Stars

Fascinating Facts About Hulk Hogan

Anyone remember that pasta restaurant he used to own?

You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to know who Hulk Hogan is. The bronze-skinned, mustachioed, sometimes controversial muscle man has been a pop culture mainstay for decades. If you are a fan, you might have been excited to read a recent tweet by the Hulkster himself hinting that he could return to the WWE once again.

Even if you consider yourself a Hulkamaniac, you might be surprised to learn more about the life of the wrestler-turned-actor-turned-reality star.

Read on to discover some fascinating facts about one of the most recognized wrestling stars ever.

He Was Always A Big Boy

Peter and Ruth Bollea welcomed a son on August 11, 1958. Born Terry Gene Bollea, the baby who would become Hulk Hogan weighed 10 pounds, 7 ounces. He remained larger than average, weighing 190 pounds by the time he was 12 years old, which already made him heavier than his father. And he would only bulk up from there.

Getty Images | NBC

He Was A High School Streaker

Hogan grew up in South Tampa, Florida, where he attended Robinson High School. During his junior year, he attended his school’s graduation, but he wasn’t sitting in the audience. Instead, he ran naked across the football field while the seniors received their diplomas. He reportedly didn’t get in any trouble because everyone liked him.

Getty Images | Acey Harper

He Had Plenty Of Hobbies Growing Up

Wrestling was not the Hulkster’s first love. He actually grew up playing baseball. In his senior year of high school, he broke his arm during a game and had to quit the sport. He also spent his free time playing guitar and lifting weights, even playing bass in a few bands in high school.

Getty Images | Time & Life Pictures

He Was Discovered At A Bar

In the 1970s, brothers Jerry and Jack Brisco, themselves icons in the wrestling world, noticed a bass player at a Tampa bar. They found out that the musclebound blonde was a fan of wrestling, as well. They arranged for Bollea to meet with a promoter and trainer, after which he changed his name and took up wrestling.

Getty Images | NBC

He’s Had A Bunch Of Belts

Hogan has had his share of big wins in the ring. He has won a total of 12 world title belts in his long career. Six of those came with WWE and the other six came with WCW, which was WWE’s rival from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. He won his most recent WWE title in 2002, at the age of 48.

hulk hogan belt photo
Getty Images | Kevin Winter

Master Of The Royal Rumble

The WWE Royal Rumble began in 1988. It’s a unique event that sees about 30 different wrestlers competing to throw each other over the top rope, resulting in one wrestler standing at the end. Since then, that massive match has featured dozens of wrestlers competing every year for a chance at a championship match at WrestleMania. Hogan won the Royal Rumble twice, beginning with a whopping eight eliminations in a single Royal Rumble match back in 1989.

Getty Images | Rodrigo Varela

He Made Some Serious Money

In his heyday, Hogan was not only wrestling’s biggest box-office draw, but also WWE’s highest-paid wrestler. He also earned plenty thanks to several roles in Hollywood movies. Experts estimate his current net worth at $25 million. However, the Hulkster reportedly blew through millions during the height of his career.

Getty Images | Ron Bull

Rick Derringer Wrote His Theme Song

Musician Rick Derringer wrote “Real American,” the entrance music used by Hogan in WWE, and gave it to the wrestler in the mid-’80s. It was performed by singer Bernard Kenny and released in 1985 on “The Wrestling Album,” which was a novelty record by WWE CEO Vince McMahon and David Wolff, who was Cyndi Lauper’s boyfriend and manager. The song has since been used in political campaigns, and Barack Obama walked out to the song at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

EMI's Post-Grammy Bash - Arrivals
Getty Images | Michael Buckner

He Did Some Long-Distance Dating

Hogan met Linda Marie Claridge at a Los Angeles restaurant in the early 1980s. Long before the days of cell phones and social media, the pair maintained a long-distance relationship for two years. They wed in 1983 with some of Hulk’s colleagues in attendance, including André the Giant and Vince McMahon.

Getty Images | Paul Hawthorne

His Divorce Got Ugly

Hulk and Linda were seemingly happily married for more than two decades, and they had two children together. When the couple filed for divorce in 2007, Linda alleged that he was not only unfaithful during their marriage, but that he physically abused her as well. Although he admitted to having affairs, he denied abusing his wife. Their home life was chronicled in the VH1 series, “Hogan Knows Best,” from 2005 to 2007.

hulk hogan brooke nick photo
Getty Images | Kevin Winter

The Split Left Him Distraught

In his memoir, titled, “My Life Outside the Ring,” Hogan stated that his divorce left him feeling suicidal.

“Obviously I didn’t kill myself — but I came damn close,” he wrote. In 2008, he met makeup artist Jennifer McDaniel, who is 22 years younger than him. The pair married in 2010.

Getty Images | John Parra

He Was The Victim Of A Secret Sex Tape

In 2007, Hogan had three extramarital encounters with his best friend’s wife. His buddy, a popular radio personality known as Bubba the Love Sponge, knew about the relationship and actually facilitated it. What Hogan apparently didn’t know was that his sexual encounters with his friend’s wife were filmed. After the media company Gawker got ahold of and published part of one of the graphic videos, Hogan sued them and won. He settled the $140 million verdict for $31 million in 2016.

