Many avid followers of professional wrestling consider Ric Flair to be one of the greatest of all time. His career has spanned more than four decades. Flair was awarded wrestler of the year a record six times. His career as a manager in professional wrestling is almost as decorated.
Flair, born Richard Morgan Fliehr, found immediate success as a teenager wrestling on various amateur circuits. He made his official debut as Rice Lake in December 1971. Flair battled such legendary pro wrestlers as Dusty Rhodes, André the Giant, and Wahoo McDaniel.
Through all his early success, Flair’s career skyrocketed in 1978 when he decided to call himself the “Nature Boy”. During his career, Flair was portrayed as both a villain and a hero. Flair held multiple world titles. His legacy is undeniable.
The iconic celebrity has been honored with “Ric Flair Day” in a half-dozen places across the United States. Ric Flair has been a wildly popular figure in professional wrestling for over 40 years.
However, through all his wrestling success, Flair hasn’t been quite as successful in his romantic life. He has been married five times, according to reports, and has fathered four children. His first wife was Leslie Goodman.
This first marriage lasted 12 years. Goodman and Flair had two children. Flair’s second marriage to Elizabeth “Beth” Harrell was the longest lasting marital union for the wrestling superstar. Beth and Ric were married for 23 years and likewise had two children.
Tragically, one son, Reid, died in 2013 from an overdose. Despite his worldly fame, Flair has continued to have a troubled personal life. Between his second divorce and fifth marriage to his “WCW Maid,” Wendy Barlow, Flair had another pair of failed marriages.
Neither the third marriage to Tiffany VanDemark nor the fourth to Jacqueline “Jackie” Beems lasted four years. His most recent marriage to Barlow, known in the wrestling world as “Fifi,” doesn’t appear to have fared much better. Barlow and Flair have reportedly split up.
The pair first met in 1993. There are unsubstantiated insinuations that Barlow may have been an issue in Flair’s previous marriages. Beyond his career in professional wrestling, Flair has been an active Republican in North Carolina.
The iconic figure contemplated a run for North Carolina governor in 2000. After being cautioned by his longtime friend Jesse Ventura not to run, Flair never followed through. Apparently, over 100 speeding tickets is what caused Ventura to recommend that he didn’t take up politics.
However, that didn’t stop Flair from supporting former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in the 2008 presidential election. Most recently, Flair endorsed Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.
That same year, Flair flirted with political aspirations again, announcing his run for the presidency. He tabbed rapper Waka Flocka Flame as his running mate. These ambitions fizzled as well.
In recent years, Flair has experienced a few medical problems. He suffers from a heart condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy. As with his long-standing relationship with Barlow, this medical condition could be a contributing factor to his well-documented marital problems.
However, Flair and Barlow insist that their split is permanent. Flair, who, despite the health risks, says he’s not averse to entering the ring again at 72 years of age, tweeted about the split. “After Taking Some Time Apart, Wendy And I Have Decided To Go Our Separate Ways.”
There’s speculation about whether one of the greatest wrestlers of all time will jump back into the ring. Nonetheless, his latest attempt at marital bliss seems over. There’s always the chance of “never again” in both circumstances. But with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, expect the unexpected.
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