(Part 1) Jeanie Clarke never had aspirations, intentions of pursuing professional wrestling, but through her boyfriend wrestler, she got involved, and she made quite the mark -- a colossal mark -- in the industry.
Born in Essex, England, Jeanie, 57, is also known as manger/valet Lady Blossom, and she is the creative force behind one of the best personas in sports entertainment’s history.
“I was working in USWA as Jeanie Clarke, and I thought that was what they were going to use when I went to WCW. When I got there, [Booker] Dusty Rhodes said to me your name is going to be Lady Blossom. I didn’t actually like that name. I still don’t like that name, but I didn’t have anything else planned. ‘Ah no. Perhaps we could say this instead.’ I didn’t have that. Long time after I heard that he picked that name because I was Blossoming out of my dress. I heard that later from Magnum [TA]. The Lady part because I was from England.”
Prior to WCW, she worked the territories in the United States, most notably World Class Championship Wrestling in Texas, thanks to Gentleman Chris Adams, who she managed/valet. Adams is the link to her wrestling career and her meeting Stone Cold Steve Austin when he portrayed Stunning Steve, a young upstart under the guidance of Adams in World Class. After Jeanie and Steve married, Jeanie is credited for creating the Stone Cold nickname and Stone Cold persona.
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“I never once pursued a job in the pro wrestling industry ever. I didn’t start in the States. I actually started in the UK in 1978 -- not many people know that – for World of Sport, a TV show in the UK that was massive. It had Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Johnny Saint. My boyfriend at the time was Gentleman Chris Adams, and he did come to the States to work with the Von Erichs. Well, Chris had sort of this lady’s man, glamour boy [persona[ because he was really cute, a good looking guy, and he and I would travel together. I was his girlfriend.
“He came up with this idea that he thought would be really cute to have me as his second in his corner. Bare in mind in the UK back then in wrestling had the boxing rules, going by rounds. Like there would be three rounds, and you had to remember three finishes. So it was really hard. Chris said, ‘What if we have this idea that a girl would come in as a second, like a boxing second. You give him water. You give him a towel. It was just a little bit of gimmick, having a girl as a second. What happened was it got a lot of national mainstream media in the UK, because it had never been done that way before. I was the first female second ever, actually the only one. The national newspapers in the UK carried that story. We became like a glamour couple.
“So I never pursued to get into the industry. Chris was like, ‘Oh c’mon. Do this.’
“When I came to the States with Chris, I went through several territories as his girlfriend – Loa Angeles, Mexico, Portland. Basically, Chris and I split up, but we remained friends, and he phoned me up again when I lived in Florida. He said, ‘I’ve got this great idea of doing this ex-wife angle, because it’s got some reality in it, and I think it would be a good idea’ to have his current wife, Toni Adams, and his new student, which was Steve Williams -- who when went on to be [Stone Cold] Steve Austin. So I did him a favor. Jerry Jarrett was running the promotion World Class in Texas, which was changed to USWA.
“So that promotion in Dallas at the Sportatorium, we did this ex-wife angle, but I never actually pursued that. I never tried to get into WCW either. I took a phone call from Magnum Terry Allen for Steve at my house, and he said, ‘Where are you from? You got an accent. What do you do? I said, ‘I’ve been working a business, and for a bit of fun on a Friday night I did an angle with Steve and Chris at the Sportatorium,’ and he goes, ‘Well, I like your accent. Can you come up to interview with us?’
“So it was just a fluke with people asking me. I never asked for a job in the industry. I couldn’t wrestle. I was a heel manager, but I never could work as a wrestler. I never trained to do that.
“People thought Chris and I were married because of the ex-wife angle, but we never were married. We did say we were together 4 ½ years. It was me and Steve against Chris and Toni. In the angle, I was the biter ex-wife, who was coming to get Chris by teaming up with his ex-student who turned against him. Steve and I were just friends when we first met but dating in the angle.”
Fiction turned into fact as Jeanie and Steve began dating in real life.
