- Birth name: Joan Marie Laurer
- Net Worth: $1 million
- Occupation: Former WWE Wrestler
Former professional wrestler Joan Marie Laurer, better known as Chyna has had a life filled with heartache, pain, stardom, and it all ended with an untimely death. For the last 10 years of her life since leaving the professional world of wrestling behind Chyna has struggled with drug abuse. Drug addiction was a result of years of emotional pain caused by broken relationships and booming career that ended so quickly. During the height of her career Chyna also faced scrutiny from fans who called her a man. It was her statuesque physique and hard body that made her the center of vicious rumors and jokes among WWE viewers. But through it all she was a pioneer and trailblazer in the entertainment industry opening doors for dozens of female wrestlers after her who were also able to translate their in the ring success to other entertainment outlets.
She was held as the ninth wonder of the world. Fans gravitated towards her for her tenacity and bad ass persona that drew a large female audience to the sport. She held the WWF Intercontinental Championship (the only female performer to do so) twice and the WWF Women’s Championship once. She was also the first woman to participate in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring events, as well as to become number one contender to the WWF Championship. With singles victories over several prominent male wrestlers – including multiple-time world champions Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Jeff Jarrett – Chyna has left “a lasting legacy as the most dominant female competitor of all time”.
Long before her rise top the top of the steel cage Chyna was born Joan Marie Laurer in Rochester New York. She was very shy and timid but was able to bring out her attitude in the gym. As a teenager she was drawn to weight lifting and bodybuilding. Chyna graduated from the University of Tampa with a 3.9 GPA and a double major in Spanish Literature in under two years. She also studied foreign languages and can speak English, Spanish, German and French. Chyna is a true humanitarian and has served in the US Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and the Peace Corps, helping to teach illiterate third-world children to read.
The transition into the world of wrestling was a natural one for her. But with that also came a relationship with a co-wrestler Triple H. The two dated for years and seemed headed towards marriage. Chyna was very serious about the relationship. During her time on Celebrity rehab she spoke about how the relationship made her come out of shell and Triple H became a source of comfort and encouragement to her. But somehow the bright lights and constant media scrutiny lead her down a path of drugs. And when things between her and Triple H didn’t work out it pushed her even further down that dark hole. After wrestling she continued other avenues of entertainment by acting, appearing in reality shows, hosting and even making wrestling appearances in Japan.
At the age of 45 years old she passed away April 20, 2016 in Redon, California. The cause of death was initially marked as a drug overdose.