Cody Rhodes and Brandi Rhodes have been married since 2013
The couple met in 2011 while they both worked for WWE. At the time, Cody's dad, Dusty "The American Dream" Rhodes, held different positions at NXT wrestling after retiring from the ring. While training up-and-coming stars, Dusty first met Brandi, and dreamed up a new promo for her based on her striking green eyes. He also told his son about her.
"He thought, 'You know what I’m gonna do? I'm gonna do these vignettes where we just focus on her eyes, and it's like her eyes do the talking,' " Cody recalled to Andscape. "And I didn't know at the time that he was talking about my future wife."
Today, the pair have been married for nearly a decade. Snippets of their lives on the wrestling circuit have been featured in the TNT reality series Rhodes to the Top and the E! series WAGS: Atlanta.
In June 2021, the pro wrestlers welcomed their first baby together, daughter Liberty Iris Runnels.
From her career before WWE to her relationship with the pro wrestler, here's everything to know about Cody Rhodes' other half, Brandi Rhodes.
She was a figure skater before working in TV
Brandi Rhodes was born Brandi Alexis Reed in Canton, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, on June 23, 1983. She grew up figure skating competitively, starting when she was four years old.
"What I imagined back then was that I would be the first black female figure skater to win the gold medal at the Olympics, so I had high hopes for being a ‘first,’ for sure," Brandi told Andscape. "I definitely ended up in a different direction."
That direction was television. She earned a full scholarship to the University of Michigan, hanging up her skates her sophomore year to focus more on academics. After graduating, she worked as a news anchor for two years before moving to the East Coast.
There, Brandi enrolled at the University of Miami and earned her master's in broadcast journalism. She also modeled for several brands, including KFC and Budweiser. In March 2011, she signed a development deal with WWE after a tryout. The aspiring star was assigned to work at Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW).
She fell for Cody on their third date
During the first year of her WWE career, Brandi and Cody got into a relationship — though it took a while for her to come around to the idea of dating a coworker.
"It probably took around a month for me to go out with him," she told WrestlingInc in 2017. "And after that, the rest is as they say history, because I feel that we ended up spending everyday together after that; every day that we could.”
She recalled in a WWE interview that their first date was at Waffle House and their second was at Cracker Barrel. But it was their third date that made her realize how special Cody really was.
"My moment where I knew this was definitely the person for me was when Cody asked me on a date to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. Nobody had ever asked me on a date to Halloween Horror Night, and I had never been even though I am a horror fanatic," she told Sports Illustrated.
Brandi continued: "I go to all the haunted houses that I can get my hands on, and I grew up in Michigan, where there are a lot of back-woodsy haunted attractions. I had wanted to go to Halloween Horror Night for years, but no one was ever interested."
She shared that she and Cody spent the entire weekend at Halloween Horror Nights and later made it an annual tradition for them as a couple.
She and Cody got engaged and married quickly
Brandi and Cody got engaged in November 2012, a little over a year after they first started dating. She announced the happy news on Twitter (now known as X). "Last night was for us, time to share! @CodyRhodesWWE is officially my fiancé! (Or my beyonce for those who know) 💍😍," read her tweet.
The couple married on Sept. 12, 2013, at the Swan House and Atlanta History Center. Brandi wore a strapless, beaded and lace white mermaid gown by Lazaro with a feathered skirt and train, while Cody wore a classic black tuxedo and white shirt.
She made wrestling history more than once
Brandi made her FCW debut in 2011. She started as a ring announcer for WWE Superstars, then began announcing NXT matches under the name Eden Stiles. She was released from her WWE contract in December 2011 (around the same time she announced she was dating Cody).
In 2013, she returned as an announcer and backstage interviewer for Main Event and SmackDown and became a backup announcer for WrestleMania and Raw. She made history as the first Black woman ring announcer at WrestleMania in 2015.
Fast forward to 2016, she was released from her contract for a second time, and Cody exited as well, citing his own personal frustration at not being able to break through with fans or win the top title.
Similarly, Brandi wasn't able to earn a spot as a WWE wrestler despite extensive training. She decided to shift her focus to independent wrestling circuits, including Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor and World Wonder Ring.
"I was brought into WWE many, many moons ago as a developmental talent. Developmental means you're training to wrestle, and I did that with FCW, and then with my second run at NXT as a wrestler," she explained to Sports Illustrated. "I was hired to be a wrestler, and I spent all that time training, learning, and working, so this is my chance to showcase that."
In 2018, Brandi made history yet again as the first Black woman to compete in New Japan Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom event. The next year, she became the first Black woman executive in a North American wrestling operation when she was appointed as All Elite Wrestling (AEW) chief brand officer, making her the first Black woman executive in a North American wrestling operation.