‘It didn’t happen quickly. Steve was a bit aloof with me in the initial meeting. I talked to Chris, and I arrived at the Sportatorium to start the angle, and Toni said, ‘I’ll introduce you to Steve.’ I said, ‘Hey Steve. My name is Jeanie,’ and he was like, ‘Yea,’ and he turned around and walked up the stairs at the Sportatorium. I remember saying to Toni, ‘Do you think he’s a little bit unhappy about being put with a girl and doing this angle? Do you think perhaps he wanted to be just a singles wrestler, doing it on his own?
“So at first I was a bit apprehensive, thinking that Steve was going to be unhappy doing it. Maybe two or three months, we were literally just friends, we warmed to each other. As we would talk about the match, we would have a laugh, because our material was really good as heel material. A couple of times we actually broke character [chuckle], because we had a good chemistry working together.”
One thing led to another.
“Basically, what happened was Chris also did some spot shows, and he hooked up with a guy, Tom Lentz. He booked Steve on this spot show in Louisiana, and he wanted me to go, too, and I said to Chris, ‘Well, I don’t mind doing the show really, but I don’t know about driving to Louisiana on my own, and Chris said, ‘We’ll call Steve. He’s riding with Bronco [Lubich]. Maybe, if they’ve got room, they’ll take you along.’ So they did take me along, and it was on that trip to Louisiana; I could kind of tell Steve wanted to be more than friends [chuckle]. That’s when the love affair blossomed. I would say it was four or five months we were friends, before we became more than friends.”
Jeanie and Steve were married, and they had two daughters: Cassidy and Stephanie. She had her first child, Jade, with Chris out of wedlock.
“Percy Pringle really helped me a lot. Obviously he went onto be Paul Bearer with Mark Calaway [Undertaker]. I’ve known [Percy] before he’d gone onto WWF, and we spoke right up until his death. We remained that close of friends…He would stand out as someone [from the wrestling profession] that I was really close to.
“Missy Hyatt is another person I’ve been close to, ever since we parted ways, when I left WCW. She is somebody I kept in good contact with. We always talk on the phone.
“There’s quite a few really I would consider friends, and I’ve had a lot more friends since my book.
“My book came out, and I hadn’t really spoke to Mick Foley in a long time...years. He messaged me. He said, ‘I’ve got your book, and I just came back from Florida...I’m going to try to read a chapter or two, check it out.’ I didn’t hear from him for a couple of days, and I was like, ‘Oh, I hope he liked the first couple of chapters.’ He said to me, ‘I liked your book. I started the two chapters, and then I was up all night, reading it.’ I was really appreciative to him, because he said he really, really enjoyed the book…I talk to him quite a bit now.”
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley (Cactus Jack, Dude Love, Mankind) is a multi-time New York Times Best Selling Author, penning autobiographies, fiction, children’s books.
About Jeanie Clarke
In the 1990s, Jeanie Clarke had it all; a working-class Essex girl from a broken home who was living under the media’s spotlight as a globally-cherished wrestling manager and personality.
She had fame, money and was married to ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin – one of the sport’s biggest names ever. But the cameras didn’t capture the battles Clarke faced outside of the wrestling ring; battles that cost her friends, family, a career and almost her life.
Now healed and dedicated to empowering others to overcome their own insurmountable odds, Clarke bares all in a shocking yet ultimately-uplifting new memoir. ‘Through the Shattered Glass’ tells all; unheard wresting-industry insights, memories of its characters and the truth behind the private life of ‘Lady Blossom’.
It began as the classic rags to riches story of a girl who escaped a life of misery to attain accidental fame and fortune in the United States. But what happened to the girl when the American dream became a living nightmare?
Jeanie Clarke, who shot to wrestling stardom as Lady Blossom, reveals all in this frank account of her individual rise, fall and retribution, and struggles to sustain a family with a husband who was driven to become the greatest wrestling star the world had ever known. For years, she suffered in silence to survive personal tragedy, the pressures of fame, and drug addiction: a self-destructive lifestyle that spiraled out of control.
This uncompromising autobiography exposes the dark nature of the substance abuse culture which gripped the entertainment industry, examining the consequences to a broken family that it created. It is a detailed account of her highs and lows during a lifetime in the wrestling business, and the ultimate cost it had on those around her. This is a story of personal survival that remained unknown... until now.
