The Real Reason You Don't Hear From Vanilla Ice Anymore

Vanilla Ice, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, was one of the '90s most respected artists. He broke onto the music scene as a teenager with the smash hit "Ice Ice Baby" and went on to sell 160 million records. But as time went by, the vibrancy of his star began to fade to black — leading many to wonder where in the heck is Vanilla Ice these days?

The rapper, 49, has suffered a number of highs and lows since climbing the charts more than 20 years ago. Here's why you rarely hear from this music icon.

He's busy flipping houses

Who knew Vanilla Ice was a home makeover guru? The '90s heartthrob knows his way around a stack of nails and hammers. In fact, he's the host of the DIY Network's The Vanilla Ice Project. For seven seasons, Vanilla Ice has hosted the show and organized several home renovations — each one leaving audiences more speechless than the last. According to the network's write-up about the show, the musician-turned-carpenter is a well-recognized real-estate entrepreneur with over 15 years experience under his belt. In a 2016 interview he claims to have 24 years of construction experience to his name.

According to Florida Today, the star was in the Melbourne Beach area working his magic and got residents buzzing with excitement — even running into him at Dos Amigos for an obligatory Taco Tuesday selfie. But Vanilla Ice is no stranger to the neighborhood. In 2015, he shot an episode in Palm Bay where he built a therapeutic pool for a little boy name Owen Johnson, who is paralyzed from the neck down. To mark the big reveal, the Johnson family hosted a big bash welcoming Vanilla Ice, his renovation crew and the town's mayor William Capote.

He's managing anger problems

Like any overworked or over-traveled person, Vanilla Ice gets cranky at airports. Unfortunately, his crankiness was caught on camera. According to Page Six, Vanilla Ice was captured on tape losing his mind at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the summer of 2016. A bystander caught him feuding with a Delta employee because he missed his flight to Nebraska, where he was scheduled to perform. The man who filmed the catastrophe says the rapper missed the flight because he was on the phone during the boarding announcements and that he also arrived 10 minutes past the final boarding call.

"No one has called me. No one said final call. Nothing," Vanilla Ice is heard shouting into the face of the Delta employee. "You didn't board me! I'm sitting in the freaking line ... You didn't even say anything." The man recording the mess interjected himself into the matter saying, "You gotta watch the monitor, dude." That ticked off Vanilla Ice, pushing him into a greater state of agitation. "I don't need any information from you, man," he yelled back. "Shut your f**king mouth. You don't work here. Shut up!"

A representative for the star told Page Six his client was traveling a lot that week, stating he had concert dates in for different cities across the nation in a four-day period. But it was no excuse to be rude. It's unclear if Vanilla Ice ever went back to apologize to that poor Delta worker. The footage from the bystander was also yanked off YouTube.

He's occasionally on the road

When Vanilla Ice isn't taping his reality show, he can be found on a stage around the country. He's part of the newly launched I Love the 90s tour which, according to the tour's site, has more than 40 dates set for 2017. Vanilla Ice, along with Salt N Pepa, Kid N Play, Coolio, Kool Moe Dee and others will storm in several cities around North America before rocking concert halls in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.

The tour, in its second year, "is all about people coming out and enjoying it," Vanilla Ice told Fox News in its first year of concert dates. "People get dressed up. They come in costumes. Some people dress up like Ninja Turtles."

Vanilla Ice said he came up with the idea of doing the tour and tested it out with four shows in Florida and the rest is history. In a separate interview with the CW, Vanilla Ice billed the concert as a high-energy dance party. "You are dancing for four-hours straight. You know all the songs. It's all the songs you grew up to. It's great memories. It's good times. It's smiling and dancing."

He went Amish for a while

For two seasons on the DIY Network, Vanilla Ice lived as an Amish man in Ohio. The rapper ditched his fancy Hollywood digs and stuck to the simple life for the series Vanilla Ice Goes Amish. Not only did he adopt a few unique skills, he worked as a master craftsman to renovate homes for deserving families. It's a skill he's come to appreciate over the years.

"It's not an artificial thing. I was living and working with real Amish people," Vanilla Ice told Huffington Post Canada of the short-lived series. "Not to criticize any other shows, but after living with the Amish, I know that real Amish don't drive Cadillacs. They call 911 when they have a problem."

He says he learned so much from watching the men work and that he put his sweat into every project — including building a barn in two days. But his toughest jobs were dealing with animals on the farm. "I had to get up really early, shovel s**t first thing in the morning," he quipped. "I watched a cow give birth — I helped pull a calf out — and it was beautiful. I had goosebumps. There are baby cats, goats, pigs ... it was definitely tough. And then you have go do your construction. You get out there and do everything, and they get more done by lunch than most people do in a full workday. You sleep so well, let me tell you — you don't even dream, it's so deep. It was an honor for me to go out there, and have them accept me."

His rocky marriage has come to an end

While music and the construction-design business have been good to Vanilla Ice, his marriage hasn't been as successful. In fact, his 20-year marriage to Laura Giaritta has been strained and plagued by drama. In 2008, Vanilla Ice was arrested in Palm Beach County, Florida for allegedly beating his wife.

