Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have redefined the term power couple as it exists in sports entertainment. Stephanie McMahon is the daughter of Vince McMahon, CEO and owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, and heir apparent to the company whenever Vince should retire. Her husband Triple H is a 14-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion and arguably the most important wrestling character in WWE over just under the past two decades. Both on-screen and behind the camera, Triple H and Stephanie have grown in prowess and importance over the past several years to a point where they are unquestionably the #2 and #3 most important figures in WWE today. Only Vince McMahon has more power than the two of them, and due to their personal history, this has inspired both unbridled hope and unabashed fear from fans and insiders alike.
There’s no denying Triple H and Stephanie McMahon love the professional wrestling industry. They’ve both been in the business their entire lives, and whether or not they truly know what’s “best for business,” it seems to be their version of such that they attempt to present on television. However, Triple H in particular has been criticized for what is perceived as a massive ego, and his relationship with his boss’s daughter has possibly increased his status in the wrestling world ever since said relationship started. The stronger their relationship has grown, the more Triple H there has been in WWE, and fans can’t help but speculate how much of his career has been earned, and how much of it he married into. Perhaps we can answer some questions about the rise of Triple H with our list of 15 things you didn’t know about his relationship with Stephanie McMahon.
15. Stephanie Broke Up Triple H And Chyna
Triple H debuted in WWE in April of 1995 on The Wrestling Challenge as the blueblood Hunter Hearst Helmsley, not terribly far removed from the aristocratic character he had been portraying in WCW the year prior. Hunter struggled to get over with fans until he started being introduced with increasingly beautiful women including Sable, who started to get the crowd to boo the conceited new superstar. While a string of gorgeous blondes helped him stand it, it was pairing up with the muscle-bound, dominating female wrestler Chyna that started to send Triple H into the stratosphere and truly make him a relevant contender.
Triple H had been dating Chyna in real life for several years, and that relationship continued as they began working together on television. Soon the duo joined Shawn Michaels in D-Generation X, and it seemed they could one day rule WWE together as a major power couple themselves. Unfortunately for Chyna, the duo eventually broke up on screen and Triple H was paired with Stephanie McMahon, and that fake relationship gradually turned into a real relationship that left Chyna in the dust. It’s unclear exactly how much sneaking around Chyna’s back there was versus Triple H flat-out admitting to her things were over and it was time to move on, but what is certain is that Triple H left Chyna for Stephanie, and things were never the same for any of them ever again.
14. The Relationship Started Out Completely Fake
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon began their relationship on television in late November of 1999. Stephanie’s character was set to marry Test, but Triple H interrupted the wedding to reveal that he had drugged her, kidnapped her, and tricked a Las Vegas chapel attendant to sign their wedding papers. Because this is wrestling, the incredibly illegality of these actions has long been overlooked, as the point was that Triple H and Stephanie were then married. The two had obviously known each other prior to this incident, but there was no actual relationship between the two of them on a romantic level at this point, and the incident was purely a storyline for television.
It’s not uncommon for actors and actresses working together in close quarters to develop actual feelings for each other, especially if some inkling of similarity already exists between them, and that’s exactly what happened between Triple H and Stephanie. There was an initial attraction between them as with any two attractive entertainers, and the way their characters acted on television allowed Triple H to make his actual affections towards Stephanie known, rubbing her legs and holding her suggestively close during their scripted segments together. It wasn’t long before he asked her out for real and she said yes, starting the relationship that rules the wrestling world to this day.
13. They’ve Been Accused Of Remaining Fake
The entertainment industry can occasionally be a pretty shady place, and professional wrestling might be one of its darkest and most questionable corners. Wrestlers are constantly suspected to be forging relationships with bigger name talent and people in higher positions in order to help their own careers, as political games tend to be one of the most important facets of the wrestling industry. It’s for this reason that many people have seen Triple H’s natural ambition and accused him of completely fabricating his love for Stephanie and commitment to their marriage just so he could one day be in charge of WWE.
