Anyone who travels extensively for their job is going to have a hard time keeping personal relationships healthy while on the road. Athletes in particular are required to travel year round, often without their friends or family members. Wrestlers however, have it rougher than any of the major sports, due to the fact that they have no offseason. On average WWE Superstars are working five nights a week, traveling from city to city in between shows. Life on the road is hard, and success in the wrestling business, often results in unsuccessful marriages.
Divorce seems to be commonplace for many of the most successful superstars in wrestling history. When you really think about it, it does make sense for the top stars in the industry to have the worst marriages. Unless you are bringing your spouse with you all of the time (which can cause its own set of problems), top stars are always on the clock. The more time and energy you put into your career, the less you have to put into your personal life.
The more famous and successful that a wrestler becomes, the more chances they have of being tempted while out alone on the road. Temptation comes in a many forms, like being tempted to drink every night, tempted to use drugs when lonely, or the temptation to cheat on your significant other. Some of the stars on the road are able to avoid all of these, but more than a few have done them all, which has lead them down a path of personal destruction.
Today we are going to look at some of the stars of professional wrestling, who were not able to keep their marriages alive. If you see someone that we forgot to mention, please feel free to sound off in the comments below. The criteria and ranking for this list will be based on the star power of the wrestler, the amount of marriages they've gone through and the circumstances causing the end of their marriages.
16 Kevin Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan is best known as one of the creative minds behind the implosion of WCW. Before his booker days, Sullivan was also a wrestler, who was managed by a valet named Woman aka Nancy Sullivan. Nancy and Kevin were actually a married couple for 12 years during the 80s and 90s. The reason that this is an entry on the list, is that Nancy Sullivan became Nancy Benoit, the eventual wife of former WCW/WWE Superstar Chris Benoit.
While working on the booking committee, Sullivan conceived an angle where Nancy would leave him for Benoit. Sullivan was so intent on the angle working, he suggested that the two share hotel rooms and travel together. Obviously this worked to his marriage’s disadvantage, and caused the eventual divorce between Sullivan and Nancy.
15 Marc Mero & Sable
Marc Mero was one of the baddest men on the planet in boxing, winning a New York State Golden Gloves title in the 1980s. While great at boxing, his wrestling skills were subpar, and he became more known for being the real life husband of WWE Diva Sable. The two were married in 1994, and stayed that way for 10 years. Mero and Sable both left WWE in 2000, and 2001 respectively, and Sable subsequently filed a $110 million lawsuit against Vince McMahon.
After leaving the company Mero retired from full time in ring competition. Some believe that his wife ruined his career inadvertently, which directly affected his marriage. On screen, Sable was made to look stronger than Mero on several occasions, even powerbombing him on television. Off screen the Sable’s lawsuit seemed to have the star blackballed from the WWE. Ironically Sable returned to WWE programming after the lawsuit was settled, and Mero has never been seen again. Sable soon got together with Brock Lesnar following her WWE return and is married to the Beast Incarnate today.
14 Dustin Runnels (Goldust) & Terri Boatright
Dustin Rhodes (Runnels) and Terri Boatright (known as Terri Runnels in WWE) first met in WCW, and wed in 1993 shortly before their departure from the company. The two transitioned into WWE as an on screen duo, with Rhodes portraying Goldust and Terri as Marlena. Goldust’s father Dusty Rhodes had legitimate problems with Terri, which she alleged led to a strain on the relationship. She also claimed that long trips and tours added to her frustration with the marriage. The two were divorced in 1999, but maintain a great parenting relationship for their daughter.
13 The Rock
It seems that even The Great One isn’t immune from a marriage ending in divorce, going through the ordeal in 2007. Though Johnson may be on this list, his relationship with his former wife is surprisingly great. Dany Garcia, going by her maiden name, was and still is The Rock’s business manager. They seem like the model divorced couple.
The two agreed prior to the divorce that they would not demand alimony from each other, and would split custody of their daughter. As for the reason the two called it quits, it’s never been confirmed, but the common theory is that Johnson’s current girlfriend may have been the cause. His relationship with Lauren Hashian is said to span back to before his divorce, and into his marriage.
