Vanilla Ice and his nine lives of fame

INDIANAPOLIS — Vanilla Ice is at the Super Bowl.

Vanilla Ice's career has been all overthe map since he hit No. 1 in 1990 with"Ice Ice Baby." (Alix Drawec/NFL)

That Vanilla Ice is anywhere should be considered something of an accomplishment. Ice — real name Rob Van Winkle — was a pop-culture sensation 22 years ago … and a pop-culture laughingstock not long after that.

And yet here he is, promoting his role in an Adam Sandler movie, “That’s My Boy,” at the site of the world’s biggest sporting event.

You’ve come a long way (Ice Ice) Baby. But how?

“Nothing can stop me,” he said. “You take life like this. Simple phrases. Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery. You get in where you fit in, you enjoy life, man. You put a smile on your face, and that karma will come back to you.”

Vanilla Ice is a sloganeering orb of positive light, but I remind him this wasn’t always the case. I cite his infamous appearance on the 1999 MTV special, “25 Lame,” in which he destroys a set after realizing his role on the show was to be mocked in person by a collection of comedians that included Jon Stewart and Denis Leary.

“You got to go through the trenches to understand and appreciate the good times,” said Ice, now 44 years old and the star of a popular home improvement show on DIY Network. “I’ve had a weekend that’s lasted a few years. … I wouldn’t really wish my life on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t trade it with anybody right now.”

I have to ask him about Madonna, whom Ice dated in the early 90s. I wondered if there would be a conversation if the elevator doors opened and the two were face to face … an entirely plausible scenario with both in Indianapolis this weekend.

“Of course there’s a conversation,” he said. “She’s fantastic, she’s a legend. We went out for a couple of years, and, you know, we just went our own ways.”

“It didn’t end well, but that doesn’t mean you hold grudges and you carry that, what, 17 years, 18 years?” he said. “I’m sure she’d be just as happy for me as I am for her.”

And that was a story about Vanilla Ice at the Super Bowl.

— Dan Hanzus

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