Other wrestlers have accused Triple H of this with little proof, but former WWE writer Dan Madigan was actually able to tell a personal story he felt said it all. One evening, Madigan, Vince, Stephanie, and Triple H were all in a car together, and Vince and Stephanie fell asleep. Madigan claims Triple H stared at them with a conqueror’s contempt, only to laugh when Madigan noticed. Its kind of impossible to tell whether or not two people are actually in love aside from simply to trust them, but enough people have questioned Triple H that perhaps Stephanie needed to take notice. Of course, with the intelligence of a McMahon, she did…
12. Stephanie Addressed The Fake Love Rumor From The Start
Stephanie McMahon is the daughter of a billionaire and has a pretty easy life, but that doesn’t mean that she’s an idiot. Stephanie is completely aware of the fact Triple H could simply be using her for her money, power, and influence, gradually attempting to sneak his way into a position of authority in WWE. Her response to this possibility? Eh, probably not. Stephanie has addressed the idea of Triple H faking his love for her as early as 2003, when she and Robin Quivers discussed the issue on The Howard Stern Show. Stephanie outright admitted it would be a great plan for Triple H to go through if he truly wanted to take control, but countered it could ruin his career if he messed it up.
The issue with Stephanie’s response is that, well, Triple H hasn’t messed it up yet, but that doesn’t exactly prove it’s real. We can’t make any sort of statement accusing him of faking his love in one way or the other, but it doesn’t take an expert to look at Steph’s response and feel a little bit underwhelmed about Triple H and his integrity. Although Steph proves she believes he truly loves her on a daily basis by remaining married to him, the fact is she didn’t seem to particularly care, perhaps because she’s content enough with how her life turned out not to mind.
11. Stephanie Broke Vince’s Rules To Follow Her Heart
While fans of the WWE Universe have reacted rather negatively to the idea of Vince McMahon’s daughter dating one of his top superstars, that really doesn’t compare to the initial reaction to people within the business at large. Members of the WWE roster pretty much had to deal with it or go elsewhere, but for decades if not centuries, the idea of a wrestler dating anybody even remotely related to a promoter was seen as a huge industry no-no. The problems such a relationship could cause are obvious from the start, as claims of favoritism and nepotism have clouded sports entertainment since the genre was invented, and there’s no more obvious favoritism than getting married to an employee.
Stephanie and Triple H both obviously knew about this industry rule, but they threw caution to the wind very quickly after they started hanging out romantically. Stephanie worried Vince in particular might have a problem with it, but she powered through and followed her heart anyway, and before long, Vince became one of the most vocal supporters of their union. However, plenty of insiders still took great caution, and understood that things could easily go south if Stephanie started giving her husband preferential treatment. At least one wrestler was on their side, though…
10. The Undertaker Always Supported Them
So, the entire wrestling world was suspecting Triple H for dating the boss’s daughter, and Stephanie’s father didn’t think it was the greatest idea, either. Even Hunter’s friends in DX, including Shawn Michaels, were telling him to be careful with where the relationship was going, feeling it was a pretty unprofessional move regardless of where they worked. Triple H stuck by his heart, however, and kept dating Stephanie despite everybody telling him not to. He even looked to advice from others in the company hoping to find at least one ally, and he eventually found one the last place anybody would have gone to when trying to promote the power of love.
The Undertaker is a big, tough, violent wrestler, who has always been viewed as a locker room leader for his years of incredible matches and dedicated service to WWE. Triple H asked the Dead Man for his opinion on dating Hunter dating the boss’s daughter, and the story goes that while Undertaker also warned Hunter everybody would give him shit for it, Undertaker also told Triple H to do whatever he wanted, since a talent like his would overcome whatever damage that sort of relationship could do, anyway. It was big of Undertaker to support them, but that didn’t change how courageous they were for pursing the relationship. There was always a chance things would work out for the worst, as a pro wrestling power couple was something that the wrestling world had definitely seen before, and the results weren’t pretty…
9. The Larry Zbyszko Parallel
“The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko is a WWE Hall of Famer arguably best known for his feud with Bruno Sammartino and his time in the AWA. Zbyszko was the final AWA World Champion, first earning the title in early 1989 by winning a battle royal, and then going on to hold the title for the better part of two years despite a brief interruption by an aged Mr. Saito. The AWA was plagued with dozens of problems at this point, and most fans thought it wouldn’t be long before the company went out of business, pointing to the failing title reign of Zbyszko as one of the most disappointing and promotion-killing issues facing the company.
Zbyszko is also relevant for being married to Kathy Gagne, daughter of AWA promoter and owner Verne Gagne. Zbyszko denies up and down any claims that he only achieved his position in the company due to his wife, just like Triple H does today. He goes on to argue he was already poised to become a major deal in the business prior to the marriage, which Triple H also says to silence critics. The only difference is how quickly Zbyszko destroyed the AWA, as it was out of business less than two years after he won their World Championship, and WWE has survived Triple H for quite some time now.
