It’s not unusual for wrestlers to wind up being romantically, or at least physically involved with one another. The business entails a unique lifestyle of travel, staying fit, enduring physical aches and pains, and having your schedule, look, and income largely dictated by your employer’s whims. There are those wrestlers like Kevin Nash who maintained a marriage away from the business—Nash has openly claimed the successful marriage is because he kept his personal life separate. There are also those like Shawn Michaels who settled down into a happy, stable marriage.
For every wrestler’s love story that went smoothly or arrived at a happy ending, there are others checkered by more controversy, challenges, and, at least in retrospect, embarrassment. Particularly for major wrestling companies, it’s a high pressure environment and a potentially volatile one as talents have to look out for their standing and can be released for arbitrary reasons. On top of that, in a world of people who are often attractive and in great shape, there’s a world of potential for talents to get drawn into ill-advised relationships, affairs, and hookups.
So, it may come as little surprise that there are those pro wrestlers who wind up with dating histories they aren’t exactly proud of. Whether it’s a single ill advised coupling, or a pattern of questionable judgment, these are talents who have found themselves in unfortunate situations. All the worse, in this era of shoot interviews, tell-all books, and social media, it’s harder to keep those personal histories truly private or to allow anyone to forget them. This article takes a look at 15 wrestlers who are ashamed of their dating history.
Paige is a talented all around performer when it comes to wrestling, and particularly impressive for coming of age and being ready to debut on the WWE main roster at just twenty one years old. However, Paige is also a talent who has seen her considerable wrestling accomplishments largely obscured by a personal life full of controversy. Yes, she had a heated relationship with Alberto Del Rio that saw the two of them run afoul of WWE management, and later have legal difficulties. In addition to that, though, Paige had the misfortune of having video footage and photos released of her engaging in non-PG activity with Brad Maddox and Xavier Woods.
While she has a notably checkered past for someone who has been in the limelight for such a short period of time, there’s hope that she may have her act together now. Reportedly split off from Del Rio, she’ll have another shot at making the most of her opportunities with WWE.
14 The Undertaker
The Undertaker is known for being an old school wrestler, in particular for his tendency to protect kayfabe. While other wrestlers visit any podcast that will have them and post their thoughts to social media on the regular, The Undertaker has generally protected the business. He’s rarely spoken for WWE documentary projects, and has never even appeared in the crowd for Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
The Deadman did give fans a peek into his personal life, however during the Attitude Era and immediate aftermath. During that period, he took on a biker gimmick, and even brought his real life wife Sara on air for a role. During this time, he also sported a neck tattoo with her name.
While The Phenom never had a reputation for sleeping around, there’s some pretty clear evidence he regretted at least the tattoo from that one. After The Undertaker split with Sara, he went so far as to have the tattoo removed—a painful and expensive process—before moving on to his current wife, Michelle McCool.
13 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is one of the top stars of his generation, hand selected to be the first NXT Champion, and later earning a prestigious spot with the heavily pushed Shield faction, then world title opportunities. All of this momentum nearly go derailed, however in 2015.
Rollins was engaged to a woman away from the wrestling business, but purportedly involved with NXT trainee Zahra Schreiber at the same time. Things came to a head when Rollins posted a nude picture to Twitter—it’s unclear if it were a mistake, poor judgment, or a result of hacking. Things went even worse when WWE auto-posted the photo to their website, and Rollins’s fiancée tweeted a nude photo of him as revenge.
The whole ordeal was embarrassment for Rollins, made worse when Schreiber later faced another social media related controversy for photos surfacing of her with swastika imagery, from before her time with WWE. Needless to say, Rollins would probably prefer his connection to Schreiber be scrubbed from the public’s memory altogether at this point.
12 John Cena
John Cena was the face of WWE for around a decade and arguably still is. At present, he’s engaged to Nikki Bella in a bit of a dream couple, for pairing two of the company’s top stars and most traditionally attractive people. However, Cena has a bit more checkered past when it comes to his romantic life.
In particular, it’s widely rumored, and substantiated by enough reliable sources, that Cena had an affair with Mickie James while he was with his first wife, and while James was dating Kenny from the Spirit Squad. There was an ugly fall out from that pairing as Kenny was demoted and eventually dismissed from WWE. Meanwhile, James purportedly thought they were going to be a serious couple and struggled in the aftermath, before WWE switched her to another brand to, at least theoretically, ease tensions. It’s a rare scandal on Cena’s mostly clean record, and one you have to assume he’d just as soon forget about.
