You’d think it would be cool to be one of Ric Flair’s kids, right?
But maybe not so much. While it would be cool to claim the greatest professional wrestler of all time–those 16 world championships don’t lie–the reality looks a lot different. If there’s one thing that would put a stop to the Nature Boy’s wheelin’, dealin’, kiss-stealin’, limousine-ridin’, and jet-flyin’, it would be trailing batch of children along in his wake. Despite being married for long stretches of time and fathering multiple children with two different women, Flair never had much of a reputation as a family man. And let’s be fair: Ric is on record that being ‘the Nature Boy’ was never a gimmick for him. It wasn’t a character for him. He lived the persona, 24/7. He might be in Baltimore one night, and in Las Vegas the next. During his heyday in the 1980s, Flair was on the road constantly defending the NWA (later WCW) world heavyweight championship. He did this in large cities and small towns, selling himself and the world title as the center of the universe. In his autobiography, Flair wrote that working and being on the road 300 days of the year was normal for him as champ.
So while Flair was entertaining millions of fans around the globe, his kids didn’t get to see him that often unless they–like the rest of us–saw the glamorous TV character he showed the rest of the world. That doesn’t mean Ric doesn’t love his children, of course. Sometimes absence really does make the heart fonder. Now, here are 15 things you need to know about Ric Flair and his relationship with his kids.
15. There’s A Family Split
Ric has four kids by two different women. The older pair, Megan and David, were born in the 1970s when Flair was still in his first marriage to Leslie Goodman, which lasted from 1970 until 1983. Flair’s second marriage produced two more children, again an older girl and a younger boy: Ashley and the youngest boy, Reid, who died tragically at age 25. While the kids get along well, there has always been the half-sibling dynamic at play as well.
The Flair kids come together to support their father, though, with all of the children appearing on-camera together at events like the 2002 Royal Rumble or Flair’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. On-camera, the Flairs are very image-conscious and portray a loving family dynamic, which doesn’t always come through when the cameras are off, as you’ll see later in this list.
14. They Really, Really Didn’t See Him That Often
Ric was on the road A LOT. In those days, the world champion wrestled in multiple territories broken up across the United States, as well as visiting Japan and Australia. And to even get to the point of contending for the world championship, Flair had to wrestle in St. Louis regularly, since that’s where the promotion was based for many years. Flair talks a lot about flying in jets and riding in limos, but there were many years where you’d find him riding in a rental car or being driven around in a beater by a preliminary wrestler like Len Denton.
Those miles added up to hours and hours spent away from home, so the Flair household was run by whomever his current wife was. During his last run in the ring, Flair often thanked his second wife, Beth, the mother of Ashley (WWE’s Charlotte) and Reid, for her role in holding down the fort for the family.
13. The Quiet One
There’s something to be said for staying out of trouble, and that brings us to Ric’s oldest child, a daughter named Megan. While she’s got her own IMDb page and she’s made some sporadic public appearances in support of her father, Megan has largely shunned the spotlight. She’s also the Flair child who first made Ric a grandfather, giving birth to Morgan Lee Ketzner in 2004, when Flair was 55 years old.
Megan has essentially settled down to a quiet life–at least as quiet as one can when your father is one of the greatest personalities in all of professional wrestling. As the oldest child, Megan’s perceived as the steady, quiet one–largely because she’s never seemed to seek the spotlight for herself.
12. The Family Business
Ric Flair is a sixteen-time world heavyweight wrestling champion. At one point, Flair was probably the most famous pro wrestler on the planet not named Hulk Hogan. So it would make sense that Flair’s athletically gifted children would go into the same business. Three of them–David, Ashley, and Reid–did just that. All three of them even adopted their father’s famous finishing maneuver, the figure-four leglock (or a variation of it) as their own.
Unfortunately, only one of those children, Ashley, has been able to grow past the long shadow that Ric cast across the professional wrestling landscape. It’s difficult to come into your own as an athlete when you first have to walk a mile in the boots of the greatest professional wrestler to ever step into a ring.