8. Vince Gave Them His Blessing Only To Take It Away
With the wrestling world already frowning upon the idea of a promoter’s daughter dating a wrestler, it was up to Vince McMahon himself whether or not the relationship between Stephanie and Triple H was truly able to continue unfettered. According to Stephanie, Vince wasn’t entirely sure what to make of their dalliances from the start, feeling his daughter was young and unsure of where she was in life, but more than adult enough to make her own decisions romantically. Thus, Vince allowed the two to date at first, but he took away his blessing once it became clear things were serious between the two and could turn into a lasting relationship.
Stephanie understood why her father had to take away his blessing, but she ignored this and kept dating Triple H anyway. The “Billion Dollar Princess” felt denying her father’s wishes would prove how serious her love was, and retroactively she views the ordeal as a test which she and Triple H assume they must have passed in order to win back Vince’s approval. We have to give credit to both Steph and Triple H on this one, as the idea of Triple H ruining his career by dating Stephanie could have been a real possibility here, but obviously things worked out for the best for all three of them.
7. They Got Married In Real Life Four Years After They Did On TV
The first televised wedding of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon occurred at a 24-hour Las Vegas wedding chapel, when Stephanie was allegedly unconscious in the passenger seat of Triple H’s rental car. In reality, the couple was engaged to wed on Valentine’s Day 2003, and actually got married in October of that year. They had been together on WWE television for nearly four years at that point, with their relationship lasting virtually the entire time they were on screen together. Perhaps a bit ironically, they had actually been together on screen long enough by the time of their real wedding that their characters had gone through many trials and tribulations already, having split up, renewed their vows, and split up again, before they even made the vows for real a single time.
By the time the couple married for real, Stephanie was on SmackDown and Triple H was dominating Raw, and it would be a long time before they reunited on screen. Stephanie was written off television days before the real wedding took place, and Triple H maintained a major role, often feuding with Vince or Shane McMahon without referring to the fact they were actually family. It’s hard to argue when exactly real life and TV merged and fans were completely let in on the truth, but we’ll call it some time around 2011, when Triple H was officially referred to as COO on Raw and Stephanie gradually returned as his partner in crime.
6. Vince’s Wedding Present To Stephanie Was A Public Beating
Professional wrestling is a violent and dangerous form of entertainment, which certainly isn’t meant for the weak at heart. Usually, the women of the wrestling world don’t get quite as hardcore as the men, but they do one rare occasions, and if the right woman feels like getting vicious, she can make a match that forces men to cover their eyes at the violence they’re unleashing on their opponents. Stephanie McMahon is hardly known as a hardcore wrestler, but she did have at least one extremely violent “I Quit” match during her time as a wrestler, and her opponent was her own father, Vince McMahon.
Vince and Stephanie met for the first and most likely only father-daughter “I Quit” match in professional wrestling history at No Mercy 2003. The event took place on October 19, notable for being less than one week prior to Stephanie’s actual marriage to Triple H. The angle itself was devised as a way to write her off television for her honeymoon and the foreseeable future, and they accomplished that by having Vince beat the hell out of his daughter days before giving her away to her new husband. This subtext was never mentioned on camera, but it’s not like that knowledge makes the images of Vince choking Stephanie with a pipe any easier to swallow.
5. They Have Three Daughters
While it may seem like we’re coming down hard on the relationship between Triple H and Stephanie McMahon throughout this article, let’s make it clear we’re just reporting what people have said about them, and there’s plenty of evidence their relationship is completely legitimate, as well. The two have been together for the better part of 17 years, have been happily married 13 of those years, and both seem very content with the way their lives seem to be going. On top of that, they have three daughters together, which one would hope does a little bit to dispel the thought the two make a solely political partnership.
The couple’s first daughter, Aurora Rose, was born in 2006. Murphy Claire followed in 2008, and Vaughn Evelyn came third in 2010. With the girls all grower older, Stephanie and Triple H are increasingly splitting their time between family life and wrestling life, but they always seems to make time for happy photo ops that prove they’re a genuine, loving unit. Now, as for the rumors that the entire increased focus on women’s wrestling in WWE is ultimately based on an endgame that sees Aurora succeed in the family business, well.. we feel a bit less confident in making a comment.
