As is so often the case in any career or job, there’s usually a good chance that you or someone you know may end up dating a co-worker at some point in time. And that's indeed the case with the wrestling business.
Given the fact that WWE performers are often on the road for 250 days or more each year, the people they have the most contact with are their fellow talents. While some may end up becoming like brothers or sisters in the family sense, others may hook up, start dating, or even eventually end up engaged or married.
This has been the case ever since the wrestling business really started to take off in the 1980s and ‘90s, and you can even find examples of this happening before then. But, of course, not every wrestling relationship is public knowledge or thrust out into the public spotlight.
Sure, there are the likes of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, Shawn Michaels and Sunny, Triple H and Stephanie (and before that Chyna), Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella, and John Cena and Nikki Bella as couplings that were and are partners that many even casual wrestling fans are familiar with, but other pairings are of a more private nature.
So, here are 20 examples of previous and present real-life WWE romances that you never knew existed.
20 Paige & Brad Maddox
If you’re somebody whose only WWE interaction is with the company’s main programming, chances are you’ll have no idea that Paige used to date Brad Maddox. For those who keep up to date with the online wrestling outlets and various podcasts out there, well, let’s just say you'd have seen a lot more of Paige than you’d ever have expected.
Of course, that’s referring to the shocking news earlier this year that Paige had a bunch of explicit videos and photographs leaked online – with the footage and photos all from when the Briton was in a relationship with former WWE wrestler and on-air performer Maddox. In fact, some of the videos actually featured Maddox and Paige in, err, some compromising situations, to say the least – most bizarrely in how Maddox seemed to take great pleasure in filming Xavier Woods getting intimate with his girlfriend.
So yeah, Paige and Maddox were once a thing as confirmed in the most explicit way possible earlier this year.
19 Kelly Kelly & CM Punk
BEST IN THE WORLD… is what CM Punk would often scream as he proudly strutted to the ring, and when it comes to dating his share of ladies, the Chicago native was certainly one of the best the business has ever seen.
While he’s now happily married to AJ Lee, Punker was prolific when it came to the dating game. And one such female to be wooed by the Straight-Edge Superstar was Kelly Kelly – who, if stories are to be believed, was quite happy to be wooed by any and all guys that she could.
Kelly debuted as part of the relaunched ECW brand back in 2006, and it was there that fiction became fact as a storyline romance with Punk led to the pair actually dating for a short while.
18 Christy Hemme & Joey Mercury
One of the lesser-known wrestling romances of yesteryear was the coupling of original Diva Search winner Christy Hemme and former Tag Team Champion Joey Mercury.
With the two having a relatively low profile and never really discussing their personal lives in a public forum, not many are aware that the duo dated for a spell back when Mercury was tagging with Johnny Nitro as MNM.
Of course, there’s been a whole host of speculation over the years that Hemme actually made a move on Triple H during her WWE stay. That’s never been confirmed, though, despite some claiming that played a part in her 2005 release. In fact, the only known relationship for Hemme during her WWE tenure was her one with Mercury.
17 Renee Young & Dean Ambrose
While it’s been briefly mentioned on main WWE TV as part of the seemingly never-ending Miz and Dean Ambrose feud, many casual fans aren’t aware that Ambrose’s real-life other half is none other than fan-favorite announcer, interviewer, hostess, and all-around ever-smiling Renee Young.
In fact, not only are Dean and Renee a couple, the pair is actually married. After rumblings and rumors started surfacing online, the pair’s relationship was publicly confirmed in March 2015. After that, April of this year saw the couple call a 24-hour pastor as they got married in the backyard of their Las Vegas home at 1 AM.
Of course, for those dwindling few of you who watched Total Divas, this is a romance you may well already be well versed on, with Mr. and Mrs. Lunatic Fringe a part of the show’s sixth season.
16 Alicia Fox & Wade Barrett
One of the relationships that caught us all off guard was when Total Divas revealed that Alicia Fox and Wade Barrett used to be an item at one point in time. No real details are known on when this relationship actually started, and it was only during a scene featuring an emotional Fox being comforted by the Englishman on Total Divas that the cat was let out of the bag that the duo used to date.
Of course, you can all make plenty of “Boom!” and Bullhammer puns and innuendos here, and you’d have to guess that the pair was happy for at least a little while, which seemed to be confirmed by how well the two still got on after their break.
Unfortunately for Fox, though, by 2014, we’re afraid Wade had some bad news for Alicia, as he called the relationship off.
15 Raquel Diaz & Aiden English
Some of you may be asking just who Raquel Diaz is, but she’s a female grappler who had a cup of coffee in NXT during the brand’s early days. Oh, and her real name is Shaul Guerrero, making her the daughter of the legendary Eddie Guerrero!
