The majority of wrestlers tend to be in their 20s to early 30s when they broke into the industry, so fans are always surprised upon learning that they were once married. In the wrestling industry, it is extremely difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with a spouse who isn't a fellow wrestler. They are usually on the road for most of the year, and don't get to spend time back home as much as they would like to. That can complicate matters since most wrestlers wouldn't be willing to drop an opportunity once they receive it.
But in some other cases, there is no doubt that some wrestlers get big headed once they taste the fame, and abandon their past life as they adapt to their new environment. When it comes to male wrestlers, some find it difficult to remain faithful while on the road especially once they have groupies. The more famous you become, the more fans you gain, and particularly more female fans, who will be more than willing to have fun along the way. For some, that lifestyle can be very tempting as opposed to settling down with one partner.
Over the past few decades, we have seen many married wrestlers move on from a past relationship once they get famous. At times, it may be simply a coincidence or the two parties may come to an agreement that it won't be working out in the future. Today's list looks at 15 wrestlers who left their normal spouses when they got famous:
15 Booker T
Some fans are probably unaware that Booker T was previously married prior to Sharmell. The WWE Universe got to know his second wife through appearances on SmackDown before she eventually became a character who managed King Booker. But years before Queen Sharmell was by his side, he was married to Levestia Huffman who wasn't as involved in wrestling.
The couple had their difficulties in the final years of the marriage just as Booker T was rising to stardom, and the divorce was finalized in 2001.
It's unknown whether Booker's newfound fame played part in their split, he had been wrestling for years but elevated as a main eventer in the early 2000s and ultimately joined the WWE. Things worked out for Booker T who got some years in between his two marriages to live the celebrity lifestyle and has settled with Sharmell since 2005.
14 The Ultimate Warrior
Since passing away, fans have gotten to know The Ultimate Warrior's wife Dana through her appearances on WWE television. But what some may be unaware of is that she is his second wife, as he was previously married to Shari Tyree. But with Warrior finding fame in the late 80s, it created some problems at home and eventually their divorce was put on paper in 1991. They had been together for nine years, and despite their best attempts to resolve their ongoing issues, their marriage didn't work out.
Warrior didn't get married a second time until 1999, so it would be a safe assumption that he was enjoying the single lifestyle during that period, while cashing in major paychecks from WWE and then later on WCW. He wasn't exactly a huge draw anymore, and even had a very forgettable return to the WWE, but Warrior was famous enough to live off the past.
13 Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio had dated Angela Velkei for a few years before they got married in 2012. Their marriage managed to last four years, but problems had been mounting for a while and it nearly ended that very same year they tied the knot. But as Del Rio got more famous, it seems like his head got bigger before deciding to move on from the relationship.
He reportedly was having some fun on the road while working for the WWE, which further complicated matters.
Since leaving his wife, Del Rio briefly dated Charlotte Flair as well as Paige which created heat between the two Superstars. His relationship with Paige has been well documented at this point, as the couple was a rather controversial one to say the least. But it seems like Del Rio won't be going back to the married life anytime soon as he seems to have enjoyed his lifestyle since the divorce.
12 Ric Flair
Considering the fact he has been divorced four times, Ric Flair seems unable to keep a marriage together. But his first one to Leslie Goodman did last 12 years before coming to an end, which happened around the same time that he was morphing into The Nature Boy that we have come to know over the years. Flair has always bragged about his lifestyle in his promos, and more recently, he continues talking about how many women he has been with during his career.
It's safe to say that once Flair found fame, he was ready to explore it to the best of his abilities, and didn't care to stop even at an advanced age. The three marriages that followed ended up in a divorce as well, which probably tells us that the problem was most likely Flair himself, who didn't care enough to make them work when he could continue having fun on the road.
11 Charlotte Flair
Like father, like daughter. Not only is Charlotte Flair on track to reach her father's impressive number of championship reigns, but she has also racked up two divorces of her own. Charlotte's first marriage ended in a year following domestic abuse by her ex-husband, but she ended up getting married a second time to fellow professional wrestler Bram.
After two years, the couple finalized a divorce in 2015 just as Charlotte had been moved to the main roster.
It's most likely a coincidence considering that her former husband had been involved in a domestic abuse against his girlfriend, whom by the way is a different woman than Charlotte. She got out of that messy situation as quickly as she could, and we certainly can't blame her for her choices. Here's to hoping that third time is the charm for Charlotte and she ends up finding the right partner.
10 Ricky Steamboat
Ricky Steamboat was one of the most impressive talents in his prime, and is mostly remembered for his classic match against Randy Savage at WrestleMania. And while fans look fondly on his wrestling career, most aren't familiar with his personal life outside of the squared circle. We do know that he has a son, Richie Steamboat, who was training in NXT and showed some potential but his career was cut short due to injuries.
Like so many of his peers, Steamboat has been married multiple times with his first wife being Maureen Powers, whom he divorced in 1980 after three years. His second marriage to Debra Blood was also short lived after four years with the divorce papers finalizing in 1984. It seems like Steamboat's fame in various promotions, especially the WWE, affected his personal relationships with two marriages ending just as he had become The Dragon.
9 Shawn Michaels
Being The Heartbreak Kid, it's no surprise that Shawn Michaels finds himself on this list. He got married to Theresa Wood in 1988, but problems between the two led to a split after a few years with the divorce finalizing in 1994. That was the period in which Michaels was truly finding his groove and proving himself to among the top Superstars in WWE.
It's no secret that Michaels let the fame get to his head, as not only did it cause a divorce from his first wife, but he became a controversial figure.
