It was in her late teenage years that Kelly Kelly took WWE by storm as an exhibitionist on the relaunched ECW, primarily featuring as a member of Extreme Exposé with Layla and Brooke Adams. Also known as Barbie Blank, she became a household name in the coming years and one of the most renowned faces and names in WWE. Even though Kelly Kelly was much loved by the fans and stood out amongst the rest of the WWE Divas at the time, she was released from her contract, leaving many fans confused and concerned about the reason for her departure and current whereabouts. Well, let’s delve deeper into the same and find the answers to your questions, shall we?
Why Did Kelly Kelly Leave WWE?
Barbara Jean Blank was fond of professional wrestling ever since she was a child and found the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin her inspiration and favorite wrestler while growing up. Studying in a Catholic School, she tried her luck out in gymnastics for a decade or so, before an injury forced her to quit and before she spent her high school years cheering for the football team as a cheerleader. Before entering the world of wrestling and living her childhood dream under the ring name of Kelly Kelly, she was a bikini model for Hawaiian Tropic and Venus Swimwear.
Debuting at the age of 19 in 2006, Kelly Kelly became the youngest Diva on the WWE roster. She began participating in more wrestling matches a year after her debut and finally, her perseverance to succeed won her the coveted WWE Divas Championship in June 2011, which she retained for the following four months. Having established herself as more than just another disposable Superstar, her fanbase grew exponentially as she rose to the peak of her career.
However, after six or seven years of being in different storylines and feuds, Kelly Kelly was released from her WWE contract in September 2012. As per reports, she wanted some time off to recover from a neck injury and take up modeling and acting gigs. In a 2019 interview with Chris Van Vliet, Kelly Kelly was asked the reason for her departure from WWE. She replied, “For me, I had never been hurt. I had never really been out, (I had) never taken time off. From 19 until 26 years old, for 7 years basically, I was on the road straight 300 days a year. I was tired, my body was tired. Your heart has to be in it, you have to go out there and give it your all and the fans can feel if you’re not into it. It just got to a point where you’re just dreading having to get on the plane.”
Kelly Kelly further expanded, “I just wanted some time off at that point. They were very supportive of it. They said to take as much time off as you need so I took a few months off. I kind of wanted to come back but I wanted to come back part-time. Where we were at back then it was like ‘No, it’s either all or nothing kind of thing.’ They were like ‘The door is always open.’ We ended on good terms, there was no bad blood. It was just my time. I was just ready to be at home and put focus into my family. It wasn’t anything bad that happened.”
However, Kelly Kelly returned to the ring on several occasions after her retirement, including on January 28, 2018, in the first women’s Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble event, in October 2018, in a battle royal at WWE’s first all-female pay-per-view WWE Evolution, and in July 2019, she reappeared during Raw Reunion and became the first female WWE 24/7 Champion. She appeared in another edition of the women’s Royal Rumble match in January 2022, making it her third appearance at the Royal Rumble.
What Happened to Kelly Kelly?
Kelly Kelly’s life after WWE changed drastically as she was cast in the E! reality television series ‘WAGS,’ in August 2015. A couple of years later, she made her acting debut on an episode of ‘Days of Our Lives,’ featuring as a waitress. As for her film debut, it came in the 2020 movie ‘Disturbing the Peace,’ where she portrayed Amanda. On the front of her personal life, 2020 was also the year she got engaged to bodybuilder Joe Coba, before tying the knot with him on April 9, 2021, in Oak Glen, California, with their marriage getting featured in the Brides magazine.
Thanks to her modeling background and reach on social media, Kelly Kelly became an Instagram celebrity and currently works as a social media influencer by representing several fashion brands, such as Reebok, Fashion Nova, and so on. On September 10, 2023, Kelly Kelly and her husband Joe Coba became parents for the first time as they gave birth to twins — son Jaxon Matthew and daughter Brooklyn Marie.