Getty Images | Marc Serota

Private Remarks Got Him In Big Trouble

Those secret tapes also included a private conversation in which Hogan could be heard using a racial slur. After the remarks were made public, WWE terminated his contract and pulled his name from its list of inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame. After numerous apologies and community work to right his wrong, WWE decided to reinstate him and again acknowledge him in the Hall of Fame, to which he was originally inducted in 2005.

Getty Images | Erika Goldring

He Made History In Sports Illustrated

In 1985, Hulk Hogan made the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was a big deal because he was the first professional wrestler to do so. Hogan paved the way for others, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ronda Rousey, who have since appeared on the magazine’s cover.

Getty Images | NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group

He Was Sued For Hurting A Comedian

In the ’80s, standup comedian Richard Belzer hosted a show called “Hot Properties.” On the telecast of March 27, 1985, Hogan appeared on the talk show to promote the first-ever WrestleMania. In an attempt to show some wrestling moves, Hogan put Belzer in a headlock and Belzer actually passed out, injuring himself and requiring several stitches when he hit the floor. Belzer sued Hogan and WWE. The parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Getty Images | NBC

He Once Announced A Bid For The White House

In 1998, Hulk Hogan made an appearance on “The Tonight Show.” What was noteworthy about this interview was that Hogan told Jay Leno he was retiring. Oh, and that he was running for president of the United States, as well! The announcements were later proven to be a publicity stunt.

Getty Images | KMazur

He Would’ve Settled For Veep

More than a decade after that initial announcement, Hogan made a similar one. In 2015, the Hulkster told TMZ that he wanted to be Donald Trump’s running mate during the businessman’s eventually successful run for the White House.

“Did you hear that?” he told TMZ. “Vice President Hogan?” Unfortunately for him, he apparently never got the offer.

Getty Images | Jeffrey Asher

His WrestleMania Debut Was Star-Studded

In 1985, Hogan was part of the main event at the first WrestleMania at New York’s Madison Square Garden. In the tag-team match, his teammate was Mr. T, after the duo had worked together in “Rocky III.” The pair faced off with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. Liberace was the guest timekeeper and Muhammad Ali was the guest referee. What an event!

Getty Images | LGI Stock


He’s Had A Few TV Shows

Wrestling matches weren’t the only times Hogan appeared on television. In 1985, the cartoon, “Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling,” debuted. His action/adventure series, “Thunder in Paradise,” came out (and ended) in 1994. He has also guest starred on everything from “Walker, Texas Ranger” to “Suddenly Susan,” with Brooke Shields. He would later become a reality-TV star.

Getty Images | NBC

He’s Done Some Movies, Too

Hogan has had a bit of a movie career, as well. His first foray into film was in “Rocky III,” in which he played a professional wrestler called Thunderlips. In this role, he reportedly put three stuntmen in the hospital. Other film credits include “Spy Hard,” “Gremlins 2” and “Muppets from Space,” which is his most recent movie credit.

Getty Images | Frazer Harrison

His Family Was All Over VH1

In the mid-2000s, cameras followed the Hogan family around, recording their daily lives. The show, “Hogan Knows Best” aired on VH1. It was expected to give daughter Brooke Hogan’s burgeoning musical career a boost. While that never really panned out, she did get her own spinoff, called “Brooke Knows Best,” which ran for two seasons of its own.

hulk hogan family photo
Getty Images | Vince Bucci

Tragedy Ended His Reality-TV Run

In 2007, tragedy struck when Hogan’s adult son, Nick Hogan, was driving to a restaurant with his friend John Graziano in the passenger seat. Nick began drag racing with some friends before he lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Graziano was severely injured and will need around-the-clock care for the rest of his life. Nick spent some time in jail for his role in the wreck. The family’s reality show ended shortly after the incident.

nick hogan photo
Getty Images | Valerie Macon

He Had A Restaurant At The Mall Of America

In 1995, Hogan opened his own restaurant. The aptly-titled Pastamania was a quick-serve pasta restaurant located in Minnesota’s famous Mall of America. The eatery closed only a few months after it opened. The Hulkamaniacs apparently didn’t run wild on the restaurant. Food Network would later compare the pasta served there with that from a can of Chef Boyardee. Ouch!

Getty Images | Matt Jelonek

Real Estate Made Him Tap Out

He might have won a lot of matches, but the real estate market seemed to get one over on Hogan when he put his Belleair, Florida home on the market. The house that served as the backdrop for his family’s reality series was originally listed for $25 million. It remained on the market for five years and finally sold for $6.2 million in 2012.

hulk hogan photo
Getty Images | Kevin Winter

 

Thor Meets Hogan?

Nope, “Thor and Hulk” isn’t a planned film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (unfortunately). But “Thor” actor Chris Hemsworth is set to play Hogan in an upcoming biopic about the wrestler. As of yet, there is no official release date for the movie, which is expected to be released by Netflix.

chris hemsworth photo
Getty Images | Jesse Grant