Gerard Depardieu: ‘I’m Too Fat to Fly into Space’

Giving new meaning to the term bear hug, French tax refugee Gerard Depardieu greets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia in January 2013. (Credit:

French actor and current tax exile/Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu paid a visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last week to view the launch of a new crew to the International Space Station and to declare himself ineligible for spaceflight.

“I’d really like to, but I’m probably too big for that,” Depardieu is quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.


This was the first trip to Baikonur for Depardieu, who earlier this year fled France’s high taxes and became a Russian citizen. He was welcomed by a pleased — and in all likelihood, startled — Russian President Vladimir Putin, who doesn’t get many refugees seeking asylum in his kleptocratic autocracy.