Then of course, there's Cena's first marriage to Liz Huberdeau, which involved a messy divorce and is what scared Cena off from marriage for several years, before proposing to Nikki Bella.
11 Shawn Michaels
As referenced in the intro to this countdown, Shawn Michaels is now settled down and known to be a happily married man and father. His younger years were nowhere near this stable, however, as we he was known for substance abuse, partying, and sleeping around a bit. In particular, his past connection with Sunny has come back to haunt him in recent years.
Sunny has spoken openly about their relationship, in particular citing that Michaels had an insatiable libido, and couldn’t get enough of her. According to Sunny, her long time hubby Chris Candido was aware of and ultimately OK with the side relationship as long as she didn’t leave him. She cited that as the only reason why she didn’t take Michaels up on an elaborate vacation away.
Sunny has been known to have been involved with quite a few men over the years and the general understanding is that Michaels doesn’t like being on that list, or appreciate his sexual history being spoken about so openly, especially since finding God.
10 Beth Phoenix
Beth Phoenix is happily married to Edge these days. They’re raising children together, she’s an occasional guest on his podcast with Christian, and by all indications the two are happy together. Each have their history, though. While Phoenix wasn’t the only female performer of her generation to become romantically involved with CM Punk during his WWE tenure, she may be the one who regrets it the most.
Punk is known to be outspoken, and surely caused some extra offense when he spoke about his pairing with Phoenix in subsequent interview. He suggested that not only was she hung up on him, but also that she was boring to sleep with. Regardless of whether these points were true, it was disrespectful for Punk to share the embarrassing insights publicly, and there’s little doubt Phoenix looks back on the whole situation with some shame.
9 Bray Wyatt
With his largely supernatural character, and anything but conventionally good looks, Bray Wyatt may be the last WWE Superstar whose love life fans would be eager to speculate about. However, he became the subject of rumors earlier this year due to his rumored extramarital activities with ring announcer and Total Divas alumna JoJo.
Some would argue Wyatt was too open about breaking kayfabe on social media for family pictures and particularly talking about his kids. Since news broke that he was getting divorced, though, and all the more so since the news about JoJo, he’s been conspicuously more quiet. Maybe he’s trying to protect his character now, or protect his new girlfriend from negative attention. Whatever the case may be, he’s noticeably quieter and it seems he’s experiencing at least some level of shame in regards to his affair.
8 Triple H
Triple H is one of half of the ultimate wrestling power couple. He’s a legendary wrestler, who married into the most powerful family in wrestling, and is now lined up to join Stephanie McMahon in running WWE in the not too distant future. However, before there was Stephanie, there was Chyna.
In the Thy Kingdom Come WWE documentary, Triple H and Shawn Michaels discussed discovering Chyna and recruiting her to play Triple H’s on air bodyguard. It was a role they felt sure would garner heat for the heel Hunter having a woman protect him, not to mention that Chyna’s unique look and abilities would make her stand out. The experiment worked and in the meantime, Triple H and Chyna would start a real relationship behind the scenes.
Triple H has, in recent years, discussed Chyna’s absence from the WWE Hall of Fame, and particularly cited that the company can’t have kids Googling her and discovering her career in adult films or substance abuse and mental health issues. It would seem that Hunter wants to distance himself, personally, from all of that baggage as well.
7 Jerry Lawler
Jerry Lawler is a true legend of wrestling. In particular, he carved out a legacy for himself in Memphis as a long time wrestling star who also booked and promoted his own territory for a significant chunk of his career, before becoming a broadcasting star and occasional wrestler for WWE. Lawler has notably kept his nose clean when it comes to substance use—including drinking—but has had his issues around women.
Lawler was, at one point, accused of statutory rape. He was cleared of all charges, and explained the circumstances handily in his book—mainly that the accusers made up the whole story. However, the situation casts a bit of a dark cloud over his reputation. Moreover, Lawler’s marriage to The Kat also caused some very public headaches. He’d end up leaving WWE in 2001 out of solidarity when the company let her go, only to subsequently have her break his heart when she left him. In a career full of big accomplishments, Lawler would just as soon leave stories of his romantic life forgotten.
