Legendary WWE performer Shawn Michaels, whose real name is Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, will return to Monday Night Raw tonight.
Michaels has been retired from professional wrestling since 2010, although he has returned on occasion for the occasional storyline. Most recently, he appeared at WrestleMania 32 in April 2016, confrinting The League of Nations along with Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Since his retirement, Michaels has had more time to spend with his family. He is married to Rebecca Curci Hickenbottom, a former WCW employee. The have two children together, one son and one daughter.
Here’s everything you need to know about Shawn Michaels’ wife Rebecca Curci Hickenbottom.
1. Shawn Wanted to Meet Rebecca After Seeing Her on ‘WCW Monday Nitro’
In the late 1990s, Rebecca Curci was a part of The Nitro Girls, a group of dancers who appeared on episodes of WCW Monday Nitro. In his book, Heartbreak & Triumph, Shawn Michaels says he remembers flipping back and forth between Raw and Nitro on TV one night in 1998 when he saw Curci, and she was “the most beautiful, sexiest woman I had ever seen.” From then on, he started watching every episode of Nitro just to see her.
Michaels says that he told this story to a friend of his, Rich Minzer, who worked at a gym in California. Two weeks later, Minzer called Michaels up to tell him that the girls from Nitro were there. Minzer spoke to Rebecca Curci about his friend Shawn Michaels, and she decided to give Minzer her number to relay to Michaels. You might think that Curci would have freaked out knowing that Shawn Michaels was interested in her, but she was not a big wrestling fan and had no clue who Michaels even was. Still, as into Rebecca as he was, Shawn Michaels did not call her for a few days.
“I was reluctant to call Rebecca because I felt like a stalker,” Michaels writes in his most recent book, Wrestling for My Life.
This really upset Rich Minzer, who got on Michaels’ case and said that he absolutely had to call Rebecca. Minzer also told Michaels that he had received a voicemail from Rebecca, who was disappointed that she hadn’t heard from Michaels and who said that she guessed it wasn’t meant to be. Finally, Michaels decided to give her a call.
“She returned my call that evening, and we talked for a couple of hours,” Michaels writes in Heartbreak & Triumph. “We continued talking every night for the next two weeks. Neither of us slept much, and we would talk until four in the morning. Then we’d hop on the computer and e-mail each other back and forth. It was puppy love running amuck.”
2. They Were Married in Las Vegas a Few Weeks After Meeting
After talking over the phone and over e-mail for a few weeks, Michaels and Curci finally met when Curci offered to take a flight from Atlanta, Georgia to come see him in San Antonio, Texas. Michaels writes in Heartbreak & Triumph that upon seeing Curci, he was immediately floored.
“Being the classy guy that I am, I took her to Denny’s,” Michaels writes. “She loved it.”
Curci went back to Atlanta after she and Michaels spent a few days together. A few weeks later, they saw each other again when Curci was doing a photo shoot. As Michaels was driving Curci back to the airport so that she could catch a flight home to Atlanta, he says he realized he was in love with her and that he wanted to get married. Just like in the movies, he ran to catch up to her in the airport to tell her how he felt, and she said that she loved him too and thought it was just her who felt that way.
Shawn Michaels and Rebecca Curci were married at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in March 1999. The only people there were Shawn, Rebecca, and an Elvis impersonator.
In Wrestling for My Life, Michaels says that Rebecca is very funny and humble, not carrying herself like the beautiful woman she is.
After Rebecca Cuci married Shawn Michaels, she approached WCW President Eric Bischoff asking to get out of her contract. In Heartbreak & Triumph, Michaels says that Bischoff initially refused to let her leave, but they later came to an agreement where Cuci could terminate her contract as long as she agreed not to work for anyone else for the following three years. Cuci never ended up returning to wrestling in any capacity; she instead decided to devote her time to taking care of the children and to handling her husband’s finances.
3. They Have a Son & a Daughter
Shawn and Rebecca have two children together: Cameron, who was born in 2000, and Cheyenne, who was born in 2004. Rebecca learned she was pregnant six weeks after the couple’s wedding in Las Vegas.
“I remember thinking: I’ve always known there was a God, and I’ve screwed up in life, but please, Lord, don’t let anything happen to my baby,” Michaels writes in Heartbreak & Triumph.
“I didn’t sleep the first two weeks we brought him home because every half hour I would get up to make sure he was still breathing.”
At the time when Cameron was born, Michaels was struggling with a serious drug addiction and was regularly abusing painkillers. In Wrestling for My Life, Michaels talks about the moment that he reached rock bottom: he was in the middle of a pill-induced fog stretched out on the couch and his son, Cameron, observed that Michaels was tired.
“My son was beginning to notice who I truly was, and that was going to affect him,” Michaels writes. “I was in the process of ruining not only my life, but also my son’s.”
He says that he promised himself and Rebecca that if they had another child, he would kick the drug habit and be there for his wife throughout the entire pregnancy.
“It was something that I prayed I could make up to her,” Michaels writes in Wrestling for My Life. “Now I had been given this second opportunity, and I made sure that I was there for her whenever she needed me. It was glorious.”
4. She Was Raised as a Southern Baptist & Inspired Michaels to Become a Born Again Christian
In Wrestling For My Life, Michaels describes Rebecca as someone who was raised in faith, fell away from it, and then came back to it again.
Michaels says that Rebecca was becoming more and more spiritual around the time that they were married, and she would regularly watch certain ministers on television. In fact, Michaels and Curci discussed religion during their very first conversation, with Curci asking Michaels if he believed in Jesus. Michaels himself was raised as a Catholic. After the birth of their first child, Michaels says that Curci began to get back to her faith roots, praying very regularly that Michaels would overcome his drug addiction and taking part in a Bible study.
“I took note of the differences I began seeing in Rebecca, especially how at peace she seemed,” Michaels writes in Wrestling For My Life.
Michaels also went back to the roots of his faith thanks to Rebecca; for Christmas that year, she got him a New Living Translation Bible and Straight Talk to Men, a book about applying Christian principles to fatherhood. Inspired by his wife, he joined a Bible study of his own, and he says that he instantly realized that Jesus was what was missing from his life.
“Rebecca smiled and said she knew all along that Jesus was who I needed in my life,” Michaels writes in his book. “‘But you needed to come about it on your own,’ she added. ‘I didn’t want to force you. I didn’t want to push you.'”
5. Rebecca & Shawn Moved to a Ranch After His Retirement
Shawn Michaels retired from wrestling in 2010. Afterward, Micheals and Cuci decided to sell their home in San Antonio and purchase a ranch. That’s because both he and his wife value peace and quiet.
“It’s hard to describe how much pleasure I gain when, returning from an out-of-town trip, I turn onto the long dirt road that leads to our house,” Michaels says in Wrestling For My Life. “I can almost feel peace filling my lungs. There is just something spectacular about being in the outdoors. I look forward to spending all day on a tractor plowing and planting graze hay for our deer.”
Michaels also says that he and Rebecca liked the idea of being abe to take their children on hunting and fishing expeditions while teaching them about God.