Sylvester Stallone Almost Got Divorced Over a Dog

Columnist Stacy Nguyen is firmly team Dog

Words by Stacy Nguyen

Nguyeners and Losers: A weekly JoySauce column full of hot takes and emotional deep dives on pop culture and celebrity news. This column is a manifestation of the countless hours of ‘research’ and ‘analysis’ of stuff like Reddit AMAs and YouTube convo threads that writer Stacy Nguyen likes to obsess over at 11pm.

I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs.

I mean, barring serious trauma, of course… Like, I know a person who was attacked by a police dog at work, so when she shrieks upon seeing a little Yorkie, I get that. That makes sense. However, people who physically recoil at the sight of a dog, people who refer to a dog as “it,” people who keep harping on the fact that dogs are animals and animals are dirty, people who complain that dogs are too needy and love-starved (like wanting connection and intimacy are bad things)…well, I’m not saying these are terrible people, per se.

But I am saying this stuff is totally grounds for divorce!

And for a while, Sylvester Stallone agreed.


Last month, Stallone’s wife, Jennifer Flavin, filed for divorce after the two of them disagreed on whether or not to adopt a Rottweiler. Stallone was a yes. Flavin was a no. Stallone adopted the dog anyway.

Normally, I would be like, “Yo, fuck that guy. He was a dick and did the very thing she didn’t want because he only cared about his own needs and didn’t think about her at all.”

But when the center of the disagreement is a dog, stuff changes for me. See, I’ve also witnessed and experienced different shades of this disagreement. I’ve had friends who have ached for a doggie best friend, but had to wait for a long time to get out of their dog-hating (Asian) parents’ homes, wait for their life situation to be hospitable to a dog, and/or wait for their non-dog-person partner to basically relent. It’s a lot of waiting!


I personally have spent years begging an ex that I was cohabitating with to get a dog. He wasn’t into it because he didn’t have dogs growing up. He didn’t want his life to change. I was like, “Why are you so self-centered?!” And I also tried to desperately negotiate and tell him I would do everything, like even pick up dog shit with my bare hands every goddamn day as the poop was coming out of the dog’s butt—if that’s what it took for him to feel comfortable, to never be inconvenienced by a perfect creature of pure love.

He was unmoved. And I was so pissed that one person’s “no” so significantly outweighed another person’s “yes.”

So now I am single and can have as many dogs as I want! (I have settled on two.)

I totally understand ending a marriage because disagreeing on whether or not to get a dog was the last straw.

BTW, check out Dwight! I like how Stallone plays with his ears!

And in this post, Stallone was like, “‘DWIGHT’ Definitely a true friend! KeepPunching And Keep barking!”

And I was like, “LOLOL, the mental image of Dwight punching is too much, Sly! Too much!”

Okay, note his tattoo on the left side of the photo. It is a portrait of Flavin.

However, shortly after this photo was taken, that tattoo changed!

In another demonstration of the depth of affection this man has for his dogs (and perhaps his capacity for pettiness), Stallone apparently had tattoo artist Zach Perez cover up that tat of his wife’s face, replacing it with the face of his late beloved dog, Butkus.

The tattoo thing really got the gossip mill grinding, with people like me gleefully cackling over the apparent end of a 25-year marriage because of a dog. It was zeitgeist-y enough that Stallone tried clearing it up with TMZ, saying, “We did not end the relationship on such a trivial argument.” He also added, “We just went in different directions.”

I was like, uhhh, the gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

Also, what I really got from that quote is Stallone soft-confirming that a disagreement about a dog did, in fact, occur! Otherwise, wouldn’t he be like, “Y’all, WTF, we didn’t fight about a dog”? (Also, physical evidence doesn’t lie! His bicep tattoo doesn’t lie!)

Anywho, this story does have a happy ending. When you and your partner argue about a dog and start making moves to end your decades-long marriage over it—that’s something you can come back from. It’s not too heavy, right?

True enough, it seems that at the moment, Stallone and Flavin have reconciled.

In summary:

Dogs: Nguyeners!

Giving dog human names: Nguyener!

Dogs punching: Nguyener!

Published on September 30, 2022

Words by Stacy Nguyen

Stacy Nguyen is a Seattle area-based Vietnamese American writer, artist, and designer whose work explores the ways race and gender are reflected within the lens of popular culture. She makes a lot of logos and moves shapes around in a pleasing manner in her day job. She used to be a journalist and news editor, but now she mostly writes hot takes on celebrities. This is because she watches an obscene amount of TV that she should be embarrassed about, but is inexplicably not.