4. Vince and Triple H Are BFFs
While the bond of true love has been formed between Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, throughout the entire relationship, a secondary bond has been gradually formed, as well. Vince McMahon has always palled around and been friends with “the boys,” or the wrestlers he employs, and some have even speculated he’s living vicariously through his top talents. It goes into the favoritism accusations related to Hunter and Stephanie, but it also makes perfect sense Vince would become friends with his wrestlers. They obviously share similar interests in entertaining and most of them are bodybuilders, so McMahon and some of his employees spend hours together in the gym, leading to certain relationships growing past the professional.
By all accounts, Stephanie is the McMahon who stole Triple H’s heart, but his friendship with Vince seems to be extremely strong, too. The two work out together on a regular basis and are said to share long conversations on McMahon’s private plane whenever the other members of his inner circle are busy or somehow occupied. Again, it makes sense two people with similar interests would end up so close, but that hasn’t stopped detractors from using this friendship to further the rumor Triple H actually doesn’t care about Stephanie, and just wants to get closer to her family fortune.
3. They Started A Charity Together
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon share their lives together publicly and on television, and any fan of WWE can tell they have a bunch in common, both in their characters and in their true personalities. Outside of the wrestling world, one thing that seems shared between the couple is a genuine love and affection for children and helping the disadvantaged, especially when there’s some overlap between the two. One of the most Internet famous moments in recent WWE history was when Triple H broke character to ease a crying child at ringside, and they took the charitable efforts a step further with Connor Michalek. It was announcer Justin Roberts who introduced WWE to Michalek, and few did more than Triple H and Stephanie to make that sick, young fan’s dreams come true.
Connor was a young WWE fan stricken with cancer, who eventually succumbed to the disease at the age of 8. The most famous fan in WWE history was honored with an induction to the WWE Hall of Fame the next year, and Triple H and Stephanie took their tribute even further by starting the Connor’s Cure foundation to fight pediatric cancer. Like everything the couple has done, the charitable efforts have actually received some controversy due to Stephanie’s questionable social media comments on the nature of philanthropy, but it’s still more than most couples have done to help the world, and they deserve some serious credit for setting up the foundation regardless of their intentions.
2. They’re The Only Married Champions In History
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon’s marriage is a historic one for a cavalcade of reasons both obvious and subtle, and these reasons will become more obvious and less subtle as time goes on and their control over WWE continues to grow. They’ve dominated the company from the very start, however, including achieving an accolade that almost certainly can never be duplicated again in the wrestling world. In the year 2000, Triple H won the WWE World Championship from The Big Show, and a few months later, Stephanie McMahon won the WWE Women’s Championship from Jacqueline.
With both members of the couple holding singles titles, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley became the first and only ever married couple to hold the top male and female singles titles in any major wrestling promotion’s history. By reading our list, you can tell they weren’t actually married at the time, but they’re characters were and obviously it wouldn’t be long before they were in real life, as well, and no other real or fake couple has come anywhere close to this accomplishment since. While there have been several great wrestling couples through time who perhaps could have duplicated the feat, including Edge and Lita and AJ Lee and Daniel Bryan, the McMahon-Helmsley regime remain the only decorated married couple in WWE.
1. They’ll Probably Take Over The Business
The subtext throughout this list has been pretty clear, so we’ll just lay it out for what we consider is the most important fact about Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Thanks to who Stephanie’s father is, and his friendship with her husband, there’s a good chance the couple will one day take over WWE. As Vince ages into his early 70’s, there’s even a possibility that day could come fairly soon, and the real McMahon-Helmsley regime will take over WWE for the unforeseeable future.
There’s no saying whether this could be good or bad for business. While some fear Triple H will return to his egomaniacal tricks and make himself the focus of the show, it seems safe to say his time in the ring is almost completely behind him, and he’ll be keeping his biggest influences behind the scenes from now on. There’s also a chance Shane McMahon could assert himself and cause some sort of power struggle, but by all accounts, things are pretty even between the McMahon’s, and everyone is in agreement that Triple H is the man to take over one day. Of course, none of this even considers Stephanie’s own considerable ego, as she could end up damaging the company far more than he ever could thanks to her status as an untouchable character to the majority of the roster.
Regardless of what they choose to do with their power, Triple H and Stephanie clearly have it in spades, and solidify their status as the most important couple in wrestling on a nightly basis.