Despite her stint in FCW and NXT being a relatively short one, Shaul did manage to start and continue with a relationship with current SmackDown Live performer Aiden English. After dating for a little while, an engagement would eventually be followed up by the two tying the knot in January 2016.
While Guerrero’s days in the wrestling business seem done, she’ll always have a constant tie to it due to her family legacy and her marriage to the vastly talented and majorly underused Artiste.
14 Ashley Massaro & Paul London
Some of you may well have forgotten that Ashley Massaro even managed Paul London and Brian Kendrick at one point and aren't even aware that Massaro dated London.
The relationship between the two was largely kept low-key until former Cruiserweight and Tag Team Champion London left the WWE in 2008. It was then, in shoot interviews, that the Texan would make reference to the relationship when talking about Matt Hardy, that being because Hardy once dated Massaro, leading to some beef between the eldest Hardy and the high-flying London.
It’s not known for just how long the former Playmate dated London, but it doesn’t seem to have been for a particularly lengthy spell. Regardless of the Massaro element, though, it’s worth hunting down Paul London’s shoot interviews purely for his mocking of Matt Hardy and his grape-eating days, if nothing else.
13 Beth Phoenix & Cody Rhodes
Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix is married to fellow HOFer Adam “Edge” Copeland these days, with the pair the proud parents of two young girls. Back in 2009, though, Beth was actually in a relationship with Cody Rhodes for a little while.
Again, much like Beth, Cody has since moved on from that relationship, now happily married to Brandi, aka Eden Styles.
By all accounts, it seems that the split between Beth and Cody was completely amicable, and it’s great to see both currently doing so well – Beth in being a mother and wife; Cody in making himself a huge star as “The American Nightmare” on the US independent scene and in New Japan.
12 Sara Lee & Wesley Blake
While the tandem of Blake and Murphy may well now be long over, the partnership of Wesley Blake and Sara Lee is most certainly flourishing.
Many will be familiar with Lee for winning the most recent edition of WWE Tough Enough, and other than that, she was barely been seen on any form of WWE programming before the company released her just days before her contract was due to expire. What most will not be aware of, though, is that she's been in a relationship with former NXT Tag Team Champion Blake for a little while now, with the pair having recently had a baby girl; the pregnancy reportedly being part of the reason she was let out of her deal.
In the history of failed WWE relationships over the decades, this pairing is one that's currently alive and well.
11 Alexa Bliss & Buddy Murphy
While Buddy Murphy’s former tag team partner Wesley Blake has found love with Sara Lee, the Australian has been in a longtime relationship with a grappler of his own: the current (as of writing this!) RAW Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss.
Of course, Bliss famously managed the Blake and Murphy tandem to the NXT Tag Team Championships at one point in time, and it seemed that Buddy and Alexa’s relationship soon became far more than just a professional one. As of last year, the lovebirds got engaged.
In terms of talent, Buddy Murphy seems like he has so much potential to be a true breakout star if used in the right way. And if that finally does happen, maybe he’ll be able to join his bride-to-be on the main WWE roster sooner rather than later.
10 Kathy Colace & John Laurinaitis
In fairness, if you’ve ever seen Total Divas, then you may well be fully aware of this bizarre relationship. If you haven’t, you’re likely scratching your head and asking just who Kathy Colace is. Just to clarify, Kathy is the mother of none other than Brie and Nikki Bella.
Yes, as in Johnny Ace has married himself to the mom of the Bella Twins.
That also means that the family Christmas meal will feature a table stacked with Big Johnny, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and the Bella clan– not to mention, Johnny could invite his brother, Road Warrior Animal, over for a feed.
How John and Kathy met doesn’t really matter, for instead, it’s just all a tad crazy to think that Johnny Ace is now the stepfather of Brie and Nikki, as well as being the father-in-law of Super Cena and the American Dragon.
9 Carmella & Big Cass
If you watch simply the main WWE output, you’ll have no idea that Carmella and Big Cass are an item. In fact, even if you watched the pair’s NXT work alongside Enzo Amore, you still wouldn’t have any idea that the two were dating.
The only way that any sort of WWE content would let you know that the Staten Island Princess and Colin Cassady were dating is in how the pair were showcased in the must-see Breaking Ground show that was exclusive to the WWE Network.
By all accounts, the pair started dating at some point during the early days of their NXT work. And now, even though they’re on separate main roster shows, that pair is still happily together.
8 Bayley & Aaron Solow
We can all agree that the Bayley character has sadly lost a whole lot of steam over the past few months, with the main roster move sadly seeing this once-adored act become horribly used. Fortunately for Bayley, though, her love life is at least seeing a much more positive outcome.
Now, many may not have heard of Bayley’s current beau Aaron Solow, but he’s a fellow wrestler. Having worked the independent scene for a few years, Solow – also going by the name of Solo, at times – has even worked several NXT shows and was put on the standby list for the Cruiserweight Classic tournament.
