10 Famous WWE Love Stories That Didn’t Survive The Wrestling Business

9. Goldust & Marlena

WWE Heartbreak

Together in real-life for years by the time their partnership became a fixture on WWE television, Dustin and Terri Runnels had been married for three years when Marlena joined Goldust at 1996's Royal Rumble.

Added to his act to 'soften' the predatory homosexual overtones that blurred the lines between the gimmick's original androgyny and carny homophobic leanings, Marlena's mysterious performance style acutely augmented an already-complex character.

Their chemistry, obviously, was electric, and convinced creative heads to lean into their real life with an ill-fated 1997 babyface turn. Literally wiping away the visage, an unpainted Dustin 'revealed' himself as the son of Dusty Rhodes, husband of Terri and father of Dakota in an angle designed to sell him as an everyman. It instead simply diluted a once-dynamic duo.

Ripped part by rotten writing, the pair never came together again on screen after Dustin dumped her to kick off his 'Artist Formerly Known As...' heel turn. A brief feud around her dalliances with Val Venis in 1998 went nowhere, and a real-life divorce in 1999 lined up with his disastrous move to WCW.

Nearly 20 years on and they remain on good enough terms that Terri volunteered to don the golden gown to accompany Goldust in a Raw 25 skit. Regrettably, her request was evidently ignored.


Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back almost 35 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz" Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast and its accompanying YouTube channel, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 60,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times, GRAPPL and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett