The Untold Truth Of Jason Beghe

Veteran actor Jason Beghe first appeared in the film "Compromising Positions," which starred Susan Sarandon. Then in 1991, the pair reunited on screen in "Thelma & Louise," with Beghe appearing as a state trooper who pulls the title characters over. With his charming looks, Beghe next landed the role as Demi Moore's "lover, a fellow Navy officer named Royce" in Ridley Scott's 1997 film "G.I. Jane," Roger Ebert wrote in his review. But years later, he found his on-screen home in Chicago. As sergeant Hank Voight, Beghe's character joined "Chicago Fire," and he went on to reprise the character in the series "Chicago Med," "Chicago Justice," "Chicago P.D.," and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

He's maintained a long and successful career, but it would be a few decades before that would sink in for him. "I'd been working my whole life as an actor and I just always thought, 'What am I going to do when I grow up?'" he recounted to The Derrick. "And then I finally realized, 'I AM an actor' because I never quite knew the point of it."

Of course, there is more to the story than just his films and TV roles. This is the untold truth of Jason Beghe.

Jason Beghe is part of an impressive family

Jason Beghe comes from a long line of impressive relatives. The actor was perhaps destined to later star in TV shows about Chicago because his great-grandfather was the first two-term governor of Illinois and a district attorney in Chicago, per the Chicago Tribune. What's more, his grandfather played the violin in the city's symphony. Even his immediate family has ties to the town: His brother and his parents went to college in Chicago.

Speaking of his parents, Jason Beghe's father, Renato W. Beghe, was a big name in the federal government. As The Washington Post wrote in his obituary, he was a longtime tax lawyer who went on to serve on the U.S. Tax Court after being appointed by George H.W. Bush — in other words, he knew a thing or two about tax law, the IRS, and the federal government. He worked as a Tax Court judge until 2003 and died nine years later. Jason's mother, Bina House Beghe, also died in 2012.

"It seemed something almost destined in a way." Jason told the Chicago Tribune of working in the city so integral to his family's history. "I know my parents would be very pleased and proud." As for his siblings, Jason is one of four children. His sister Francesca was a singer-songwriter who once worked with Joe Cocker, per her artist bio.

Young Jason Beghe had famous pals

Though he had deep family roots in Chicago and went on to star in multiple shows about the Windy City,  the Daily Beast described Jason Beghe as being "a New Yorker through and through," noting that he went to Upper West Side private institution the Collegiate School. While studying as a teenager, Beghe also spent time with future celebrities. "You have no idea the friends I had!" Beghe said in the Daily Beast about growing up in New York City. "I used to hang out with Andy Warhol, Truman Capote." The actor also said Harry Belafonte was like a "second father growing up."

One of Beghe's best friends from school was John F. Kennedy, Jr. "I was very close with John," Beghe explained to the outlet. This gave the future actor plenty of amazing experiences, like Jacqueline Kennedy taking the boys on a trip to Europe, which was young Beghe's first time on the continent. Since his best friend happened to be the son of a US president, Beghe remembered, "The Secret Service would watch us, but they were great! We would joke around with them and they stayed out of the way." 

After JFK Jr. died in 1999, Beghe spoke to CNN about growing up with the former president's son and around the Secret Service. "They respected our desire to be independent and if we did something naughty like puff on a cigarette ... they wouldn't rat on us," he said.

Jason Beghe's life-changing decision

2012 was a significant time in Jason Beghe's life. That year, both of his parents died, and as he said Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he wasn't sure if he was up for taking on any new projects — so much so, he was on the fence about a recurring role on the NBC series "Chicago Fire." Even though the timing was difficult, Beghe explained to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "I ultimately decided to do it." He told the outlet that he started the gig the day after his father's funeral, noting that he was "in the middle of a lot of personal stuff." That said, taking that gig was huge for his career and beyond. "The many ways in which that decision has changed my life could fill a book," he shared. "Suffice it to say, I'm happy I made that choice."

Beghe also credited famous producer Dick Wolf with helping him land the role. Wolf, who produced the "Law & Order" franchise among other series, wanted Beghe to play Hank Voight. As reported by The Derrick, before "Chicago Fire" aired, the network had lined up Beghe to appear in another show. "But Dick being Dick stamped his foot. And I ended up doing 'Chicago Fire' and the rest is history." The character portrayed by Beghe was a hit with fans, which helped him keep the role in the spinoff series "Chicago P.D." In a 2017 statement (via Deadline), Beige said "It is a source of great pride for me to be part of 'Chicago P.D.'s incredible cast and crew."