According to People, he was placed into custody after Giaritta told authorities her husband "struck" and "kicked" her. After a short investigation, the case was dropped. "The State declines to file criminal charges," wrote a prosecutor. "There is insufficient credible evidence... due to the victim recanting her original statement and lack of an independent witness." Vanilla Ice's attorney simply said "it was just a verbal argument. He didn't physically harm his wife."

Fast forward to 2016 and the former lovers are preparing for divorce. According to TMZ, the couple have been legally separated for two years and share teenage daughters Dusti Rain and KeeLee Breeze. It's unclear if a prenuptial agreement was in place or if they plan to divide up finances and property equally.

He was arrested for burglary

In February 2015, Vanilla Ice landed in jail for allegedly stealing several items from an abandoned home near a property he was renovating for his DIY show. Among the items allegedly swiped were art work, a pool heater and two bikes, according to People. What makes the situation so bizarre is that Vanilla Ice supposedly told authorities he had plans to purchase the home but could not produce any contracts or financial statements to back up his claims. He also said he "found several of the items next to the curb and thought they were trash." He was ultimately charged with grand-theft and burglary.

"This was a house owned by an estate. There's a dispute where the furniture was," Vanilla Ice's lawyer Bradford Cohen told the site. "Police say it was in the property — the garage, the backyard, that type of thing. We would have disputed that if we went to trial, because it was on the curb. Rob didn't have any criminal intent at all; this was a misunderstanding and the prosecutor knew that."

In all, Vanilla Ice was ordered to pay the estate between $1,100 and $1,300 and complete 100 hours of community service with Habitat for Humanity.

When ABC asked Vanilla Ice about the drama, he simply said "I feel horrible. It's the worst day of my life... I'm a family man, I'm married, I got kids. I'm sorry to everybody." It's unclear if he ever followed through to purchase the property after the snafu.

He danced with the stars

After years of hitting the stage to rap, Vanilla Ice put on a pair of dancing shoes to prove he's got rhythm. Unfortunately, he does not! The rapper had a short-lived stint on Dancing with the Stars in the fall of 2016 and lasted just four episodes. He was paired with professional dancer Witney Carson and placed 10th overall.

According to E! News, he and Carson danced the Vinnese Waltz to "La Nouba" by Benoit Jutras and received a score of 23 out of 30 points. Then they moved on to the Cha-cha-cha as his classic hit "Ice Ice Baby," played in the background. That danced earned 25 points. But their best dance, which earned them 26 points, was to "Love and Marriage."

"We did 'Ice Ice Baby' so I'm good, I'm happy," he told the site after being eliminated. He also applauded his partner. "She's taught me a lot, she's been a trooper. It's been an amazing experience." Despite being booted off for his lack of smooth moves, Vanilla Ice says he'll forever keep dancing because "dancing is happiness."

He's busy addressing past drama

In 1996, Vanilla Ice said he was intimidated by Suge Knight and forced to signed over "points" from his hit record "Ice, Ice Baby." In an interview with ABC, the rapper claimed Knight followed him around on several occasions until finally showing up at his hotel room where Knight pushed him to part with the rights to the song. The points signed over are valued at $3 million to $4 million dollars. Knight denied being violent or threatening on that night.

In 2013, Vanilla Ice addressed that dark night on Sway's Universe, a XM Sirius show. Vanilla Ice cleared up rumors that Knight hung him over a balcony in the hotel room but did say it wasn't a positive evening. "That money that Suge did get from me...He was nice about it. He was nice when he met me and everything," Vanilla Ice recalled. "I got it. I know who you are. You don't have to beat me up. I know everything about you. I get it. You got my attention... I look at in a positive way. I've made great investments... That money went to start Death Row Records. That money went on to fund some of the greatest hip-hop music of our time. The Chronic record, funded by Vanilla Ice... Snoop Dog, funded by Vanilla Ice. 2 Pac, funded by Vanilla Ice. I may not have had a good return on my money... I never was bitter." Vanilla Ice also says he sold 160 million records in his career, so he's truly not missing the cash he was allegedly forced to pony up.

He wants to help Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber has lived a troubled life since finding stardom as a teenager. From his lengthy arrest record to the myriad of damaging headlines, it's a lifestyle Vanilla Ice can relate to. He claims he knows what the star needs to do to fix his life and stay away from the drama. Miley Cyrus warned Bieber he doesn't want to end up like Vanilla Ice, and it's a theory the '90s rapper surely agrees with.

"I had to go through the trenches. I wrote 'Ice Ice Baby' when I was 16 years old. So, I think a lot my advice would do him some good," Vanilla Ice told TMZ. "No one is going to help them out but themselves. They have to bring their own paddle and swim across and get through the trenches and get through the other side."

Vanilla Ice warns there will be a time when music stops and Bieber will be forced to find his true purpose in life. "How does he fit into real reality? Being a real person and not having all the fans and the people around that are plastic or fake or whatever," Vanilla Ice advised. "He's going to have to figure it out at that point."