Natalya Neidhart and T.J. Wilson met as young kids and have known each other 27 years. But theirs isn’t your typical “girl falls in love with the boy next door and they live happily ever after” kind of story. “I can remember meeting Nattie at her grandfather’s house — and about five minutes later she told me off,” Wilson fondly recalls of his first interaction with his longtime love.
While Nattie disputes this account, she doesn’t argue with the statement that he “drove her crazy until I was about 15” and that their relationship is “unorthodox” and “nontraditional” (but, as T.J. says, “it’s love nonetheless”) — which makes sense considering that their lives have revolved around wrestling for decades.
Call Nattie “the Kate Middleton of World Wrestling Entertainment.” Her father, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart, was a two-time WWE tag-team champion, and her uncle, Bret “the Hitman” Hart and grandfather Stu Hart are both WWE Hall of Famers. But her royal rumble bloodline isn’t why T.J. was initially drawn to her when he was 12 and she 10. “When I first saw Nattie, it sounds so made up, but I liked her instantly,” he says.
Nattie’s attraction towards T.J. took a little more time. “For me, it wasn’t love at first sight,” she admits. “It wasn’t until I started learning how to wrestle that there was this connection with T.J. that changed everything. He always would catch me, he’d always put himself on the line to make sure that I was safe, and when you’re in the ring and you’re learning how to wrestle, it’s all about trust with your partner.”
T.J. agrees: “You become like-minded and understand what the other is possibly going through because you’re probably going through it or have gone through it.”
Their connection has, in part, fueled their success. In addition to their work with WWE, Nattie is a major player on the reality show Total Divas, which plays a surprisingly important role in their relationship.
Because Nattie and T.J. have been together for so long, T.J. never proposed or asked her parents for permission to do so because they were basically married. They never actually spoke about tying the knot, happy to spend time at home with their families and cats, until producers from E! approached the couple about planning a wedding for them so it could be filmed for the show.
So, according to Nattie, the network took charge and planned a wedding in five weeks for 50 of their closest friends and family, surrounded by $20,000 worth of flowers. “My dad and my cat walked me down the aisle,” she remembers of the big day, noting there was no way she was going to get married without her cat. The cat actually had its own car service to the wedding and wore a custom bowtie and tuxedo.
And while their life seems extravagant now, Nattie says they “started together with absolutely nothing and we built everything together. Now we have such a beautiful life. We built our relationship together and it feels good because we fell in love having nothing. I don’t think T.J. had $100 to his name when I fell in love with him and I was working as a waitress. Now it feels so good to share the fruits of our labor when we started with nothing, so that’s why I appreciate it so much. I appreciate every trip to Louis Vuitton.”
Want more love? Read about how Macklemore helped these 2 superfans find each other.