“In the height of my addiction – I didn’t know if I’d be alive the next day,” admits Clarke. “I had a family with Steve, we were at the top of our career games and money was good – yet everything I stood for was underpinned by addiction and a destructive lifestyle that ultimately disintegrated it all. I wanted to not only share that story for the first time ever, but also prove that anyone can overcome their own demons to find the happiness and prosperity they crave so much. The book itself is a deeply-personal healing tool for me.”
Continuing, “Almost all of the book’s content has never before been made public. For example, there’s copies of love letters Steve sent to me while our relationship was in its early days, a full recounting of my early life and the adversity that drove me to reach for the top, plus a lifetime’s wisdom for those living with addiction who want to win their own championship belt of triumph.”
Since its release, readers have come out in their droves with rave reviews. For example, one reader comments, “Jeanie Clarke has provided a great insight into her roller-coaster life. In this book you will learn about her turbulent childhood, her relationships with the late Chris Adams and Stone Cold Steve Austin, her careers in the British and American wrestling industry, her drug addiction and her path to getting clean. This autobiography will make you laugh and cry, but I can assure you will never be bored reading it. It is the story of a woman that shows there is light at the end of every dark tunnel.”
Natalie Wood adds, “Jeanie Clarke has written a frank and truthful account of her life so far as a successful business woman to the star studded life on the road in wrestling to the lowest points of her life, including admittance of her addiction lasting almost 2 decades. A truly inspiring biography of love, despair, addiction, death, determination, achievements. At points this had me in tears, I just want to throw my arms around her and hug her! Well done Jeanie on turning your life around!”
Vicky writes, “Jeanie is an amazing woman- in her autobiography she gives a behind-the-scenes account of the life is wrestling but also an insight into the pressures athletes, mothers, celebrities generally face - very relevant today as well! Jeanie's story is captivating as she unravels her journey with honesty and humour.
“She is proof that people can stand out and do great things overcoming their childhood, that they can get up when they fall down and that in sharing there is greatness. A great example for people facing difficulties and an enchanting encounter with a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your life Jeanie!”
‘Through the Shattered Glass’ is available now:
About the book
Written by Jeanie ‘Lady Blossom’ Clarke, in collaboration with Bradley Craig and Neil Cameron, ‘Through the Shattered Glass’ retells the story of Clarke’s unlikely rise to wrestling fame, marriage to Stone Cold Steve Austin, her destructive two-decades of addiction and eventual healing. It’s a no-holds-barred, raw exposé’ from a once world-famous yet enigmatic wrestling star - giving new insights into the industry and bold words of wisdom for those facing their own harsh fights in the ring of life.
About the authors
Jeanie Clarke is a former entrepreneur, model and professional wrestling valet from Southend-on-Sea, England. She is most famous for her appearances with Joint Promotions on ITV’s World of Sport, the United States Wrestling Association and World Championship Wrestling, where she performed under the name Lady Blossom.
In 1991, Clarke decided to retire from wrestling to concentrate on her family life and married Steve Austin two years later. She famously came up with his Stone Cold persona, developing an edgy character which drove the professional wrestling industry to unforeseen heights. Jeanie remained close to the industry during the boom period of the ‘Attitude Era’ of the World Wrestling Federation, before returning to the United Kingdom in 2001. Despite achieving success in business and entertainment, her greatest accomplishments were to raise her children and to survive a 17-year addiction to drugs. Today, Jeanie focuses on making public appearances to share her incredible life story.
Bradley Craig is a Chartered Architect and professional wrestling historian, based in the United Kingdom. Born in Aberdeen, he founded The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for Scotland in 2015, and is active in the research and ongoing cultural preservation of the sport. He has contributed written articles to a number of international magazines on the subjects of architecture and professional wrestling, and is a member of various institutions which honour the rich history of both industries.
Neil Cameron was born and lives in Suffolk after a career in the travel industry he turned his hand to looking after the legacy of Elvis Presley.
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