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Steve Austin's violent relationships: Why both Debra Marshall and Tess Broussard left WWE star with lawsuits?

Did Steve Austin assault ex-wife Debra Marshall in a 'steroid rage'? Was his ex-girlfriend Tess Boussard set up to be jailed? Here's a look at how love turned brutal for them
Debra Marshall, Steve Austin and Tess Boussard (Getty Images)
Debra Marshall, Steve Austin and Tess Boussard (Getty Images)

From Stone Cold Steve Austin to 'Straight Up Steve Austin', the iconic WWE star has had quite the journey in entertainment. From acting to producing, hosting on television and being a retired professional wrestler, Austin is still signed to a legend’s contract under WWE. Among the many feathers on his bonnet is the 2019 reality TV series that is returning to USA Network for its sophomore season.

The series focuses on Austin (born Steven James Anderson, later Steven James Williams) and a celebrity guest as they swap stories about their lives and careers as they travel across the country. But no journey of Austin is complete without the many violent incidents he has allegedly unleashed and claimed to be at the receiving end of, in not one, but two of his relationships.

Austin's marriage to fellow WWE star Debra Marshall and the romance with Tess Broussard immediately after both ended in violence. As Austin gears up to display his illustrious life, let's take a look at how love turned so brutal for the WWE champion.

Who is Debra Marshall?

Now a retired professional wrestling valet, she was once dubbed Queen Debra and reigned with her stage name in her appearances with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Her career in professional wrestling began in 1995, accompanying her then-husband Steve "Mongo" McMichael to the ring in the WCW.

In 1998, she joined the WWE as the manager of tag team Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart until the latter died inside the ring in 1999. Together with Austin, she left the company and after a tumultuous marriage that ended in lawsuits and arrests, as of 2013, Debra was reportedly pursuing her master's degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama.

Professional wrestling's latest bombshell babe, Debra Marshall, at the Barker Hanger for the 1999 Teen Choice Awards (Getty Images)

Steve Austin and Debra Marshall's marriage

Austin (now 56) met Marshall (now 60) in 1998 just a year before his divorce with second wife Jeanie Clarke. He was previously married to high school girlfriend Kathryn Burrhus. Just two years later, Austin and Marshall moved in together in 2000. Shortly after, they got married in a Las Vegas chapel and Debra changed her last name to Williams after her new husband.

Their marriage fell apart just two years later when on June 15, 2002, police responded to a call at the couple's home in San Antonio, Texas. Debra was found with bruises and a bloody nose, and a month later, Austin was arrested under charges of misdemeanor assault.

In an exclusive interview with FOX News, Marshall had opened up about the harrowing alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of Austin and how most of it was steroid rage — something rampant within the industry that she claimed didn't want her addressing it in the first place.

"I know it was contributed to the use of steroids, because I have seen the steroid rages. I have seen him being paranoid. I have seen his panic attacks. I mean, for three times, I'd seen him attack me — I mean, and at work, people would know it, and they would cover the bruises on my face," Marshall told the outlet about the domestic violence she endured and had to keep suppressed. 

Pro wrestling Hall of Famer Steve Austin speaking as part of Wendy's #bbq4Merica campaign (Getty Images)

Steve Austin assaulting Debra Marshall

Recounting the last time he had attacked her, Marshall told the outlet, "The last time Steve attacked me, alcohol was involved. He jumped on me. He's on my back with his knee in my back, pounding me in the back and in my face. I thought I was going to die. And then, I can totally understand what Nancy (Benoit) must have felt in the last few seconds of her life, because I thought I was going to die," Marshall said about the horrifying double murder and suicide deaths of another WWE star Chris Benoit, who killed himself after killing his wife and seven-year-old son.

Also spilling the murky game of money that she claims goes on inside the WWE circuit, Marshall said how she couldn't come forward until that final incident because the bosses were "not going to rat on the top money-maker in wrestling. And everyone else knew this was going on, but no one's going to stop it, because Steve would make millions of dollars (...)." 

