Aaron Cohen is an experienced bodyguard and a former member of the Israeli Defense Force’s elite Duvdevan special forces unit. But he’s got a new job – protecting Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. He’s been hired as their new bodyguard, following the October 3 armed robbery of Kardashian at her Paris apartment.
The 40-year-old Cohen has worked with celebrities in the past and even tried his hand at acting. Here is a look at his life and career.
1. Although He Served in the Israeli Military, Cohen Was Born in Canada
Cohen outlined his life story in the book Brotherhood of Warriors, co-written by Douglas Century. In the book, Cohen revealed that he was born in Montreal on February 28, 1976. His parents were members of an English-speaking Jewish community in the city. They split when he was young and he often moved between Miami, Los Angeles and Montreal.
Cohen moved to Israel after high school and remained there until 2000. He served in the Duvdevan unit and worked for Mossad.
While living in Los Angeles, his mother married writer/producer Abby Mann, who won the 1961 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Judgement at Nuremberg.
2. Cohen Founded IMS Security in Hollywood & Said in 2009 That Celebrities Could Spend Over $1 Million a Year on Security
After Cohen returned to Los Angeles in 2000, he decided to join the movie business, but not as an actor. Instead, he founded IMS Security in Hollywood. In 2009, Cohen told CNN that security is often a celebrities’ top expenditures in a year.
“If you are looking to protect a celebrity family like Brad [Pitt] and Angelina [Jolie] or Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, for instance, the price tag for job like that is going to be around $1 [million] to $1.4 million a year,” Cohen said in 2009. “When you have kids, you need separate security, because everyone is going off in different directions.”
Stalker investigations could make the tabs climb even higher.
“It is at least a $20,000 retainer in order to boost security and add a proactive investigation to stop a stalker,” Cohen explained to CNN. “You will also spend that if you are the kind of celebrity who is constantly dogged by paparazzi.”
Cohen is also the founder of Cherries, which is a consulting firm that “specializes in developing and manufacturing concealed carry gear and equipment for for plain clothed carry, as well as providing multi-layered, Israeli-grade protective services to at-risk clientele and tactical training to various government agencies.”
3. Cohen Once Criticized Other Security Guards for Getting Too Physical While on Duty
In 2011, after Lady Gaga’s security at the time was criticized for being overly violent with paparazzi, Cohen agreed that some in the celebrity bodyguard industry can be overzealous.
“More often than not celebrity bodyguards don’t possess any government level training, and what you get is a bunch of thugs, untrained, poorly equipped unprofessional people who get the gig because of relationships harvested with managers, publicists and assistants,” Cohen told Fox News in June 2011.
Cohen also said that Hollywood is not Iraq or Afghanistan. Bodyguards don’t need to use excessive force.
“The truth is that in Hollywood there is rarely a need for violent force. We’re not in Iraq, we’re not in Afghanistan, and during the day-to-day, excessive force does not need to be used,” Cohen told Fox News.
4. Kevin Federline Used IMS Bodyguards to Serve Britney Spears’ Assistants During Their Custody Battle
In 2007, Cohen and his IMS agents were at the center of another Hollywood drama. As Access Hollywood reported at the time, Britney Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline’s attorney hired IMS to serve Spears’ former assistant Alli Sims and Spears’ bodyguard Damon Shippen with subpoenas to testify in their custody battle.
In an interview with Forward.com in 2007, Cohen called that operation “pure counter-terrorism.”
In that same interview, Cohen called stalking “a form of terror,” explaining, “The formula is a lot like counter-terrorism, because you need to see who you’re dealing with before you freak out.”
Cohen’s company also worked for Katy Perry, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brad Pitt. He’s also worked with celebrities on their fighting choreography and weapons training. Cohen even appeared on screen in Haywire and End of Watch.
5. Cohen Was Hired to Bodyguard Kardashian After Her Previous Bodyguard Wasn’t With Her During the Robbery
When Kardashian was tied up and robbed in her Paris hotel, bodyguard Pascal Duvier wasn’t there. Instead, he was with her sisters, Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian. There were reports at the time that Kardashian didn’t blame Duvier for not being on-scene, but clearly the Kardashian team decided that they needed a change.
Cohen’s hiring was first reported by the U.K. Sun. He later sent a statement to YNetNews.com in Israel, saying that he could not confirm if he was hired. “But I can say that it’s unthinkable that a star of Kim’s caliber only has one security guard,” he said.
“You have to understand that this is a star who has more followers on social media than presidential candidates,” Cohen told YNeNews.com. “People know where she is at almost every moment, what jewelry she has on and also that her security is lacking. You could say she’s ‘asking’ to be robbed. With everything that happened, she’s lucky to be alive”