Jason Beghe's brush with death

In the '90s, Jason Beghe was making appearances left and right in movies and TV. From features like "G.I. Jane" to a leading role in the sitcom "To Have & to Hold," Beghe seemed to be on his way to the Hollywood elite. But right before the new millennium, the actor nearly lost it all. He was in a serious car accident in 1999 that almost killed him. Beghe told the Daily Beast that as a result of the wreck, he "broke my neck, my back in a couple of places, all of my ribs, both of my lungs." Beghe shared that he spent nearly a month in a coma and had to be put on life support.

In an interview for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Beghe revealed even more facts about his time in the hospital. "Technically, I did die for a short period of time when I was in the coma," he said. According to the actor, the car accident "was definitely an experience that profoundly informed my perception of what life is." After a full recovery, Beghe continued acting and made a successful career in show business. As for looking back on the horrific experience, he said, "Twenty years later, it's not something I think about very often. But as you bring it up to me, I do believe that I've probably permanently changed since then."

The story of Jason Beghe's voice

The first thing many people notice about Jason Beghe is his distinctive voice. The low register and harsh sound perfectly create what Rolling Stone calls a "raspy tough-guy voice." But it turns out, Beghe's voice didn't always sound this way. After a serious car accident, Beghe needed tubes put into his throat, and while recovering, he ended up damaging his vocal cords. He explained of the aftermath to the Daily Beast, "since I was intubated from being on life support, I would pull the tube out and it made it even more f***ed up."

Beghe explained to the Sioux City Journal that he had a low voice before the accident but afterwards, his speech "got gravellier." The actor joked that now a person "could brew coffee in the back of my throat." While the sound is great for tough characters, Beghe also revealed that it has special powers in his private life. "When my kids' friends come over I can say, 'You guys clean that up' and they do. The voice works," he said. But he admitted to the Daily Beast that the voice is less useful "when I have to play the sweet dad."

Jason Beghe joined Scientology

In 1994, Jason Beghe took acting classes which, as the Daily Beast notedturned out to fundamentally alter the trajectory of his life. The person at the helm was Milton Katselas, a big deal instructor — as The New York Times Magazine wrote in 2007, his former students are likely to call him "the best acting teacher in the world" — and Scientologist. Beghe proceeded to join the organization, like so many others in Hollywood. He rose up in the ranks, and not only became one of the most famous faces of Scientology, but, according to the Daily Beast, gave the church a whopping $1 million. 

In a separate Daily Beast interview, actor and longtime friend David Duchovny reflected on the way Beghe's personality began to change the longer he was a part of the Scientology community. "I noticed that his vocabulary was different. The way he described the world and his experiences, particularly his psychological experiences, was cult-ish and had changed completely," he said. Beghe allegedly said being a member of the church was a positive thing, but "The X-Files" star regretted not snapping the actor out of it and wondered if he "failed him as a friend during those years."

The aftermath of Jason Beghe denouncing Scientology

After years in the Church of Scientology, Jason Beghe decided he wanted out. "I think my breaking point came when my wife got pregnant," he told Rolling Stone. However, when the actor tried to update his Wikipedia page to reflect this life change, the website wouldn't accept it. This led to Beghe posting a video on YouTube to declare his separation from the church, calling it "very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health and evolution." As a result, the church labeled the actor as "unreliable, dishonest and biased." This began Beghe's public campaign to speak out against the practices within Scientology, such as appearing in the eye-opening documentary "Going Clear" about the church. Beghe told Rolling Stone about the film, "I think it provides useful evidence and information to make people think twice about getting involved in Scientology. And hopefully if someone is involved, this might start greasing the path for them to get out."

During a tour through Europe, Beghe gave speeches and interviews in various countries to talk about his experience. "We met with government officials. Belgium has a lawsuit against Scientology. France has a suit. It's getting shut down in Russia," he told Village Voice. After his speech in Berlin, he said the German government "put up a sign warning about the dangers of Scientology." That said, Beghe claimed employees of the church followed him during his tour, adding, "Private eyes were watching us all the way."

