Bam Margera's Life And Career Revisited

Bam Margera's name might be more familiar from tabloid articles than legitimate entertainment industry news these days, but that hasn't always been the case. Born as Brandon Margera, young Bam soon acquired his nickname when his granddad noticed that he kept running into and jumping off things (via Cleveland Free Times). For much of his entertainment and professional skateboarding career, Margera hasn't deviated from this early modus operandi. Still, while mainstream audiences probably remember him best from his career as a prankster and stuntman in "Jackass" and "Viva La Bam," Margera has dabbled in many fields of entertainment and often in roles you might not immediately expect. 

Of course, his professional life is only one part of his story. Margera's family life might be publicized on multiple TV shows, but his life has been quite a rollercoaster behind the scenes as well. From the highest highs to the lowest lows, let's take a look at the life and career of Bam Margera.

The complex chemistry of the Margera family

Anyone who's watched this skateboarder's multiple television shows is probably familiar with his immediate family. Bam Margera's brother, Jess, is a drummer for the band CKY (via Loudwire) and a member of Margera's stunt video posse of the same name (per Drum Magazine). Meanwhile, their parents, April and Phil Margera, are familiar to audiences from their roles in "Viva la Bam," the Bam-centric "Jackass" spinoff that ran from 2003 to 2006. 

Before they quit their jobs for "Viva la Bam," Phil Margera was a baker, while April Margera worked as a hairdresser, as noted by Philly Mag. Though Bam Margera gravitated toward the activities that would make him famous from a very early age, his mother made sure he still secured his education: when he dropped out of high school, his mother homeschooled him. Though the elder Margeras became known as popular targets for their son's pranks, they were on good enough terms with him during the "Viva la Bam" era that the young star bought a house for them. 

However, their relationship seems to have become more strained over the years. In July 2022, TMZ reported Margera was no longer in touch with his parents. On the other hand, Bam Margera himself noted in a September 2022 episode of "Steve-O's Wild Ride" that his father was still his accountant. Clearly, things are never as simple as they seem with the Margera family.

Skateboarding and CKY were Bam Margera's first steps to fame

While he's arguably more famous for his various TV shows, even the most casual "Jackass" or "Viva la Bam" viewer can plainly see that Bam Margera is a pretty good skateboarder. In fact, "pretty good" is a major understatement. As Men's Journal notes, Margera started making waves in the skateboarding circles when he appeared in skating videos at just 14 years old. While his "Jackass" career soon loomed over his skateboarding one, he continued to be a presence in the pro skateboarder circles until cumulative injuries became overwhelming in 2012 (via People). As Lad Bible tells us, Margera is also friends with one of the most legendary skateboarders in history Tony Hawk, and a mainstay in Hawk's signature video game series, "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater." To date, Margera has appeared in seven "Tony Hawk" games

According to Philly Mag, Margera was already a notable skateboarding talent at age 8. He was an important part of skateboard brand Element's team during the early heights of his fame, though, in an interview with Jenkem, he noted that the relationship deteriorated as he spent more time shooting shows than skateboarding. At the height of his skateboarding fame, though, Margera was so famous that his signature boards actually outsold Hawk's. Margera has retained an interest in the sport at an older age, as well. He resumed skateboarding around 2017 while living in Spain, though he openly admits that his skill set isn't what it used to be.

Bam Margera rose to international stardom with Jackass

Bam Margera became a household name in the DIY stunt genre when he joined the "Jackass" team. Per the BBC, his CKY crew (Margera, Ryan Dunn, Chris Raab, and Brandon DiCamillo) joined forces with another gung-ho stunt video squad, which was loosely centered around the skateboarding magazine Big Brother. These people included future "Jackass" talent like Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, and Chris Pontius (via KQED), as well as the magazine's editor Jeff Tremaine and director Spike Jonze. 

The combination of the Big Brother-affiliated crowd and the CKY team was a smash hit. "Jackass" premiered in 2000, and its reckless pranks-and-stunts approach raised a few eyebrows in its day — to the point that, by 2001, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman campaigned to cancel the show due to its negative influence on its young viewers (via Variety). However, the show was a record-breaking hit for MTV, and history has been much kinder to the show than Lieberman was. "Jackass" can be considered a comedy pioneer and a precursor to a whole genre of prankster comedy, ranging from a cavalcade of imitators and YouTube comedians to Sacha Baron Cohen's immaculately constructed characters. 