Despite these successes, Brandi revealed that she still had to navigate obstacles because of her husband's family legacy.
"It's something that I hear all the time in my head, because it's not because I'm Black that I have to work harder than everyone else," she said. "It's because my last name is Rhodes that I have to work harder than everyone else."
Brandi and Cody both left AEW in 2019.
She made Dusty's final TV appearance happen
Brandi's father-in-law Dusty had kidney disease and his health was beginning to fail in 2015. While initially reluctant to appear on camera, Brandi encouraged him to do a brief segment with superfan Maria Menounos backstage at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony that ended up being his last time on-screen. Brandi appeared at his side while Menounos did an impersonation of Dusty, who died three months later.
Cody explained to Andscape: "[Brandi] brought that moment to him. It ended up being this really touching moment where Maria was able to share her fandom with Dusty, and I was glad that she gave that to him.”
She and Cody share a baby girl
Brandi and Cody are parents to daughter Liberty Iris. The couple announced Brandi's pregnancy in December 2020, with Brandi telling PEOPLE they were excited to "dive right in" to parenthood. Their baby girl was born on June 18, 2021, and she had a Disney-themed nursery already waiting for her at home.
Liberty's arrival was particularly moving for Cody, who didn't necessarily think he'd ever be a dad.
"I never thought that I'd be a father. We were a … dual income, weirdo family for so long with no kids, just living like we were 20, still," he said of his relationship with Brandi. "But in 30 minutes … we literally became an actual family. I'm just the happiest I could ever possibly be. I really am."
Leaving AEW, Brandi said, gave her more freedom and flexibility as a mother. "I've had many career changes that weren't really anticipated over the past year and it actually turned out to be a really great thing because through these changes I have had the ability to be like, 'You know what? I'm prioritizing my daughter,' " she told PEOPLE.
Brandi continued: "So we are literally just doing whatever we want. We're discovering things together, we're traveling together. I'm able to say, 'Hey, I want my baby here.' I've been blessed with the freedom to be able to see motherhood exactly how I want to right now and that was not always going to be the case."
She was open about her postpartum depression
While Brandi and Cody were elated by Liberty's arrival, Brandi's mental health suffered. She opened up about her postpartum depression on Instagram in hopes that other struggling parents would feel less alone.
Brandi said in a moving post that Liberty was "beautiful" and "captivating," but that she felt "terrified about everything" regarding her well-being.
"If there was a chance anything could happen to her I thought of it and cried over it. Nonsensical stuff," she wrote, explaining that she'd panic whenever Liberty coughed or hiccuped.
"I'm confrontational with doctors when it comes to her," Brandi added. "I don't trust people at all, not even the people that raised me! I'm suffering from postpartum depression. Some days I do better than others."
Cody credits her for his WWE return
While Brandi has said she doesn't plan on wrestling professionally in the future, Cody made a triumphant return to WWE in early 2022. He later shared that if it weren't for Brandi, he may have never made the move.
"It's not a story that anyone's ever really going to know, but I wouldn't even be able to have come back if Brandi had not made a very selfless decision that changed my life," he said on the Superstar Crossover podcast in March 2023. "It's hard to even speak about it without getting emotional. Brandi deserves the WWE Championship almost more than I do. I really look forward to trying to be able to do that."
While Cody didn't go into detail about what Brandi did to encourage and enable his WWE comeback, he did say that knowing he had to "report back" to his wife and daughter evoked a sense of responsibility in him to "give everything" he could at work — and hopefully also bring a championship belt or two home. (And he did, winning the Royal Rumble in January 2023!)
When asked about her role in Cody's WWE return, Brandi also didn't delve into too many details, but explained how it came about. "The second he said [he wanted to go back to WWE], I was like, 'I don't know why we haven't had this conversation earlier,' " she told Instinct Culture.
Brandi added: "'How can you realize your dream when you're not at the place that your dream is at? So, yeah, you should talk to [WWE]. If this is what you want to do, you should do it 100 percent.' "
She left wrestling, but still works in the fitness realm
While she's no longer grappling professionally, Brandi remains active and passionate about physical fitness, which translates to her new gig: She's opening her own yoga and pilates studio. Brandi announced the news on X in July 2023, noting that she will also have an app for virtual workouts.
She explained to Instinct Culture that yoga and pilates helped her tremendously during her pregnancy and postpartum. "It really helped and healed me in so many ways after having Liberty, going through the changes that we went through," she said.
Brandi continued: "I just wanted to spread it to people, so I've been working on that. I’m finally in construction and I'm hoping that fall 2023, we will be open. We will be on an online application. So people, hopefully worldwide, will be able to take part and do some yoga and learn to feel good."
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Read the original article on People.