Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have managed to become the most powerful power couple in all of wrestling over the course of two decades. Similar to the classic love tale between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, these two wrasslin' personalities merely played characters who dated onscreen. In due time, life imitated art as that love transitioned outside of the ring. Fast forward to nearly 20 years later and the two have three children and a happy married life.
In addition, Triple H - on top of wrestling part-time - is a full-time senior producer and Vice President of Talent, Live Events, and Creative in WWE. Then, Stephanie McMahon - on top of being the heiress to Vince McMahon's throne bound to inherit his empire - is WWE's Chief Brand Officer. They are high on the totem pole backstage in WWE, but their road to the top was less than flattering. Here are some unflattering facts about their relationship.
20 Triple H cheated on Chyna with Stephanie in real life
When Triple H started his onscreen relationship with Stephanie McMahon, he was still dating fellow performer, Chyna, in real life. Eventually, that onscreen love became real and an affair broke out.
In a 2015 interview with Opie and Jim Norton, Chyna revealed that she never discovered the affair until she found a love note addressed from Stephanie to Triple H. Months later, Chyna left WWE.
19 Triple H/Steph basically blackballed Chyna from WWE until she passed
Prior to her death, Chyna begged WWE to give her one last hurrah onscreen, but WWE refused to so much as mention her on television. The reason being because of her work in adult films. As Triple H himself verbalized during a live episode of Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast, he implied there's a concern that children unfamiliar with Chyna could search her name and find... you know.
When she passed away, it all became water under the bridge as Chyna was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.
18 Triple H canceled a love triangle storyline out of real jealousy
In late 2000, a storyline began where Triple H and Kurt Angle were feuding over both the WWE Championship and the affections of Stephanie McMahon. Originally, the storyline would have ended with Angle stealing Stephanie away from Triple H, but out of real-life jealousy, the storyline abruptly ended by January 2001.
According to The Wrestling Observer, Triple H during a backstage meeting said that he didn't find it believable that Angle could steal Stephanie (who H was seeing in real life) away from him.
17 Vince and Shane didn't approve of the relationship at first
Before Stephanie ever even thought of dating Triple H, she recalls her father telling her that she should date a guy like Triple H. Emphasis on "like" because Vince McMahon did not want his daughter dating any of the wrestlers. Initially, he didn't approve of their relationship, but he grew to accept it.
Same with her brother, Shane, who producer Bruce Prichard recalls during an episode of his podcast, Something to Wrestle With, that Shane was very protective of his sister.
16 Triple H wasn't originally part of the Test/Stephanie romance angle
Originally, when Stephanie McMahon first debuted as a character for WWE, her onscreen boyfriend was a different wrestler, named Test. They were engaged to be married and had a wedding on television.
During an episode of Something to Wrestle With chronicling the entire storyline, the original plan was for Test to leave Stephanie at the altar and then feud with her father and brother. Vince didn't like that ending, so he decided at the last minute to pair his daughter with her future husband, Triple H, and she married him instead.
15 Triple H and Vince produced original wedding angle
Onscreen, Triple H and Stephanie got married at a drive-thru wedding prior to her altar arrangement with Test. Behind the scenes, Prichard was meant to produce the scene as he did most of WWE's segments, but he couldn't make it in that day.
Filling in his producer shoes was an eager wrestler ready to help in Triple H, who even filmed and directed parts of the scene. Footage was handed to the WWE Chairman, and Vince aired what he liked.
14 They didn't want their relationship televised at first
Despite being such a high profile couple within the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, they originally wanted to keep their real relationship private from the cameras. In 2002, their characters divorced onscreen, Stephanie quietly exited storylines a year later, and the two got married for real in 2004.
Apart from an occasional inside joke, their real marriage was never addressed onscreen until 2009.
13 Stephanie had a boyfriend during Triple H romance storyline
It is hard not to mention Stephanie McMahon and Triple H's relationship without mentioning that he was cheating on Chyna at the time. However, one fact that oft goes forgotten is that Stephanie was dating someone when her storyline with Triple H first took place.
As her romance with Triple H continued to blossom behind the scenes, she had a boyfriend elsewhere. Prichard confirmed this.
12 They were bad at keeping their affair a secret
Giving that Chyna learned of Triple H's affair by coming across a love letter addressed to him, it should be obvious that he and Stephanie would bad at keeping their secret a secret. Bruce Prichard recalls when he first learned about it, it was at the very first XFL game.
During his podcast, he recalled criticizing Triple H on a personal matter to Stephanie, and seeing how strongly and quickly she jumped to his defense, Bruce knew they had a fling.
