside the portable toilet.
Source: YouTube

The horrifying closeness to the contents of the toilet dwarfs the prospect of being thrown into the sky, and the effects are unsettling for both the crew and the spectators.

Rent a Car

The Jackass crew had Knoxville rent a car from a car rental company in one of the more heinous pranks. They then brought it to a demolition derby and thoroughly destroyed it, rendering the vehicle practically unrecognizable.

Johnny Knoxville sitting in a car and smiling as he looks out the window.
Source: Reddit

As a finishing touch, sex dolls were placed in the automobile as a final joke. The proprietor of the rental shop was so taken aback by the return that he couldn’t even express his rage appropriately. To make matters worse (or better), Knoxville also stated that he “left a full tank of gas.”

Jackass 4- Upcoming

Johnny Knoxville stated in a 2018 interview that he is open to making a fourth Jackass film with new cast members “just to put in some fresh blood into it.” He stated that he is still writing ideas for a Jackass picture and that “a ton” of them have been placed aside in case the project is approved.

The Jackass 4 movie poster.
Source: Twitter

In July 2019, cast member Chris Raab revealed on his Bathroom Break podcast that he had interviewed the Jackass crew and that everyone was still open to a fourth film if Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze agreed.

The Thrilling Moments

As one might expect from a Jackass trailer, the new film’s trailer is a cavalcade of terrible ideas executed with varying degrees of effort. It also appears to be amusing. Marching bands on treadmills, Johnny Knoxville fighting a bull, and more are among the stunts.

A man attached to a kite jumping off a hill.
Source: by Paramount Pictures

Along with old favorites like Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave Englund, and Wee Man, Japser, Rachel Wolfson, Season “Poopsie” McInerny, Zack Holmes, and Eric Manaka, Jackass Forever will also feature a few new cast members, including Japser, Rachel Wolfson, Season “Poopsie” McInerny, Zack Holmes, and Eric Manaka.

The Breaking of Silence

The long-awaited sequel will allow audiences to witness the daring stuntmen engage in even more outrageous pranks and acts of mayhem. However, while Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and a few other members of the Jackass gang have made sporadic public appearances in recent years.

The Jackass crew attend the MTV Europe Awards 2010.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

This new film may be the first opportunity for numerous people to reunite with the cast. Since their 2010 sequel, here’s what the Jackass brothers have been up to. We’re excited to see how they can top themselves with their wacky new film.

The Writing Stunter

Preston Lacy, a writer as well as a stunt performer, is credited with creating many of the iconic sketches and stunts that the Jackass crew has performed over the years. Lacy, on the other hand, is well-known for his outbursts, especially when the laughter is aimed at him.

Steve O and Preston Lacy at the premiere of 'National Lampoon's TV The Movie.’
Photo by Danny Martindale/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Since the release of Jackass 3D, the 50-year-old comedian has focused his efforts on stand-up comedy, performing at festivals, clubs, pubs, and other venues across the country. Lacy’s life has been a touch more low-key than his co-stars electric Seat Stunt

Jason “Wee Man” Acuña

The Jackass crew is constantly pulling pranks on each other, and the simplest ones often yield the best results. In this gag, Jason “Wee Man” Acua is told to sit on a stool and a skilled card thrower will throw cards into his butt crack.

Jason 'WeeMan' Acuna attends
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images

The real kicker is that the stool is electrified, and the crew sets off a shock every time a card is hurled at Wee Man’s butt. The best part is that when Wee Man finally realizes what’s going on, he assumes it’s a “machine,” which makes the crew chuckle.

Toro Trotter Stunt

Bulls aren’t easy to handle, but that didn’t stop the Jackass crew. A gigantic 4-way seesaw would prove to be an insanely risky and not-so-fun prank in the “Toro Trotter.” Johnny Knoxville and Chris Pontius were teamed with Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn, and all four hopped up and down to see who could last the longest.

A still of the Toro Trotter stunt.
Source: YouTube

While no one took it seriously, sporting propeller hats and clutching lollipops and balloons, the bull got enraged by the movement right away, causing full havoc in less than 30 seconds.

A Law Suit Case

Bam Margera sued Paramount, Johnny Knoxville, and director Spike Jonze on Monday, claiming he was unlawfully sacked from the impending fourth chapter of the “Jackass” film franchise.

Bam Margera posing at the Fusion Studios in Pennsylvania.
Photo by Jason Kempin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Margera was sacked last October after allegedly testing positive for Adderall, in violation of the terms of a “wellness agreement” he signed with the film’s producers. According to the lawsuit, he signed the contract without first consulting an attorney.

Could Jackass 4 Include Bam Margera?

The original prankster Bam Margera will not appear in the upcoming Jackass Forever, the fourth and maybe final episode of the bone-breaking reality stunt show turned unlikely movie series.

Press Shoot With Bam Margera at Telenium - Fusion Studio.
Photo by Jason Kempin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The grounds for his removal from the sequel have been a back-and-forth or he-said/he-said situation, but now Margera is suing, saying he was illegally fired from the set, so this sticky situation is about to get even messier before it ever ends.