The Rock lands at no.12 here despite his star power because the split occurred after his wrestling career and of all the ones on this list, his relationship with his ex-wife is as good as any divorced couple could hope for.
12 Shawn Michaels
Believe it or not, there was a time when Shawn Michaels was a crazy, drug addicted womanizer. I know, not really a revelation, but did you know that he was doing all of that while married to his first wife Theresa Wood? It’s okay if you didn’t, most fans don’t know that HBK was a groom prior to his current marriage. Given the circumstances, his first marriage lasted an impressive six years from May of 1988 until August of 1994. Though their relationship may have occurred during his hard years, HBK wrote in his book that their marriage ended amicably.
11 Randy Orton
Randy Orton and his former wife Samantha Speno filed for divorce in June of 2013 citing, the marriage was “irretrievably broken”. Although TMZ released details of the divorce, the WWE Superstar and his ex-wife remained friendly towards each other. The biggest nugget in the TMZ story was the release of Orton’s salary, which was reported to be $291,666 per month. Samantha, who did receive a hefty amount of $654,317 and a car in the split, is not entitled to any of Orton’s WWE earnings.
While the description of the split is vague, we can assume that the two had grown apart, with Orton constantly on the road.
Side note: The woman who portrayed his wife on T.V. in 2009 was not actually his wife.
9 The Undertaker
The Undertaker has been married three times since 1993… I bet you didn’t know that. In fact, there are a lot of things you may not know about the Deadman, as his real life is shrouded in mystery. He and his first wife Jodi Lynn were married in 1989, and conceived a son shortly after. Following their divorce Taker married his second wife, Sara, who appeared as an on screen character in 2001.
While we don’t know the reasons why the couple divorced, we do know a few things. First, he had her tattooed name removed from his neck; and he got over her pretty quick, marrying former WWE Diva Michelle McCool shortly after.
8 Randy Savage & Miss Elizabeth
Before the untimely passing of both Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, the couple spent eight years together as man and wife. The duo met off screen before Elizabeth was ever introduced as a WWE talent, and they were actually married at the time of her debut. Ironically their marriage ended less than a year after their on screen wedding in 1991, at SummerSlam.
While the exact details about their divorce are unknown, several wrestlers have weighed in on the matter. In an interview, Bret Hart attributed the divorce to the couple being trapped “in a cell” all the time on the road. Hulk Hogan also added his two cents, asserting that Savage’s jealousy, and passion may have led to the demise of their relationship.
7 John Cena
During the height of John Cena’s popularity, he decided to get married to his high school sweetheart Elizabeth Huberdeau. Things seemed to be going fine until they decided that they were going to build a house. Yes, John Cena claims that remodeling their house is what put a crack in their three year marriage. Huberdeau claims that she was blindsided by the divorce, and even challenged their prenuptial agreement.
While it’s hard to know who is telling the truth, there are a few outside factors that have come to light since the divorce. Ric Flair on an episode of The Steve Austin Show commented that he and John Cena would party all night. The story may not be true, but that may lend credence to claims that Cena was unfaithful to his wife.
Former WWE Superstar Kenny Dykstra made allegations that Cena was “talking about hooking up with this chick or that chick"and that "him and Jonathan Coachman were always talking about it!". While Dykstra’s claims could be false, keep in mind that he asserts that his engagement with former WWE diva Mickie James was broken off because she was having an affair with John Cena.
A few months after finalizing his divorce, it was discovered that Cena and Nikki Bella were an item and the two are still together.
6 Kurt Angle
This is a messy one. Kurt Angle married Karen Smedley in 1998, shortly after signing with the WWE. She remained off screen during the Olympic Hero’s run in WWE, but became an on screen talent when he began working for rival company TNA in 2007. The Angles' first storyline in the company had Karen feuding with Kurt, threatening to divorce him due to emotional abuse. Fast forward a year, and the storyline became a reality, with the two legitimately divorcing in 2008.