11 Rob Van Dam almost had onscreen relationship with Stephanie
During another episode of Bruce Prichard's podcast, he spoke about how in 2001, while Stephanie McMahon served as an onscreen boss for Rob Van Dam, Vince McMahon had an idea to pair them up as a couple in order to pull emotion out of RVD's character; something Vince thought he was lacking.
However, because RVD was married in real life, he quickly turned the storyline down.
10 Triple H rumored affair with Christy Hemme in 2005
Between 2004 and 2005, Christy Hemme was being pushed by WWE as one of their new top female stars, going as far as to wrestle their biggest star - Trish Stratus - at WrestleMania.
Then, suddenly, that push ended and she was gone from the company. It's been often rumored that it's due to her and Triple H getting too close together (allegedly) on the road.
9 The moment Steph realized Triple H had a real life crush on her
During a 2003 interview with Howard Stern, Stephanie McMahon revealed that during the beginnings of their onscreen relationship, Triple H used to drop hints that he had real feelings for her offscreen.
One night while filming, while both had fallen to the ground, he tried to balance back to his feet and in doing so, slyly groped Stephanie's leg. It was then she knew that Triple H was catching feelings.
8 Them gaining backstage power may have led to Shane leaving WWE in 2009
Shane McMahon resigned from WWE in 2009. Publicly, he claimed that it was merely because he wanted to step out of his family's shadow to pursue other business endeavors, but apparently, there's more to that story.
There has been much speculation that Shane was "pushed out" (according to Sportskeeda) by both Triple H and Stephanie. The more they gained power backstage, the more Shane was convinced to leave.
7 Chyna accused Triple H of abusing her when they were together
In 2015 in an interview for Vince Russo's website, Chyna claimed that while they were still together, Triple H had hit her during a heated argument.
Afterward, Triple H released a statement denying Chyna's words completely. He called them " false statements and reckless allegations" as well as a "complete fabrication."
6 Steph emasculated him during live Q & A session
The couple were guests on an episode of Sunday Night Heat, a PPV pre-show televised from their former WWE restaurant in Time Square. Fans got to ask them real questions and one asked Triple H if he'd ever get back together with Chyna.
The question clearly caught him off guard and he was flustered, but Stephanie quickly answered no on his behalf. Obviously, she said it in character, but there was some uncomfortable real animosity evident onscreen for a second.
5 Want to fire long-tenured producer if they get more power
Kevin Dunn is one of the longest-tenured producers to ever work for WWE, still holding a backstage position to this day, but he has long been rumored to often butt heads with both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon when it comes to creative decisions.
Fans expect them to fire Dunn if they ever get a little more power.
4 Neither saw the potential in much-beloved Daniel Bryan character
Daniel Bryan is one of the most popular WWE Superstars to emerge in the last decade, but neither Stephanie or Triple H (or even Vince McMahon) saw his potential early on.
When word got out that they thought he was nothing but a "B+ player," they were savvy enough to turn it into a storyline, but they still had no serious plans for him until fans begged WWE to put Bryan in the main event of WrestleMania XXX.
3 Had personal beefs with AJ Lee and CM Punk; reasons why they quit wrestling
Life imitating art seems to be a common occurrence in wrestling. Here's another one. CM Punk feuded with Triple H onscreen, and Stephanie McMahon did the same with AJ Lee. Both pairings butted heads offscreen as well.
Lee publicly called out Stephanie for tweeting about equal pay. Lee pointed out that women's wrestlers in WWE “receive a fraction of the wages & screen time of the majority of the male roster.” Meanwhile, Punk quit WWE because he didn't want to wrestle Triple H at WrestleMania XXX (among other reasons). Both have retired since.
2 Triple H accused of using Stephanie to become successful
Triple H has often been accused of only marrying into the McMahon family so that he could hold the money and power that he holds today. Stephanie even addressed those rumors in her interview with Howard Stern, though she doubts it's true.
She acknowledges that it'd be a huge career move to marry the boss' daughter, but she doubts he'd go through the effort when he could ruin his own career if he "messed up."
1 May have never dated if Vince Russo didn't push for her to become a character
Vince Russo is one of the most hated men in all of wrestling. A former scriptwriter within the industry, Russo has become something of a laughing stock in the business for his ideas. However, one grand idea that few give him credit for is coming up with the idea to make Stephanie McMahon an onscreen character.
Had he never pushed the idea to Vince McMahon, she may have never had the chance to work with Triple H onscreen and, therefore, they may not be a couple today.
Sources: WWE.com, F4Wonline.com, Youtube.com, sportskeeda.com