Sylvester Stallone has overcome secret heartbreak to stage a Hollywood comeback even bigger than that of his movie alter ego, Rocky Balboa.
The 69-year-old star — a Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee for “Creed” — has never recovered from the devastating death of his oldest child, according to a source.
“Sly is tough on the outside, but on the inside he crumbled,” the source told The National ENQUIRER.
His gorgeous wife, Jennifer Flavin, and their stunning daughters —Sophia, 19, Sistine, 17, and Scarlet, 13 — have joined him on the red carpet while promoting “Creed.”
The actor, who plays an aging Rocky in the hit film, also had two sons with first wife Sasha before their 1985 divorce.
He was shaken to the core when son Sage died at age 36 in 2012 of heart disease.
At the time, a crushed Sly called the death “horrible,” but added: “It’s something that is a reality in life.”
Compounding his grief, six weeks after Sage passed, Sly lost his half-sister, Toni-Ann Filiti, to lung cancer.
The actor has also endured heartache over his younger son Seargeoh, now 36, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age.
Added the source: “Sly has built a $400 million fortune, but family has always come first. If he finally wins an Oscar, no doubt Sage will be smiling in heaven. He was so proud of his father.”