Despite its massive cultural legacy, "Jackass" itself was a relatively short-lived show, with only 25 episodes to its name, per the BBC. However, the cast members' popularity spawned multiple spin-offs and related works, and they've also rejoined for multiple movies and specials.  

Bam Margera struggled with substance abuse

As The Independent tells us, addiction has played a notable part in Bam Margera's story, and he's spent lengthy periods in rehab in an attempt to address his issues with alcohol. Margera has been known to deal with his addiction in a highly public way. In 2009, he made headlines when he was hospitalized after four days of drinking (via TMZ). In 2019, he appeared on an episode of "Dr. Phil" that focused on his substance abuse and what he thought about rehabilitation programs.

While Margera has been open about his alcohol abuse, he's also been known to play the blame game. In a 2022 appearance on "Jackass" co-star Steve-O's podcast "Steve-O's Wild Ride," he fully admitted that he's an alcoholic and discussed how he started to drink, throwing a little shade on H.I.M. frontman Ville Valo for teaching him to day drink when he was younger.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Viva La Bam cemented Margera's stardom

Though Johnny Knoxville has been the only squad member who's managed to carve a notable acting career beyond "Jackass," Bam Margera was a more immediate franchise breakout star — at least on MTV, where his "Viva la Bam" drew impressive ratings in the mid-2000s (via Philly Mag). While it features multiple "Jackass" veterans like Ryan Dunn and Brandon DiCamillo, its focus is the prank-filled relationship between Margera and his long-suffering parents (and targets), Phil and April Margera. Another major cast member of the family was Vincent "Don Vito" Margera.

"Viva la Bam" premiered in 2003 and ran for five seasons and 40 episodes, easily outlasting the original "Jackass" show. However, considering the sad and controversial fates of many of its stars, it's not necessarily an easy watch today. In 2007, Don Vito was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault on a minor and sentenced to 10 years of probation (via The Denver Post). According to The Washington Post, he died in 2015 at 59. 

In 2011, a car Dunn was driving crashed in West Chester, Pennsylvania at 130 miles per hour, killing him and a passenger (per The Hollywood Reporter). As noted by ABC News, Dunn was inebriated at the time of the crash. The visibly shaken Margera addressed the incident in an interview with Fox 29. "I've never lost anybody that I care about," he said. "He's my best friend."

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Bam Margera's love life has been turbulent

Bam Margera's family has often been on the receiving end of his prankster antics, and if the filmed evidence is any indication of his relationships with his loved ones, it might not be all that surprising to hear that his love life has been turbulent, too. As Daily Local reports, Margera's relationship with "Viva la Bam"-era girlfriend Jennifer Rivell remained strained even two years after their breakup. "When we broke up, she destroyed $20,000 worth of computers. She put murals around my house. It was really scary," Margera said in 2006 while seeking a "protection from abuse (PFA) hearing" after alleging that Rivell had broken into his home.  

At this time, Margera was already engaged to Missy Rothstein. As The New York Times notes, the couple's tumultuous road to marriage was documented in the 2007 MTV miniseries "Bam's Unholy Union." The pair's happiness wasn't made to last. Per Toronto Sun, they divorced in 2012, and Rothstein seemed quite happy about it. 

Margera married Nicole Boyd (pictured) in 2013, and they had a son in 2017 (per US Magazine). Still, it hasn't always been smooth sailing. In 2019, the pair clashed during an appearance on "Dr. Phil." Margera felt that Boyd's behavior toward him was too suspicious and controlling, while she maintained that she only confronts him because she's genuinely concerned about his substance abuse issues. Per TMZ, Boyd filed for their son's custody in 2021, though not yet for divorce.

Bam Margera has many artistic interests

While he's known for his appearances in front of the camera, Bam Margera's IMDb page reveals that he's equally at ease behind them. He's a surprisingly prolific director who directed his first full-length independent movie, a comedy called "Haggard," in 2003. He's also directed another comedy in the same vein — 2009's "Minghags." However, most of his work is short-form. He's directed multiple CKY projects, both music videos for the CKY band and skateboarding ones for the skating leg of the crew. He's also behind multiple music videos for the bands H.I.M. and The 69 Eyes, among other things. 

This is just the beginning of Margera's artistic interests, too. He's the brother of musician Jess Margera, and his Discogs page reveals that he has also been involved with multiple bands with increasingly imaginative names. In an interview with ESPN, Margera also elaborated on expanding his artistic endeavors to include painting.

Bam Margera's longtime relationship with H.I.M.

Fans who have followed Bam Margera may have noticed that he's fond of using a very special heart-pentagram symbol as a logo of sorts. As MTV News noted in 2005, this "heartagram" isn't actually Margera's own symbol. Instead, he adopted it from the Finnish rock band H.I.M. 

Margera didn't just copy a cool design he saw online. H.I.M. is legitimately his favorite band. He's also friendly with the group, and has directed numerous music videos for them (via IMDb) — to the point that Far Out Magazine compared their relationship to a partnership. While some bands might have been annoyed for the fact that the uber-famous Margera effectively appropriated their logo — let alone the issue of their association with Margera overshadowing the music — H.I.M. frontman Ville Valo insisted he didn't mind. "We're the first band on Earth more well-known for its symbol than the actual music, and that's a great way to start," Valo mused. "Bam's a friend. We'll always be Bam's favorite band. A lot of people claim they do their music for themselves. We claim that all of the albums we write, we do for Bam."

Unfortunately, time hasn't been kind for the partnership, as Margera deemed Valo a something of a bad influence in a 2022 appearance on "Steve-O's Wild Ride." As Margera's mother April told Viceland (via Loudwire), the "Jackass" star may also have developed bulimia while trying to emulate Valo's lanky appearance.

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Bam Margera was fired from Jackass Forever

Bam Margera's association with "Jackass" came to a bitter end when he was dropped from the cast of 2022's "Jackass Forever." According to Margera himself, the reason for his sacking was a strict sobriety clause in his contract that he wasn't able to fulfill (via TMZ), and he vowed to take legal action since he felt the stipulation interfered with his prescriptions. 

However, per Variety, Margera has since dropped the legal battle against Knoxville, and fellow "Jackass" member Johnny Knoxville feels that Margera might be able to return in a potential future "Jackass" project should he get his life in order. "I think that would be a discussion. I only want him to get better," Knoxville said. "That's the first step. He has to take that step and maintain that step, because everything else is just gravy."

For his part, Margera has discussed the situation in an appearance on "Steve-O's Wild Ride," stating that he was ultimately quite content with his departure from the franchise. It remains to be seen whether he and "Jackass" have parted ways for good.

The rise and fall of Castle Bam

Bam Margera's "Viva la Bam" started filming at Phil and April Margera's house (via Philly Mag), but the action eventually moved to a vastly grander location that was the architectural equivalent of the star's stunt-oriented mindset. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, Margera bought the $1.2 million West Chester, Pennsylvania estate in 2004, dubbed it Castle Bam, and moved "Viva la Bam" there in the beginning of the show's sophomore season. 

Margera turned the house and its 14-acre property into the exact kind of skateboarding, rock-loving prankster's dream Thunderdome you'd expect. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has caused some comment from the other denizens of the area. According to Daily Local News, Margera was forced to sign an agreement in 2007 that made it considerably harder for him to use the location for commercial purposes. This left him at odds with the township when he threw a massive 2,500-person party without appropriate permission at the end of 2018. 

His plans to hold his next events were promptly blocked, and it seems unlikely that he's allowed to use Castle Bam for this purpose in the future. Margera and his wife moved away from Castle Bam in 2017. After this, April Margera started renovating the property in order to bring it to Airbnb at some point down the line.

Bam Margera's health troubles and 2022 hospitalization

Being a pro skateboarder and stunt TV personality isn't easy for one's body, and as Bam Margera's has told Brent Cross, he's had a laundry list of stunt injuries. In 2022, he noted in an appearance on "Steve-O's Wild Ride" that he's broken one of his wrists around 11 times, and the other four times. In fact, his right clavicle is the sole bone he doesn't think has broken yet. Mounting injuries also caused him to move away from professional skateboarding in 2012, following struggles with bone spurs and a dodgy knee (via People). Apart from his physical problems, Margera has also sought to deal with his mental health issues, according to the Philly Voice. The star revealed (via Instagram) his bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2019, implying that his mother motivated him to seek professional help.

Margera's most recent health trouble came to light on December 9, 2022, when TMZ reported that he's been hospitalized earlier in the week for pneumonia. The situation was serious enough that he was placed on a ventilator, but fortunately, he recovered fairly quickly. The next day, his family confirmed on Instagram that he was in the hospital. Though TMZ reported that Margera had COVID-19, the family's post noted that his tests were now negative and that he was on the mend. By December 11, he'd been discharged. 

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