The marriage ended with Austin pleading no contest on November 25 and being let off with a year's probation, a $1,000 fine, and an order to carry out eighty hours of community service. Filed on July 2002, the divorce was finalized in 2003.

Who is Tess Broussard?

Actress Tess Broussard attends the Star Magazine Scene Stealers Event at Lure (Getty Images)

Actress, glamour model and media personality Broussard is widely known for her charitable pursuits. Having also been a fitness/swimwear model as well as a Playboy model and FHM model, Broussard has been an MTV hip-hop music videos favorite, like the dancer in Will Smith's 'Get Jiggy Wit It' (1997), the lead girl in South Park's 'Kenny's Dead' by Master P (1999), and a girl wrestler in Warren G and Ron Isley's 'Smokin' Me Out'.

Steve Austin and Tess Broussard's violent relationship

After his divorce from Marshall, Austin denied allegations of being an alcoholic, but just a year later in 2004, the domestic abuse accusations made their way back to him. This time it was his then-girlfriend Broussard who claimed he assaulted her during a dispute at his home in San Antonio, Texas, reveals a police report. The complaint quotes Broussard stating that Austin grabbed her, and threw her to the ground when she started struggling.

She landed on her hands and knees and later told officers she had injured her right hand. She provided a written statement to police, who photographed her injuries. No arrests were made and no charges were filed in the case. 

But that was in March, and things escalated beyond assault at home the second time when, in August, an expectedly quiet dinner went awry and Austin's bodyguard ended up getting stabbed and Broussard was taken to jail for assault with a deadly weapon, stated Los Angeles Times.

Actress Tess Broussard attends the Comedy Central Emmys after party at Boulevard3 on September 20, 2015, in Hollywood, California (Getty Images)

Was Tess Broussard set up by Steve Austin?

The incident has two distinct versions recounted to the outlet by the main parties involved. In Austin's version, he was supposed to meet Broussard one last time as he knew he had to "get out of that relationship". So he planned on taking her out, offering her money and asking her to leave him for good.

That was allegedly an agreed-upon plan, but he claims Broussard refused to break up with him by the end of the dinner and threatened to bust to tabloids the March incident if he didn't comply. When his bodyguard interfered, Broussard allegedly got on top of Austin with a steak knife, trying to stab him. The bodyguard got up in time to grab Broussard and handcuff her to a chair, but not before she manages to slide his arm with the knife, claimed Austin.

Brossard recalled the incident saying the bodyguard “grabbed me and shoved me down in my chair. When I tried to get up, out of nowhere some guy came up from behind me and knocked me down, yelling, ‘Get down!’ as if gunshots were going to be fired. The next thing I know, he’s on top of me and I’m handcuffed. And there’s George dumping over the table."

"Then I see him bend down and it looks like he’s stabbing himself. All of a sudden, he says, ‘I’m bleeding’ and the bodyguard says, ‘I saw you stab him!’” She claimed it was all a set up to quiet her down about spilling the beans on his drinking nightmares and drug abuse when she reported that he forced pills down her throat. 

Austin's friends, on the other hand, have vouched for the wrestler, testifying with incidents where they claim Broussard was the one physically assaulting and acting unruly with their friend. When asked about they stuck around with each other, Broussard said "I was naive. He’d apologize and say he’d change and go to counseling, but he never did. He told me I was his soul mate, so I kept going back and really believed in the relationship. But it was a lot of empty promises.”

Austin too claimed, "I kept seeing her because, as kooky as she was, I still loved her. I feel like I’ve been a pawn on the chessboard. I was too trusting and too nice, and that’s what I’ll have to live with.” After their split, Austin married his fourth wife, Kristin, in late 2009.

Catch him recount his colorful life on Season 2 of 'Straight Up with Steve Austin' premiering on Monday, January 11, at 11 pm on USA Network.