Kevin Sorbo: From hero to zero and back again

Under His wings, you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4


Kevin Sorbo, or Hercules to his fans, was on the top of his game. “My movie career was taking off. ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’ was the most-watched TV show in the world at the time,” he recalls, until it, all came to a screeching halt.


Instead of battling monsters and evil warlords on set, Sorbo was fighting for his life after suffering a series of strokes. “I’ve always had faith in my life, but I’ve never really needed faith until I was hit with this roadblock. I wrestled with God. Yelling at him, ‘Why did you let this happen to me?’ while at the same time praying for him to help me get better. But I never lost belief in God or Jesus.”


“I had to learn how to walk and balance again. My speech was gone. I did 10 times more than what the doctors told me to do in terms of my recovery and therapy. I said I am not going to let this thing hold me back. I am a walking miracle,” shares Sorbo.

Sorbo’s wife, Sam, urged him to write a book about his three-year battle back to health. “True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal – and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life.”


“It was therapeutic. My wife made me write it. She said, ‘Here you are playing this larger-than-life character, Hercules, on TV. You need to show people that things happen to anybody at any time. Your road to recovery will influence people in a positive way,’” recalls Sorbo.

Coming through something like that, Sorbo saw things a bit differently. “I decided that I wanted to do movies that are positive,” motivating him to take his first role in a faith-based film, “What If,” in 2010. From there, he hasn’t slowed down, having shot more than 60 movies.


“There’s just so much hate, anger, divisiveness, evil and violence. I wanted to do movies that I grew up watching with my mom with Spencer Tracey, Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. I wanted to do more movies like that. Movies that have hope, redemption, love and laughter.”


The Women’s Refuge invited Sorbo to be the keynote speaker at the nonprofit’s third annual Christmas Banquet on December 11. The banquet supports the Women’s Refuge, a residential, Christian program for women who need help, hope and healing from emotional, spiritual and mental woundedness through the Biblical Community Counseling Center where counsel is available to men, women and families.


“Kevin Sorbo experienced a very traumatic event in his life when he suffered several strokes. He was at the top of his profession and one of the fittest points in his life. Then he was cut down at the knees and had to fight his way back, not knowing if he was ever going to be 100 percent again,” says Diane Ludwig, Women’s Refuge executive director.


“He literally had to embrace his faith and put his trust in the Lord each and every day. Kevin is a really good example of having to go through a very difficult journey, holding onto his faith, and coming out of it even stronger. He represents a lot of the same Christian ideals that we strive to impart to the women and people that come to us for counsel,” she continues.


The Women’s Refuge will host their third annual Christmas Banquet on Saturday, December 11 at the Corporate Air Hangar at 5:30 p.m., 3450 B Airport West Dr., Vero Beach. The event will feature a delicious dinner, a beautiful silent auction display, and music by the Called Higher Worship Team. Sorbo will share his testimony about “embracing adversity and keeping your faith in God as you journey through the crazy world we’re living in right now with all the trials and tribulations and hopefully more triumphs,” words reflected in “True Faith: Embracing Adversity to Live in God’s Light” that he recently co-wrote with his wife, Sam.


To learn more about Sorbo’s faith, family and freedom, please visit SorboStudios.com. For more information about the Women’s Refuge event or to learn how you can become a sponsor, go to womensrefugevb.org.