Jason Beghe and David Duchovny go way back

If you'd like to know more about Jason Beghe and David Duchovny's friendship story, look no further. As Beghe told Sioux City Journal, the two "have been best friends since ninth grade," when they both happened to be at the same NYC prep school. Even after both guys became famous actors, Beghe explained that he and Duchovny would still see each other. "When we get together, we talk about high school hijinks. We never talk about careers," Beghe said about his school buddy.

Unfortunately, the two hit a rough patch in their friendship as a result of Beghe's changing beliefs. "Well, Jason and I drifted apart during that time, because Scientology hangs with their own when they're doing it," Duchovny admitted to the Daily Beast.

After Beghe separated from Scientology, he and Duchovny reconciled. "Scientology affected our relationship in that we didn't get to enjoy each other as much as we could have," Beghe revealed in a different Daily Beast interview. "But after having gone through that, our reunion was that much better." Reportedly, he and Duchovny "had a wild night discussing his time in church" in their friendship reunion. Beghe said of reconnecting with his old pal through a day of laughter together, "I think we all love each other, and it's just about getting all the lies out of the way so you can truly appreciate it." Later, Beghe worked with his friend on Duchovny's hit show "Californication." Beghe joined the cast for 13 episodes of the Showtime series.

Acting wasn't Jason Beghe's first career

Looking back at this time in college, Jason Beghe couldn't quite focus on his studies. "I couldn't sit still. I needed to be moving. I was an OK student," he explained to The Derrick. The actor also believed he may have been dealing with attention deficit disorder (ADD). Since school didn't always click for him, Beghe decided to head to Europe and to become a male model. The plan worked and he spent part of his 20s showcasing his looks — but as he tells it, being handsome wasn't what set him apart. "The reason I was successful at modeling was not because I was cute or anything but I was the first guy to be a real-person model," he said. 

As the future actor explained, his secret to nailing the best pose was to create a backstory and situation for each shot. For example, he'd pose "like I'm waiting at the bus stop to go to the loony bin to pick up my mother." Instead of just trying to appear attractive, he explained, "I tried to emulate photographs that were from books like 'The Family of Man' rather than from Vogue."

As noted in "Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge," he became the face of Armani, and his work was featured in the The New York Times in 1984.

How Jason Beghe started acting

While working as a model across the pond, Jason Beghe decided to try his hand at acting after being told time and time again that he should give it a go, according to The Derrick. "I was 23, 24 when I left Europe and did OK in the [acting] class and everybody was professional, and I asked them if I could meet their agents," he said. The connections were a success: "I signed with an agent and started working." And even before he launched his showbiz career, he did not have to devote much energy to a side hustle, telling The Derrick, "I never really had the waiting-tables-thing." 

In the same interview, he remembered that in those early days of acting, he tried to imitate the people of New York "and understand them and started to be interested, which I think is a good axiom for life: try to be interested rather than interesting."

Even though he spent a lot of time researching people, one of his earliest major roles was working alongside a primate. Beghe was the lead character in George A. Romero's horror film "Monkey Shines." While filming, the real-life monkey that played Boo would tease Beghe. One time, the animal actor swapped out a grape that it was supposed to feed to the Beghe. "She takes the grape, teases, tosses it, grabs a turd, and throws it in my mouth," he told Scream Factory. Ah, when show business meets monkey business.

Jason Beghe's set behavior was investigated

A few seasons into "Chicago P.D.," some unsavory allegations regarding Jason Beghe's behind-the-scenes behavior surfaced. In 2016, "NBCU was made aware via cast and crew of a number of issues on the set of P.D. involving Beghe, according to sources," Deadline reported. As a result, the network launched an investigation on the complaints. According to the complaints, the problems involved "anger issues — yelling and screaming by Beghe that members of the production found deeply offensive." As a result, the network officially reprimanded the actor and provided him a coach to help deal with the anger issues. But more problems surfaced, with Beghe reportedly using "highly aggressive and sexually suggestive language as well as intimidating postures and more."

In a statement, Beghe apologized to everyone involved in the "Chicago P.D." series. "I am deeply sorry for my behavior, which I know has been hurtful to my friends and colleagues," the actor said. He admitted to anger issues and said, "I have been working with a coach to help me learn how to mitigate my temper. It's an ongoing process, and it has been a humbling one."

The apology may have been a little too late. Sophia Bush, who starred alongside Beghe, left the show in 2017. Additionally, a crew member and another actor also exited the series. All three were rumored to have left specifically because of Beghe's workplace behavior.

What is Jason Beghe's relationship status?

In 2000, Jason Beghe married Angie Janu, People reported. As recounted by Jason's friend David Duchovny who attended the wedding, the couple tied the knot at the Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles, per the Daily Beast. Duchovny also revealed that people associated with Scientology were also at the wedding and alleged "they made a play for" the "Californication" actor.

According to her IMDb page, Janu has two acting credits: One in a 1997 movie called "Too Good to Be True" and as Camille Voight in an episode of "Chicago P.D." In the episode, Jason's character Hank Voight watched wedding videos of he and his fictional wife Camille. Except the videos he watched were actually of Beghe and Janu. "It's far more powerful, for us, to see real footage than made-up footage. Once we saw the home movies that Jason submitted, we knew we had a home run," one of the show's producers said in The Hollywood Reporter. "To see him looking back and accessing those memories was the best ending we could have hoped for," the producer added about Beghe.

In 2017, nearly two decades of marriage, Beghe filed for divorce. Per People, this kicked off a long procedure and it took until 2020 for their divorce to be finalized. Included in the terms of the dissolution of their marriage were clauses on joint custody and child support of their two children, and part of the agreement prohibited either parent from saying anything bad about each other in front of the kids.

Inside Jason Beghe's life as a dad

As reported by People, Jason Beghe is the dad of two boys with his ex-wife Angie Janu. Of his sons, Bix is the oldest and his youngest is named Bo Bear. Spending a lot of time in Chicago to film "Chicago P.D.," Beghe enjoyed spending time with his kids in classic father-son scenarios. For example, as the Daily Beast recounted, the actor took his boys to one of the Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians World Series games in 2016 — not a bad family memory, especially given how significant that series ended up being.

On the "Better Together" podcast, Beghe said it was difficult leaving home as an actor and a dad. "The best thing you can give your kids is you," he explained, adding that he felt guilty about missing out on part of their childhood. That said, he is grateful for bonding with his kids in their limited time together. During the podcast, which was released in May 2021, the actor shared that his youngest son was adamant about moving to Chicago to live with his dad to attend high school. Meanwhile, his oldest was away at college, as noted by The Derrick. Thinking about his ups and downs with divorce, children, and acting, Beghe told the outlet, "My life kind of happened to me."

The charitable side of Jason Beghe

Just because Jason Beghe can expertly play a gritty character with a grittier voice doesn't mean he's always a tough guy in real life. Throughout his career, the actor became involved with multiple charities and organizations. For example, he's listed as a friend of the World War II Foundation, who create educational documentary films to honor "the legacy of the veterans and survivors of one of history's most important time periods."

Given his proximity to Chicago as a star of multiple series about the city, Beghe has become a local philanthropist. Like when he created a video on Facebook in support of the Chicago Fire Department Foundation. Beghe saluted "the men and women of the Chicago Fire Department," and said "they're out there every day putting their lives on the line for us," especially during the global pandemic.

More than just supporting tragedies like wars and fires, Beghe also used his one-of-a-kind voice in a surprising host role. As posted by the Chicago Scots Charity, Beghe hosted a bingo event for an assistant living facility. Outside of announcing numbers and letters for a good cause, Beghe also linked up with Chris Evert Charities, with Charity Buzz noting that the actor offered up a private virtual meeting and a signed hoodie as a prize in a charity auction.

How much is Jason Beghe worth?

Jason Beghe debuted in the 1985 film "Compromising Positions" as Cupcake, and his career became even sweeter from that point on. His film roles included the horror film "Monkey Shines," dramas like "The Next Three Days," and the superhero-filled "X-Men: First Class." But Beghe really hit the jackpot in the Second City. A large portion of his bank account comes from his role in "Chicago P.D." According to Celebrity Net Worth, Beghe reportedly earned a salary of $250,000 per episode on the TV drama. With royalties, this meant Beghe made a total "around $6 million per year." Combining this with all his other work, Beghe was worth an estimated $9 million as of 2021.

With much of his time playing a character based in Chicago, Beghe used some of his money to live in that very city. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the actor purchased a $1.63 million condo in Chicago in 2019. The impressive place with four-and-a-half baths also boasts a rooftop deck and two designated garage spaces — a big get in a metropolis where parking is not exactly easy to come by. Evidently, his big purchase came at the just the right time: Reportedly, the condo was listed at $1.9 million months before the actor moved in. Sounds like that deal was a piece of cupcake.