One of the most recognized names in the history of professional and amateur wrestling, Kurt Angle is likely more well-known for his submission holds than his struggles with addiction. But the 1996 Olympic gold medalist and multi-time WWE world champion battled a severe addiction to painkillers throughout his 25-year wrestling career, culminating in four DUI arrests within a five-year stretch.
“I was in denial for about eight years. I was getting into trouble too, at one point I had four DUIs in five years, and it was just bad judgement and bad decisions. It was one big blur,” he said in a recent interview with Metro. “Then I realized I wasn’t a role model anymore, which was something very important to me. My wife approached me after my fourth stint in jail and said she was tired of me passing out in the early evening on the rare times I was home.”
Kurt Angle said that his wife’s threat to leave him is what pushed him to get the help he needed. Now, sober and happy, the father of five has created the AngleStrong recovery app to help people with addictions stay clean following rehab. The app offers daily tips, affirmations and advice about health, wellness and exercise.
The star wrestler said that chronic injuries, his competitive drive to get back in the ring as quickly as possible and a WWE culture that encouraged alcohol use all contributed to his addiction difficulties. He is currently the acting general manager of WWE Raw.