After charming wrestling fans around the world as WWE Diva Kelly Kelly, Barbie Blank also cast her spell on former Canadiens defenseman, Sheldon Souray. Looking to spread her wings and make a name for herself following a successful career in the ring, Blank stole the show as a cast member on the reality show WAGS, which follows the lives of wives and girlfriends of sports figures. We caught up with the 28-year-old TV star to learn more about her former life in the WWE and how Souray has helped hone her love for hockey.
So how did you and Sheldon meet?
BARBIE BLANK: We met through a mutual girlfriend who I was living with in Tampa. He was playing with the Oilers at the time and he had a game in Tampa. My girlfriend was going out for dinner with him and a bunch of friends and she invited me since I was in town. We talked a little bit, but we didn't think it would end up going anywhere. We became friends but it was only about a year later that we became girlfriend-boyfriend. We've been together for four-and-a-half years, now.
When your friend introduced you to him, did you know who he was?
BB: I had no idea. (laughs) I'm from Florida and hockey is not a big sport down there. I didn't really know anything about hockey and he knew nothing about wrestling, other than from when he was a kid. When we first started dating, we were both very supportive of each other's career. He would come to my shows whenever he could, and I would come to his games whenever I could. We balanced really well.
Are you a big hockey fan now?
BB: I became a huge hockey fan! I fell in love with it. After meeting him, I realized that he was a totally different guy on the ice. I remember during our first month dating, my mom told me I should go watch some of Sheldon's fights on YouTube. So I did and I was telling myself, "He's killing these guys. This is insane." (laughs) He told me he was a totally different guy off the ice. I would love going to games and when he would get into a fight, I would stand up and yell, "Yeah babe, kick his ass!" All the other wives and girlfriends would give me the weirdest looks. (laughs)
Have you ever laced up the skates with Sheldon for fun? What kind of hockey player would you be?
BB: Never, but we talk about it. I've never really ice skated or anything like that. That's something I would really want to try now that he's retired. That would be something fun to do together. I would definitely be a fighter. I would give him a run for his money, for sure.
Did it take long to convince you to join the cast of WAGS?
BB: When we were approached, I thought it was a great idea because you guys have Hockey Wives in Canada and we had Basketball Wives in the US, but there's never been a show featuring all of the WAGS on the same show. I thought it was a great concept that was untapped since people hadn't seen that side of our world.
We all know there's a bit of scripting done with reality TV. How much of the drama we see on WAGS is actually real?
BB: None of it is scripted. That's just what ensues when we get together. The wives really don't care for the girlfriends and vice versa. (laughs) It's a really interesting dynamic to kind of see the hierarchy in the sports world. People hate to admit it, but there is one, and we show people how it is.
Is it hard to have your everyday moves followed by cameras and scrutinized by the public eye?
BB: Well, it doesn't show everything. We know when they're going to film us - it's not like we have hidden cameras at our house. (laughs) So we're always prepared and I'm used to the cameras from my WWE days. We used to film four times a week. But Sheldon is not used to the camera, so he took a little bit of warming up, but he's a natural.
We saw on the show that you were worried about Sheldon's retirement. Now that a few months have passed since he hung up his skates, has your perception about it changed?
BB: Since he's been injured for the past two years, he's had a good amount of time to settle in and realize that he's retiring. I think that he's been handling it amazingly. Every career ends and it's not forever. I remember what I was like when I retired. I just didn't know what to do because I was so used to having a schedule. He's really enjoying retirement and I'm happy with his decision. We're moving on to the next chapter of our lives.
Has retirement life already hit him? Is Sheldon spending his mornings doing crossword puzzles? Wearing socks with sandals? Has he taken up bocce yet?
BB: We love it. He'll do his thing. He'll go golf during the day and I'll go off on my way. I'll have dinner ready and we'll hang out together. We're a stay at home little couple and we have our little shows that we watch. He's a completely different person now from when he used to play in Montreal. (laughs)
Has he ever told you that he was kind of a big deal here?
BB: Oh, I've heard about it. (laughs) Let's just say that he told me that he lived it up. He just loved living and playing there. He couldn't stop talking about Montreal whenever we talked about his career. When we got together, he'd just signed in Dallas and after that he went to Anaheim. Hockey isn't as big in Texas or in California as it is in Canada, so I never had the chance to see how the fans were crazy over him up there. When I hear people talk about how he couldn't go to a restaurant or couldn't walk on the streets without being mobbed by fans, I just can't imagine it. When he tells me these stories, it really sounds like he was a big shot in Montreal. (laughs)
Did you have the chance to spend some time in Montreal with WWE over the years?
BB: It's funny because one of my bridesmaids, Maryse, is from Montreal, and she knows Sheldon's group of friends up there. They knew of each other in some way before I met him. I love hearing her talk about Montreal. Whenever I had a match against her in Montreal, I would get booed so bad since she was the local star. (laughs)
We know the wedding will take place in Cabo, but any plans to possibly take a second honeymoon in Montreal? Maybe wait for a summertime visit?
BB: You never know. I would love to go to Montreal and spend some time there and go to some restaurants and go out to the clubs and do some sightseeing since I've never really done that. I'd love to visit Montreal. I want to see how people react when they see Sheldon. (laughs)
On the show, you mentioned that you wanted to create a new image for yourself after your "Kelly Kelly" character. How hard is it to break away from a role?
BB: It's been such a big part of my life. I started when I was 19 and Kelly Kelly was such a big name in the WWE and it was my persona for seven years. When I left, I wanted to leave that persona behind and kind of make a name for myself. My fans have been amazing and they've followed me through my whole career and they want to see what's next for me. The show has been great for them to see what I've been doing since I left the WWE. I'd like to try acting or hosting or anything like that to further my brand.
Do you miss that lifestyle?
BB: I miss entertaining and performing for sure. I'd love to do something along those lines. WAGS has been amazing because I've been able to have fun and be myself and still kind of entertain, but in a different way. It's been great.
Would you ever be open to a return to WWE?
BB: If they ever ask me to come back and do a one-time thing like a Summerslam or a Wrestlemania, I definitely wouldn't be opposed to it. I'm still young, I feel I still could go out there and wrestle. You never know.
Even if you want to distance yourself from wrestling, do you ever have to bust out your old moves on Sheldon when he doesn't behave?
BB: I remember when we first started dating, he was asking me, "Hey babe, is wrestling real?" He shouldn't have tried me. (laughs) So I gave him a Ric Flair chop to the chest so hard and he realized at that moment that wrestling was definitely real. I would do moves on him all the time and he just couldn't believe how crazy it was.