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The pioneering pro wrestler, who died in April, led a life of outstanding highs and painful lows.
"I’m not looking to win an Academy Award, I just want to entertain people."
A 5-foot-10 wrestling phenom who could take on both sexes in the ring, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer was the first woman to win the World Wrestling Federation Championship (later rebranded under WWE).
She rose to fame in the late ’90s as a “bodyguard” for the wrestler Triple H (Paul Levesque), whom she dated and defeated in the ring. Fond of leather and studs, she could bench-press 350 lbs. and exuded star power.
Chyna’s time in the wrestling spotlight ended suddenly when WWF released her in 2001. Rumors swirled around her departure, with some suggesting that it was related to the end of her romance with Levesque, at the time a top WWF talent.
Chyna battled drug addiction throughout her career, eventually coming clean on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2008. By that point, she had published her memoir, made TV cameos, posed for Playboy twice and appeared in a string of adult films. The week of her death, she posted a 13-minute video to YouTube in which she appeared disoriented at times and slurred her speech.