By this point in time, the couple is now engaged, and it remains to be seen whether Solow could join his other half in the WWE somewhere down the line.
7 Sara Del Rey & Cesaro
Sara Del Rey– better known these days by her real name of Sara Amato – is revered as one of the best female talents of her generation and right now is playing a pivotal part in training up-and-coming women at the WWE Performance Center.
What some may not know, however, is that Sara has been in a longtime relationship with one of the most versatile, impressive talents under a WWE contract, Cesaro. Both masters of their craft and both massively valuable players to the company, it’s just great to see two genuinely great people having found each other.
Sara and Cesaro met years ago when they were both working the independents, and they've remained one of the wrestling business’s most low-key couples ever since.
6 Whisper & Shawn Michaels
If you weren’t around during the days of the Monday Night Wars, there’s a very good chance that the concept of the Nitro Girls is one you’re not really aware of. You see, back in 1997, Kimberly Page persuaded Eric Bischoff to introduce WCW’s own take on the cheerleaders and dance squads seen in the NFL and various other sports.
One such Nitro Girl was Whisper, aka Rebecca Curci, who would eventually end up married to one of the very greatest the business has ever seen: Shawn Michaels.
Rebecca has appeared occasionally on WWE TV – most notably during the Michaels vs Chris Jericho feud in 2008 – but audiences never heard any sort of mention of her time in World Championship Wrestling. Her stint with WCW ran through 1997 up until 1999, and the Nitro Girls as a squadron would more or less be completely done in early 2000.
5 Maria & CM Punk
These days, Maria Kanellis is back with the WWE as part of their SmackDown Live brand. There, she’s the manager/valet of her real-life husband, Mike Bennett. But way before Kanellis and Bennett were an item, Maria followed in the footsteps of several other ladies: she succumbed to the charms of CM Punk.
During her stint in the WWE’s Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental territory, Maria became friendly with Punk to the point that the pair began dating in 2005. Unlike many others brief flings or short relationships, the two would actually continue as a couple up until 2007.
Eventually, Maria would leave the WWE in 2010, and it would be during her time in Ring of Honor when she would meet her future husband, “The Miracle” Mike Bennett.
4 Beth Phoenix & CM Punk
Much like several others female grapplers over the years, Beth Phoenix is another who once dated the Straight-Edge Superstar, CM Punk. It’s not known when exactly these two hugely successful superstars began dating, but they were a pair up until 2011.
Whereas Punk has so often done his best to keep his personal life private, with Beth, he seemed to make an exception when, on a radio show following the pair’s split, he called an ex of his a douchebag. While no names were given, it seemed to be that Punk was indeed alluding to Beth when he made this comment.
These days, four-time Women’s Champion Phoenix is, of course, married to Adam “Edge” Copeland.
3 Kelly Kelly & Test
Tragically, Andrew “Test” Martin passed away in 2009. The former Intercontinental Champion remained close friends with former girlfriend Kelly Kelly right up until his final days, to the point that he even had Kelly’s Blockbuster Video card in his wallet when he died.
By the time of Test’s passing, the pair had long since broken up, with Kelly dating her future husband Sheldon Souray. The former Divas Champion previously dated the hulking Test, though, for a good 2 ½ years before their breakup.
Kelly would remain with the WWE up until 2012, but she's since retired from the wrestling business – which is no shame whatsoever for anybody with the misfortune of having watched one of her matches.
2 Nikki Bella & Dolph Ziggler
Of course, we all know that Nikki Bella is now engaged to John Cena, with Super Cena popping the super question at this year’s WrestleMania.
Before Big Match John was on the horizon, though, Nikki used to date the Show-Off himself, Dolph Ziggler. Where the main WWE content is concerned, that little piece of information is something that the company has made no reference to whatsoever. If you’re part of the Total Divas fandom, however, you’ll have seen Nikki’s former relationship focussed on when the show actually saw Dolph try and get his one-time beau back even though he clearly knew she was with Cena.
For poor Dolph, his attempt at winning Nikki back resulted in him getting a slap across his face.
1 Mickie James & John Cena
At one point in time, there was a rather nasty breakup between two of the biggest stars in the WWE: the face of the company, John Cena, and the face of the female roster, Mickie James.
To add even more controversy to the situation, James was actually dating Ken Doane when she was starting to get up close and personal with Cena. If you believe Doane’s words, this situation led to Cena pulling strings to have the former Spirit Squad member’s career ruined.
With James and Cena then a loose item, that relationship soon soured due to Cena being married at that time. From there, this whole situation would play a big part in Mickie’s release from the company back in 2010.
Sources: WWE, Wikipedia, Heavy.com