What have you been up to since we last saw you on WWE television? Also, this summer I actually filmed my first movie. I was so excited to be a part of it.
Ellen Hollman is the actress I worked with, and she is just incredible. We got to incorporate some wrestling stuff, too. I pulled out some of my old tricks in there. It was a lot of fun to shoot. So, I was making one of the loops by myself. I was somewhere in the Northeast and, just like we always do, I had to stop at a gas station to get some water and snacks, and fill up on gas. I walked in, and there were three guys in there that immediately started heckling me, harassing me and telling me to go with them.
They were just kind of trying to poke fun or whatever. I ignored them, and they just progressively got angrier and angrier. It got to the point where they were yelling obscenities at me and calling me all kinds of names.
They were threatening me. Was there anyone else around seeing this happen? I threw it down on the counter and I got out of there. They followed me out, still yelling at me. I think they felt that I was really terrified, and I think they fed off that. I got into my car, locked the door and I took off. I pulled over, I was shaking. Unfortunately, men are just stronger than women.
That night led you to learn about self-defense? I told a girlfriend about it, and she suggested that I start training at the Gracie Academy. Interestingly enough, my brother trained in jiu-jitsu in high school, so I knew a little bit about it. I never really thought it applied to me that much.
I had done other forms of martial arts, but it was more for fun. So I started training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and my mind was completely blown away by what I thought was possible for women. All of a sudden, I realized that there was a way for women to level the playing field. I felt like I needed to share this with others. All women can do this, which I think is important for women to know: Yeah, the friend who suggested I go there was dating his brother at the time.
After about a year of playing hard to get, we got pretty serious. I was in a relationship with him for just about my entire WWE career, and he was patient long enough.
It was time for us to start our life together. How did that come about? WWE actually reached out to me. I know all of those girls have been in situations similar to what happened to me because it happens so often. And they have a plan to fall back on if they really have to. How did the Diva self-defense seminar go? They really enjoyed it! Obviously I enjoyed working with them again, and I think for a lot of people, they have a certain idea of what self-defense is: They learned a lot in one day.
Now the question is: Who is going to retain it? They have to continue to practice and they have to practice with one another. But all of them asked great questions, they did really well, and they made my job really easy. What was it like to go backstage as an outsider looking in? It was so, so good to see everybody. I really miss so many of the people at WWE.
It was great to connect and see that everybody was still doing well. You accomplished a great deal in WWE. Do you have a favorite match? When you took a Glam Slam off the top rope? That was the one! Sometimes you experience magic out in the ring. It was a turning point in my career, and I got to share it with one of my greatest friends, Beth. That one always stands out in my mind. But what happens is you lose yourself in all of that. I kind of wish I had found myself a little earlier, so I could have committed to it a little bit sooner in my career.
The Divas division is a very competitive place. I always wanted to be liked, and I thought that if you were nice to everyone then everyone would like you. There were ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I always respected everybody I worked with. There were definitely times that I felt really sad, and frustrated, and not treated right by some of the girls. But I always came out on the other side. When I think back in general terms about my time in the locker room and my time with the girls, I have a positive feeling about it.
Sometimes we all wanted to kill each other, and there was a lot of frustration, a lot of competition and a lot of rumors — there were girls that would spread rumors about me — but you just have to overcome it like any other situation. Who else do you keep in touch with these days? I still talk to Maryse, who was one of my first in-ring rivalries. AJ and Kaitlyn will send me funny texts every once in a while.
AJ has been Divas Champion since June. Did you see that coming? When I was there, she was gaining so much momentum. Now she gets to represent the division by being the Divas Champ. It helps elevate the entire division when somebody people care about is on top. Now, it has happened. For the first time, the world is getting to know the Divas for what they really are and what they can do, which is pretty awesome. It has never really happened before. She has had a lot of struggles in her career, and WWE and wrestling as a whole mean so much to her, as somebody whose family has been a part of it for so long.
To be honest, I knew about the show when I left. Had it happened while I was there, it would have been great, but I knew the timing was right where I had to move on with my life. People lose sight of that. You will get the most out of this experience if you are able to be happy for others and help people along the way.
Be open to that. How would you describe your current relationship with WWE? But I really feel like WWE is a part of me. I do want to be involved whenever I can. I knew that question was coming [laughs]. Like I said, if things go as planned in my life, and I start a family or anything like that, then probably not. There are people who have families and still come back. Published on November 5,