Michaels was involved in some backstage politics and had a reputation as a jerk not only towards fellow wrestlers, but fans as well. He would also use his fame to live up to his nickname by engaging in some fun while on the road, as well as the infamous affair with Sunny.
8 Nikki Bella
There are still plenty of fans that believe Nikki Bella's first marriage will be to John Cena, but it's clear they haven't kept up with Total Bellas. Although she doesn't like discussing the subject, Nikki was married to her high school sweetheart for three years before they got a divorce. She was only 20 years old when they tied up the knot, but it seems like the spark died down once they committed to each other.
Some may claim that Nikki simply saw an opportunity to move on since it happened around the time she got hired by the WWE, so that may have been a factor. But it's also entirely possible that it was simply a coincidence and the couple didn't click anymore. Regardless, Nikki divorced her former partner and is now on to bigger things after having gotten engaged to Cena at WrestleMania 33.
7 Buff Bagwell
Very little is known about Buff Bagwell's persona life, mostly due to the fact he hasn't been relevant since the death of WCW. And since he is essentially blacklisted from the WWE, fans rarely about him these days. But despite what WWE may tell fans, Bagwell had a decent run in WCW prior to its eventual demise.
He has been married three times with his first wife being Alexis Rianja, but they split up after six years in 1994.
If I were to take a wild guess, I would say Bagwell's lifestyle led to the divorce since he was beginning to gain momentum around that time, and would soon shoot up the card afterwards. He ended up getting married twice more, both of which had the same fate. These days, it appears that Bagwell has been kept busy by his career as a gigolo, so marriage may be out of question now.
6 Jake Roberts
Jake Roberts is another legend who has reached the magic figure of three marriages, but he has all his peers beaten with 8 children from his relationships. His first marriage to Karen Rauschuber took place in 1973, and was just a year short of making it to ten as the couple divorced in 1982. Perhaps Roberts got a taste of the fame and no longer wanted to be tied down, at least not to Karen.
The 80s proved to be great for him as he shone in those years and reached his peak years after his first divorce. Two divorces later, Roberts is still with his third wife and seems to be keen on making it work this time. The fact he has gotten older while his fame is no longer at that very same level may have played a part in motivating Roberts to make sure that he doesn't reach a third divorce.
5 Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt had been married to Samantha Rotunda since 2012 and has two children with her. The wedding took place at a time when Wyatt was still struggling to find his place on the roster and was sent to development. But shortly after, he adapted his current gimmick which elevated him to new heights of success, and it seems like the couple has had their problems since then.
She finally filed for divorce last year upon finding out that Wyatt had been involved in an affair with WWE announcer JoJo.
It seems like Wyatt strayed away from his family as his status grew bigger, which is more common among celebrities than you can imagine. Wyatt and JoJo's affair has reportedly turned into a relationship, although they try to keep it private as much as possible - which has clearly already failed before considering the divorce as well as leaked photos of them together.
4 Steve Austin
Steve Austin seems to believe in marriage since he chose to tie up the knot a fourth time after having been divorced three times. His first marriage to Kathryn Burrhus, whom he had dated during high school and college, lasted from 1990 until 1992, which is when Austin was gaining fame due to his work for WCW. It's been said that the marriage ended due to Austin's affair with Lady Blossom while working for the company, which ended up materializing into a marriage later on that year.
Austin moved on rather quickly from his first marriage, especially considering the fact they had been together for so long. But fame presents new opportunities that change people, which seems to have been the case for Austin who was no longer satisfied with his past life. His second marriage lasted until 1999 - also around the same time he began seeing Debra which probably wasn't s coincidence.
3 Dusty Rhodes
It seems to be a recurring theme among older wrestlers from the 80s, as Dusty Rhodes got married to Sandra Runnels in 1965, and the marriage ended exactly ten years later. It may have been a pure coincidence but the marriage did occur just as Rhodes was making a name for himself in NWA. More money, more problems and it seems to have been the case for the couple who couldn't pass through their problems.
Rhodes' fame was growing by the year until he eventually became a true star.
He would end up getting married a second time after a few years. His wife, Michelle Runnels, remained with him until his death in 2015. But even Rhodes' biggest fans might not know that he got divorced early on just as he was turning into the legendary figure that we have all come to know.
2 John Cena
John Cena and Elizabeth Huberdeau were high school sweethearts who remained together for many years and even got married in 2009. But after three years, the couple split up as Cena moved on to Nikki Bella. But throughout their relationship, it had always been rocky especially once Cena became famous: he admitted to sleeping around with groupies while on the road and had affairs with WWE Divas Victoria and Mickie James. But as Cena continued to get more popular by reaching an entirely new audience with his films, it seems like he decided to move on from his wife.
Like so many famous people, Cena dumped his "normal" partner for someone who was also in the spotlight. Perhaps Nikki is more understanding of his lifestyle and they have much more in common, especially since both are in the same industry. Or maybe the spark simply disappeared between him and Huberdeau.
1 Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool had a respectable wrestling career with four WWE title reigns to her name, bur she has also become just as famous for being married to The Undertaker. That's not to discredit her accomplishments, but being married to Taker is just that big of a deal.
Some might not know that her marriage to The Deadman is in fact her second time, as she was previously married to Jeremy Alexander from 2001 until 2006.
They had been together since high school, but it seems like McCool's newfound fame affected her marriage. The divorce occurred as she was gaining a bigger role with the company, which may have played a role. And while it may be a coincidence, The Undertaker also divorced his ex wife Sara around the same time. McCool and Taker began officially dating in 2007 and would get married after three years.