11. Unfulfilled Ambitions
While the Flair kids had a lot to live up to once they entered a wrestling ring, David Flair never wanted to be a wrestler when he was growing up. And if you were watching WCW during his run, you could tell. David wanted to be a state trooper, but appeared in what was originally supposed to be a one-time match tag-teaming with his father at the 1999 ‘Souled Out’ Pay-Per-View against Curt Hennig and Barry Windham.
The match was well-received to the point that David was offered a contract. He’d later have a run as the United States champion, and turn on his father to join the NWO. And give David credit–while he never had his father’s natural gifts, he wrestled for 10 years or so, winning titles in smaller promotions before starting his own business. Now settled down with a wife, two kids, and successful business to run in Shelby, North Carolina, you’ve got to think that David Flair is a little happier away from the spotlight.
10. Unfulfilled Ambitions, Part Deux
Prior to blossoming into Charlotte Flair and winning multiple championships in the WWE, Ashley Fleihr was a lot like her brother, David. Although she was a gifted athlete, she’d never planned on becoming a professional wrestler. She attended college at Appalachian State and then graduated from North Carolina State, earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations.
But the Flair athleticism was strong. After graduating college, Ashley embarked on a career as a fitness model and certified personal trainer. She didn’t join the WWE until she was 26, signing a contract in May of 2012, just over a month past her birthday. Of course, with multiple women’s titles in NXT and on the main WWE roster, it might be fair say that Ashley was a late bloomer who was destined for success in professional wrestling.
Ric’s 16 world titles are well documented, and he’s still the only man to win world titles in the NWA, WCW, and WWE. But his kids have taken up where he left off. Everyone knows about Charlotte’s multiple runs as Women’s champion and David’s United States championship. But David also won the WCW world tag team title (teaming with Crowbar), as well as the NWA world tag titles with Dan Factor.
But in real-world competition, Charlotte led her high school volleyball team to two state championships, while the youngest of the Flair siblings,Reid, won the AAU national amateur wrestling tournament. While that early success was just a sign of things to come for Charlotte, Reid wouldn’t be so lucky.
8. Kids As Props
Ric has never shied away from using his family as props for wrestling angles, notably during a retirement angle in 1993, when the older Flair children first appeared on TV in the crowd to watch Flair wrestle what was portrayed as his last match. In 2000, in yet another retirement angle, the kids would be much more involved.
At the 2000 Great American Bash, Ric faced David with the stipulation that if David won, Flair would retire. After heel authority figure Vince Russo tried to interfere, Ashley and Reid jumped the rail and took Russo down, eventually handcuffing him to a railing to keep him from interfering. She was physically restrained from interfering in a handicap match the next night on Nitro when David and Russo defeated Ric and partially shaved his head.
As a man committed to the road, it’s sort of amazing that Ric stayed married to his first wife for 12 years. And then he was with Beth for seven years before their divorce. He also married Tiffany VanDemark for a few years in the mid-2000s, and upon divorcing her, married Jackie Beems, but that didn’t last either. He filed for divorce from Beems in 2012, and the divorce was granted in 2014.
Ashley has had her own matrimonial problems, married and divorced twice before she turned 30. First, she married Riki Johnson in 2010, but the pair ended up splitting after less than two years. In 2013, Ashley married TNA wrestler Bram (real name Thomas Latimer), but their divorce was finalized in 2015.
6. Run-ins With the Law
Look, Ric Flair is the first to say that he was no angel–he never was, and never pretended to be one. He’s been arrested or detained by law enforcement multiple times, and that, unfortunately, is something he’s got in common with his children.
Ashley’s been popped for DUI, as well as the famous road-rage incident where she got into a physical altercation with her father and her boyfriend. Ashley, of course, wasn’t arrested for the fight between her father and her boyfriend–instead, she was jailed for kicking a police officer during the scuffle. She pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, was issued a suspended sentence and served supervised probation instead of jail time. Reid’s story is darker, however. In addition to a DWI arrest, he was also later arrested for possession of black tar heroin, and faced felony charges stemming from that arrest in 2009.