It’s Coming Soon

Jackass 4 is currently in production, with several sequences beginning filming in December 2020. Given that the stars are now 21 years older than they were when the franchise began, it’s no surprise that some of the actors have aged.

Steve O and Johnny Knoxville at the premiere of Paramount Pictures and MTV Films'
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O have both had to visit the hospital recently. According to the latest trade source, new material is still being shot, but the project is still on pace to be released on time. If all goes according to plan, Jackass 4 will be released in theaters on September 3rd by Paramount Pictures.

The Crash Also Claimed the Life of Jackass 2’s Production Assistant

A navy veteran who served in two tours of Iraq worked as a production assistant on “Jackass Number 2.” They were reportedly celebrating a business deal the night of Ryan Dunn’s terrible drunk driving accident in 2011. Prior to driving Hartwell home, Dunn was said to have consumed approximately 11 drinks.

Ryan Dunn at the DVD release of
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Rachel, Hartwell’s high school love, survived him. Dunn’s girlfriend reportedly acted as a bridesmaid at the couple’s wedding, which took place less than a year before the disaster. “They’re both widows now, and it’s too tragic to put into words,” an insider told Radar.

Missy Rothstein divorced Bam Margera

Missy Rothstein, Margera’s ex-wife, knew Bam before he became famous. According to The New York Times, they met at school in sixth grade and became pals. They reconnected in 2005 after dating other people and married two years later. “Bam’s Unholy Union,” a spin-off series, chronicled their journey to marriage.

Missy Rothstein and Bam Margera standing closely together.
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage/Getty Images

Margera said in an interview with Howard Stern that Rothstein tried to get him to “grow up and stop drinking as soon as [they] got married. Drinking helps me do the foolish things I do,” he recalled. So, there’s the door, for example.

What’s Worse to Happen

It’s fair to say that Johnny Knoxville took a while to find his niche. In fact, the daredevil was nearly 30 when he first fronted the adrenalin-charged, injury-prone, and often stomach-churning franchise that would launch him to fame. But following Jackass’ premiere on MTV at the turn of the century, Knoxville barely left our screens

Johnny Knoxville arrives at the Premiere of Paramount Pictures'
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Knoxville’s profile appeared to shrink after waving goodbye to the Jackass world with 2013’s Bad Grandpa. Indeed, he’s since added more than a dozen entries to his filmography ranging from buddy cop actioners and romantic comedies to crime thrillers and satanic horrors

Suffering for his Art

In 2018 Johnny Knoxville delivered a love letter to New Jersey’s most notorious theme park as the star and producer of big-screen comedy Action Point. And as you’d expect from a movie about health and safety’s worst nightmare, the actor ended up hurting himself just as much as he did in his Jackass heyday.

Johnny Knoxville poses for photos during the premiere of
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

In fact, it’s a miracle Knoxville finished the shoot in one piece following a catalog of stunts that caused wince-inducing injuries. He somehow managed to blow his left eye right out of its socket following an alpine slide-assisted concussion.

A Documentary About a Hero

I think we’re hovering right somewhere in between bravery and stupidity. Possibly more on the stupidity side.” That’s how Johnny Knoxville described himself and his similarly thrill-seeking hero in a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly. So who was the man who inspired the Jackass star to punish his body at any given opportunity for a living?

American daredevil and entertainer Evel Knievel.
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Well, Knoxville has shared an affinity with the legendary daredevil Evel Knievel since he was a youngster. And that same year, he tried to convince everyone else of the man’s virtues in a feature-length documentary.

Death of his Parent

The star’s former bible school teacher mother, Lamoyne, passed away first in November 2017. In her obituary published on Dignity Memorial, she was described as “spirited as she was loving, and as beautiful as she was loquacious. If you stopped by her home, you were showered with warm conversation, hugs and tremendous amounts of food.”

Johnny Knoxville poses with his mother-in-law Lamoyne Clapp.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Sadly, Knoxville’s father Phil died almost a year to the day after his mom. “He was hilariously impatient and grumpily kind,” the Jackass star wrote in a poignant tribute posted on his Instagram account. “He was a loyal friend and not afraid to stretch an already exciting and legitimate truth into infinity.”

A Good Networth

it appears as though being deliberately shot in the abdomen, hit by a tidal wave and launched into the air from a makeshift rocket can be pretty lucrative. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Johnny Knoxville has a net worth of $75 million, and no doubt much of his fortune has come from the Jackass franchise he made his name with.

Johnny Knoxville at the premiere of
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage/Getty Images

He’s also topped up his earnings with reportedly well-paid film roles in the likes of Walking Tall and The Dukes of Hazzard. And the founding of not just one but two production companies won’t have harmed his bank balance, either.

Picking Up the 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.

Bam Margera promotes
Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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.

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. The star revealed that he felt too old to be a professional skateboarder, which triggered his depression and exacerbated his alcoholism

Bam Margera at the premiere of “The Last Stand.”
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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.”