Melina was one of the top female stars for WWE for the period between the Trish Stratus-Lita golden years, and the period from 2015 to present day when WWE really placed a new emphasis on women’s wrestling. She won championships and, particularly as a manager to John Morrison, got featured in a number of storylines.
One of the most controversial angles Melina worked saw a heavy implication that she’d slept with Batista in order to get him not to go after Morrison and tag team partner Joey Mercury (a plan that backfired, by the way). It was heavily rumored that reality mirrored storylines at that point, and that Melina and Batista really had slept with each other. The truth was murky for years and Melina denied it, perhaps because she was in an on and off relationship with Morrison in real life. Batista wrote about it in his book, though, finally leading to some credibility from at least one directly affected party that it had actually happened.
Dustin Rhodes met Terri Runnels in WCW. The story goes that the two fell into passionate love, and that Dustin’s father, Dusty did not approve. Things came to a head when the son canceled meeting up with his dad because his partner wasn’t feeling well. There was a falling out between the Rhodeses and they each indicated that they didn’t speak for a period of years.
From a business perspective, things may have worked out for the best as Goldust and Marlena debuted on the scene in WWE, and with their colorful new characters, they started to build their legacy in earnest. In the end, Terri would end up leaving him, after which Dustin and Dusty would reconcile. While Dustin and Terri are purportedly on good terms now, from interviews he’s given about his relationship with his father, and what he wrote in his book, it would seem that Dustin deeply regrets choosing her over his dad at the time.
4 Ric Flair
Ric Flair is notorious for living his gimmick as the limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling and dealing son of a gun. As Bret Hart described in his book, he remembered attending a party at Flair’s hotel room that went deep into the night, only to also come upon Flair already mid workout at the hotel gym in the wee hours of the morning. He burned the candle at both ends to say the least, and has made no bones about the fact that he slept with a lot of women.
While most people on this countdown are ashamed of some of the partners they dated, Flair clearly has some shame now in regards to whom he dated, whom he slept with, and his four failed marriages. It’s clear he wasn’t the best husband, and given his widely reported financial woes, having so many divorces in his history surely hasn’t helped his bank account either.
Lita was one of the most popular female stars of the Attitude Era. Her dyed red hair and tattoos made her stand out from the pack, besides which her lucha libre informed offense made her a star in the ring. She was also notably dating Matt Hardy in real life, while managing him on screen, making them one of WWE’s most captivating up and coming duos.
Everything changed when Hardy discovered text messages from his on screen rival and real life friend Edge, to Lita. The texts revealed that he had feelings for her, and suggested that the two may have been involved in an affair. Hardy was understandably upset, but the issue took on a life of its own when WWE released Hardy, purportedly for the safety of everyone involved (not to mention the implicit value judgment that they cared more about keeping Edge on the payroll.
Lita’s involvement in the love triangle soured fans on her, and forced her into a heel turn. That wouldn’t be her only notable romance with a WWE Superstar, though, as years later she was also linked to CM Punk. Punk is known as a bit of a player, and one has to wonder if, like her earlier scandal, Lita may have some regrets about having pursued the relationship in its aftermath.
2 Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has been a WWE mainstay for nearly a decade now, and across that time has been involved with his share of women. He was involved in a relationship with Nikki Bella before she was with John Cena, and which led to tensions between the Bellas and Ziggler’s friend Maria Kanellis when they thought she was trying to move in on The Show Off. Ziggler was also linked to Dana Brooke and noted to have hooked up with Sunny for what she described as a marathon bedroom session. Ziggler was also notably involved with actress and comedian Amy Schumer who memorably described him as too athletic in bed.
It’s unclear if Ziggler takes pride in his number of high profile partners or is embarrassed by it, as he hasn’t publicly commented on the matter much. However, one has to imagine that he doesn’t love former partners like Schumer and Sunny talking about his performance so openly.
1 Stacy Keibler
Stacy Keibler is married now, and her most famous relationship was with full blown movie star and sex symbol George Clooney. With that in mind, you have too assume she’s a little abashed about her dating history when it comes to her time in the professional wrestling business.
During her time with WCW, Keibler was linked to Ric Flair’s son David, and in WWE she was known to be dating Test. There are other partners she was rumored to be linked to, but these ones alone seem like odd fits for the now successful actress and model. To be fair, though, it was her career in wrestling that got her a spot on Dancing With Stars and truly paved the way for her to become an A-list celebrity.