Weird Things About Vince And Linda McMahon's Marriage

This article discusses sexual assault.

Vince and Linda McMahon have known each other most of their lives. Together, they built not only a family but also the world-famous business now known as WWE, the enterprise responsible for John Cena, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and others. As is often the case when business and love intermingle, their roles as WWE co-founders came in between their roles as husband and wife. While they managed to stay together for decades, their marriage was anything but smooth.

They have weathered plenty of storms, and Linda was reportedly more than aware of Vince's shady side. When the WWE ring boys scandal involving ring announcer Mel Phillips broke out in 1992, the McMahons acted shocked. But a 2020 Business Insider investigation showed both Linda and Vince had known of the sexual assault allegations involving children and turned a blind eye. The McMahons went so far as to pay off one of the boys in exchange for his silence and then fired him once interest in the story had fizzled.

But Linda also felt the consequences of her husband's behavior, withstanding years of adultery that Vince seemed to be publicly proud of committing. It all became too much for her, but not enough that she would sacrifice the career she spent her life building. While they are reportedly not together anymore, Linda and Vince remain legally married. And this is just the cherry on top of their controversy-filled marriage. In fact, their relationship had been unusual even before they their WWE days.

Vince McMahon was drawn to Linda's family

When Linda and Vince McMahon tied the knot in 1966, she was just 17 and he was 21. They had known each other for four years, meeting through their mothers when she was 13 and he was 16. While the age gap may have been considerable then, their families were okay with the relationship. Before developing feelings for Linda, Vince had actually been drawn to her parents, Henry and Evelyn Edwards. "I had no idea what a family was until I met Linda, and saw how they lived," he told Cigar Aficionado in 2004.

After Vince's father abandoned the family when he was a baby, he was raised by his mother and her different partners, many of whom were abusive. The man whose last name Vince used in his youth, Leo Lupton, left a particularly deep wound. "Lived with her and my real a**hole of a stepfather, a man who enjoyed kicking people around," he told Playboy in 2001. By the time he was 14, Vince was essentially on his own. "I was pretty much a man then. Physically, at least," he said.

Emotionally, Vince craved the security and a sense of belonging he had been deprived of. Linda and her family gave him that. "It was an Ozzie and Harriet life. There wasn't screaming and beating. 'You see,' I thought, 'there's something else.' I wanted some of that stability and love. And then I wanted more of it," he told Cigar Aficionado.

The McMahons had plenty of awkward interactions on-camera

The whole McMahon family has been involved in WWE, both in front of and behind the cameras. And some of the scenes they had to do made for some pretty awkward situations. In one infamous storyline, Vince McMahon passionately kissed Trish Stratus in front of Linda McMahon, who played the role of his comatose wife. Sitting in a wheelchair, Linda just sat there immobile watching her husband kiss his attractive employee with fervor for long minutes.

Linda didn't mind. It was part of a job she had fun doing. Besides, she had been on the other side as well. In 2003, Linda filmed a kissing scene with Eric Bischoff, which was supervised by Vince. "I showed up, and it was surreal. And it wasn't until I got there that I found out exactly what I would be doing. And I thought, 'Oh, well, this is different, but let's give it a shot!' It was awkward, for sure," he recalled on the "83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff" podcast in 2023 (via Inside the Ropes).

In a 2000 episode, Stephanie McMahon got physical with her mother in front of the world, which is the culmination of the interaction seen above. "She definitely slapped me for real. It was painful. It was really very difficult," Linda told The Telegraph in 2002. But the McMahons did what they had to do to entertain their fan base. "We have such a passion for what we do," she said.

Now billionaires, the McMahons once filed for bankruptcy

As of April, Forbes estimates Vince McMahon's fortune to be $2.8 billion, making him one of the 735 billionaires in the country. Vince, Linda McMahon, and their two children have plenty of money to go around. But that wasn't always the case. In 1976, when Vince worked for his father's business, Capitol Wrestling Corporation, the couple filed for bankruptcy after racking up $1 million in debt, the Connecticut Post reported in 2010 amid Linda's U.S. Senate bid.

During that time, Vince and Linda, who was pregnant with Stephanie and caring for a young Shane, had even to briefly resort to using food stamps to make ends meet, a program she defended during her candidacy against her fellow Republicans' rhetoric. "I can tell you in today's economy, with so many people out of work, I would not support cuts to our food and nutrition programs," she told the Connecticut Post in 2012.

Even though the McMahons' financial troubles arose after a miscalculated investment in the stunt performer Evel Knievel, they have used the bankruptcy to promote their brand. In her unsuccessful runs, Linda promoted their self-made story to advance her campaign promises and continued to long after. "It was tough, but you know, it's not how you fall but how you get up," she said in a Facebook Live in 2017 (via CNBC), shortly after she was appointed head of the Small Business Administration by Donald Trump, a longtime friend of the McMahons.

Vince McMahon has bragged about cheating on Linda

Vince McMahon was no perfect husband, and he has no issues admitting he cheated on her throughout the years. "But I never, ever threw anything in her face. I was discreet," he said in the Playboy interview. While that's very noble of him and all, he didn't do a very good job of keeping his affairs secret. Even his kids knew about it. And they still caused quite a bit of damage to his family. Stephanie McMahon was in plenty of fights with her father over the subject, but she eventually got used to it.

What bothered her for years on end was his insistence on talking about his affairs in interviews. But that stopped bothering her at some point too. "I mean, it still is a little like, 'Dad, you know, okay, everybody knows now. You don't have to rub it in,'" she said in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern. Vince also took pride in being honest about his affairs when Linda confronted him about it. "One day she asked me, point-blank, 'You are having an affair with so-and-so?' And I've never lied to her. 'Yes.' It crushed her," he said.

Vince's romantic storylines with a series of WWE Divas, including Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, Trish Stratus, and Sable (seen above) led many to wonder if they were the ones he was sleeping with outside the ring. However, Vince's consensual affairs turned out to be the least of Linda's problems.

It's a mystery when Linda and Vince McMahon split

Vince McMahon may have no issues boasting about his sexual escapades, but he has been accused of doing a lot more than cheating on Linda McMahon. In early 2022, the WWE opened an investigation into its then-CEO for allegedly paying $3 million to a former employee to keep quiet about an affair, The Wall Street Journal reported that June. The investigation also brought to light settlements Vince supposedly made to other employees. Vince announced his retirement shortly after. 

But that wasn't the whole story. In January, Janel Grant accused Vince of sex trafficking and rape, The Wall Street Journal reported. Around the time the probe started, Linda reportedly split from Vince. "Linda has put up with too much for too long," a source told the National Enquirer (via Radar). "This is just the latest of Vince's many indiscretions, but now she has to bear the humiliation of the world knowing her husband is allegedly paying off the women he beds."

However, by the time their split was made public, Linda and Vince had reportedly been living separately for quite some time, according to former WWE head writer Vince Russo. "I don't know the timing. Bro, Vince McMahon was not living with Linda for decades. Decades," he said on Sportskeeda's "The Wrestling Outlaws" in November 2023. Linda and Vince have yet to file papers, though Linda is said to have considered seeking the $2.3 billion divorce, according to the Radar report.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).