Not long after the couple called it quits, rumors swirled regarding TNA’s founder Jeff Jarrett being romantically linked to Karen. The timeline differs depending on who you ask, but many believe the two were linked since the death of Jarrett’s wife in 2007. Whether or not Jarrett and Angle’s ex-wife were together during their marriage, or not, the fact remains that TNA used this entire situation as storyline soon after.
Adam “Edge” Copeland lands on this list as a two time divorced professional wrestler, and no Vickie Guerrero is not one of them. His first wife Alanah Morley, was the sister of Val Venis, and their marriage lasted for three years. After his first divorce, Copeland hopped right back into the dating scene, shortly after marrying his second wife Lisa Ortiz. During an interview with Off the Record, Copeland attributed the failure of his first marriage due to the travel schedule.
His second marriage however was derailed due to an affair with WWE Hall of Famer Lita. The on screen partnership was derived from a real relationship between the two, which seemingly destroyed Copeland’s second marriage. Though he is doing better now with former WWE Diva Beth Phoenix, it seems that Edge isn’t willing to take the walk down the aisle any time soon.
4 Bret Hart
Bret Hart lands on here for his amount of marriages (currently on his third) and the fact he revealed quite a bit in his autobiography Hittman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Hart admitted in his book that his life on the road made things very tough for his marriage, including his ability to stay faithful, as he openly spoke about his affairs away from home. He and Julie, his first wife, officially divorced in 2002, the same day Bret suffered a stroke, though their marriage had been on the rocks for a long time.
Hart's ex-wife wrote her own book, Hart Strings: My Life with Bret and the Hart Family which pulled no punches. She described her reaction to reading Bret's book as:
“It was shocking to read about this person, a person I had been close to for so long, who I trusted. It was like reading about a complete stranger. All my worst fears sort of just materialised into reality."
Hart remarried in 2004 to an Italian woman, Cinzia Rota but divorced three years later after being unable to decide on where they should live. Hart married for a third time, to Stephanie Washington in 2010.
3 Hulk Hogan
In 2007 Hulk Hogan and his wife Linda filed for divorce after 25 years of marriage. Hogan and his family took part in a reality show called Hogan Knows Best, which detailed the inner workings of his family life. The show, which had long shooting days during production, is believed to be the driving factor in the couple’s split.
Unlike others on this list, this divorce got nasty, and is probably the most mean spirited divorce in wrestling. Linda published a book claiming that Hogan was abusive, and had homosexual adulterous relationships with men during their marriage. To add insult to injury, Linda was able to secure over 70% of The Hulkster’s liquid assets during the divorce…”Brother”.
2 Ric Flair
Ric Flair likes being married, so much so that he has done it four times; The Nature Boy has actually been married for 41 consecutive years, marrying a new woman every year he divorced the previous one. Flair’s most recent divorce is due to “illicit sexual behavior” according to court documents, and an inability to live a normal life according to his ex wife.
The decades that the Hall of Famer has spent on the road, seem to have had a negative effect on his personal life. In perhaps what is a case of life imitating art, Flair is still continuing living life as the jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun, instead of a 66-year-old married man.
1 Steve Austin
Steve Austin may not have had as many championship runs as Ric Flair, but he has had as many marriages. Apparently being the hottest thing in wrestling can cause a few bumps in your relationship with your wife.
Austin's first marriage to Kathryn Burrhus was short, about two years, and reportedly ended because he wanted to pursue a relationship with his on screen manager Jeannie Clark. Clark and Austin would marry the same year of his first divorce and go on to have two children together, with Austin also adopting Jade, a daughter from Clark's previous marriage. The Hall of Famer also infamously gained the name “Stone Cold” due to his second marriage, when his wife used the phrase while serving him tea.
After eight years Austin and Clark divorced, and Stone Cold began a three year marriage with Debra Marshall. The couple's relationship would play out on and off screen, but would end with Austin being charged with domestic abuse. The Texas Rattlesnake divorced Debra in February of 2003, and didn’t remarry until he met his current wife (Kristin) in 2009.
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