5. Substance Abuse
While Flair’s main drug of choice was alcohol, he admits to doing other mind-altering substances throughout his career and adult life. The infamous Plane Ride from Hell’ in 2002, when a drunken Flair was accused of lewdly accosting multiple flight attendants cost the Nature Boy his job with the WWE.
But Ric’s problems with alcohol were nothing compared to Reid’s battle with heroin. In addition to his 2009 arrest for possession, Reid overdosed twice in 2011. For awhile, it looked like Reid was turning things around. He’d become a pro wrestler like his father, something he’d always wanted. He teamed with Ric on independent shows and trained with him. But on March 29, 2013, Ric found Reid dead in his son’s hotel room at the Residence Inn in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two months later, an autopsy would reveal that Reid had died of an accidental overdose, with prescription medications including painkillers and a muscle relaxer in his system at the time of his death.
For Ric Flair, money was, literally, no object. His failures with his personal finances are legendary, and he even talks about them in his autobiography, To Be the Man. If he made a million dollars in a year, he spent two million. He was driven to live the Nature Boy lifestyle of fast cars, fine houses, jewelry, the works.
But he’d also go into debt for his children, which is something that doesn’t get publicized much. The Morehead Inn in Charlotte sued Flair for refusing to pay a $4,000 bill for a party that Ric threw for Ashley. In 2011, the Inn won a judgment for that money. In addition, Flair went into debt for Reid, failing to pay more than $35,000 in tuition for the pricey private school in New Jersey where Reid trained for the AAU amateur wrestling championship.
3. Throwing Hands
It should come as no shock that Ric and his family didn’t always get along. He’s long had physical altercations with family members, including his romantic interests and his children. Flair once passed out after attacking Reid when the youngest Flair pushed his mother out of an elevator, breaking her arm, and then there’s the well-publicized fistfight between Flair and Ashley’s boyfriend at the time, where Ashley also got involved.
There was also a wedding reception where Ric allegedly started a fistfight with Reid. Although Flair and Reid reconciled well before the end of Reid’s life, you can tell that Flair regrets becoming so physical with his children. He once blamed Reid’s drug problems on the dysfunctional dynamic in the Flair household.
2. The Other Possible Daughter
Officially, Ric has only four children. But what if there are more out there? In 1990, a woman named DeAnn Siden began to stalk Flair, claiming the two had an affair. For the next eight years, she’d follow Ric from city to city. She was kicked out of multiple wrestling events for trying to contact Flair. Eventually, a judge granted Flair a restraining order.
But in 1992, Siden had a daughter, whom she named Tiffany. Siden has always maintained that Tiffany is Ric Flair’s daughter from their time together. However, this has never been proven. And Siden went on to stalk other wrestlers as well, most notably Kurt Angle. So Tiffany’s lineage remains a mystery to this day.
And last but not least, let it be said that despite Flair’s multiple problems, despite the family’s self-admitted dysfunction, there isn’t anything that Ric wouldn’t do to help his family–especially when it comes to getting over in the world of professional wrestling. In 2000, in order to help David get over as a heel, Flair allowed him to shave part of his head after losing a handicapped match to David and Vince Russo. And multiple wrestlers witnessed Flair helping train David in the ring before WCW shows, spending time guiding, critiquing, and offering advice. And, of course, when Ashley transformed into Charlotte, Flair was her on-air mentor on the main roster until the angle where she parted ways with him. Ric was willing to look old, sad, and foolish on national television if it would help his daughter become a bigger star in the world of sports entertainment.
But Ric’s relationship with Reid at the end of Reid’s life is incredibly telling, too. Ric was proud of Reid’s accomplishments as an amateur wrestler and believed he would be the next great Flair in the ring. He worked out and trained with Reid, traveled with him, and saw him begin to blossom into a bona fide professional wrestler, all the while working behind the scenes to ensure Reid would be taken care of by other wrestlers and promoters. Ric was understandably heartbroken–and still is, to this day–over the death of his youngest son.
That’s the list. If I missed anything, hit me up on Twitter: @bobbymathews.
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