Kelly Kelly (Barbara Jean Blank) is an American model, reality TV star and a WWE diva. Kelly started her professional career with modelling and was eventually scouted by WWE to feature on their shows. Kelly lost one of her very first matches, which was a Divas Royal Rumble. However, she is known less for her wrestling abilities and more for her antics, such as Kelly’s Expose in the ring for which she received quite a lot of flak from her then boyfriend. She was known as an exhibitionist and performed a striptease in front of the crowd. In 2007, she was reintroduced in form of Extreme Expose, another striptease segment on WWE. In 2011, she got the first big wrestling title of her career in form of Divas championship, which she won from Brie Bella. Her rivalry started with Beth Phoenix over the title and after defending her title quite a few times, Kelly lost it in a Hell in a Cell match. A few more feuds later, Kelly started getting in and out of WWE due to several reasons. As an actress, Kelly has appeared on a number of TV shows as well.
Childhood & Early Life
Kelly was born Barbara Jean Blank in Florida on 15th January 1987 to a Jewish father and a Christian mother. She spent most part of childhood in Jacksonville. As a child, she was inclined towards gymnastics and wrestling, and spent a good part of her early days in these sports. She was also a cheerleader in high school and initially wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
She studied Broadcast journalism in college and did modelling for swimwear brands, which encouraged her to further take her modelling career seriously. It was during her modelling days that WWE contacted her to become a member and despite her zero experience in professional wrestling, Kelly joined WWE and bid goodbye to her journalism career.
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Kelly was contacted by WWE officials for a developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and signed the contract in May 2006. At first, she started her WWE stint as a referee and announcer, but later got into wrestling and in one of her very early matches, she participated in a Divas Battle Royale, which she ended up losing and in late 2007 she was drafted into Florida Championship Wrestling.
In 2006, she became the youngest diva on the WWE roster and was nicknamed as Kelly Kelly by the chairman Vince McMahon and was introduced to the crowd as an exhibitionist, doing stripteases in front of the crowd. Apart from certain disturbances from some wrestlers, her striptease became a regular weekly thing on WWE and got the name Kelly’s Expose, which was apparently a big hit among the audiences.
Her boyfriend Knox stopped her from strip teasing and she started accompanying him to his fights and in one storyline, she was seen to have feelings for another wrestler, CM Punk. In the early 2007, Kelly announced that she had broken up with Knox finally and made a comeback with her striptease routine, this time titled Extreme Expose.
She got her first title shot for the WWE Women’s Championship after winning a Battle Royale in Raw. She had to face the then champion Beth Phoenix and lost the match. She kept feuding with other female wrestlers without any significant victory or a title to her name. Her biggest victory in months came in form of Battle Royale again in a Raw Episode in 2009, which she won after facing a loss in Wrestlemania 15. The victory made her the first contender for WWE Divas Championship.
In the title shot against the champion Maryse, she won, but disqualified eventually, losing the title. A rematch took place and this time around, she lost cleanly. And in another attempt at the title win, she participated in a fatal four way match for the title shot, but lost it and her losing streak to become the number one contender for the championship continued for weeks to come.
The 2010 WWE draft transferred her from Raw to Smackdown and she made her debut on April 30 in form of a tag team match, teaming up with Beth Phoenix and defeated the team of Michelle McCool and Layla. The tag team feud went on for several weeks and ended abruptly. Her next big match was at Money in the Bank, where she got the title shot for WWE Women’s Championship but was unsuccessful in getting her hand on the championship belt.
As a part of the 2011 Supplemental Draft, she became a part of Raw again and in Over the Limit, she challenged Brie Bella for a title shot for the WWE Diva’s Championship, which she ended up losing. However, a few weeks later, she was voted by the audiences to be the number one contender for the title shot and this time around, she defeated Bella and secured her very first WWE Diva’s Championship. At Summerslam, Kelly defeated Phoenix to retain her championship, but ended up losing the title at a Hell in a Cell match.
In a rematch, she failed to win back her title and once again again in Tables, Ladders and Chairs match, she lost the chance. In September 2012, Kelly’s contract with WWE ended and wasn’t renewed. She cited the reasons to be a few injuries and her intentions to take her modelling career further.
She went on to wrestle at a few independent wrestling tournaments, but most of them were cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. However, she was a part of North East Wrestling in December. In 2017, she announced her comeback to WWE, but as an ambassador this time around. She has made a few appearances until now, but without any fighting.
Apart from Wrestling, Kelly has featured in a Timbaland music video titled ‘Throw it on me’ and did some FHM photo shoots as a model. A few other stints followed on Television such as ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘WAGs’. She also featured on the TV show ‘Days of our Lives’ and appeared as a guest appearance.
Kelly Kelly presently resides in Malibu, California, after switching her home several times. She admired wrestling as a kid and has frequently cited Trish Stratus as her inspiration.
Kelly had been in a long term relationship with wrestler Andrew Martin, before he passed away in 2009. In 2014, she announced her engagement to a popular Ice Hockey player, Sheldon Souray ,and the couple got married in 2016 in Mexico.