WWE's Carmella talks love, being pregnant heartbreak and staying motivated

It's hard to imagine how 10 years have passed since an excited Leah Van Dale signed with WWE on the dotted line and became Carmella, the "Princess of Staten Island," but the 35-year-old pro wrestler has made a difference during that time made a name for itself over the past decade.

After a welcome return to Monday Night Raw in January, following an injury and two heartbreaking experiences with pregnancy, the first-ever female Money in the Bank winner says she's more excited than ever in a bold and wide-ranging game is chat with M&F Hers about a tumultuous 2022, the importance of listening to your body and the value of sharing emotional experiences with those who may relate.

Theik Smith

Carmella returned to WWE "Monday Night Raw" in January after several months away from the spotlight, and there's no doubt that 2023 is hers, but the last year has seen both incredible highs and devastating lows. Good news: The former SmackDown Women's Champion tied the knot with fellow WWE fellow WWE player Corey Graves (real name Matt Polinsky) in April, and the loving couple got to socialize and even enjoy a small wedding cake.

“We didn't have such a big, grandiose multi-tiered cake, we actually got our cake from Publix and it was amazing. It was so good!" says Carmella.

But with the couple still basking in the newlywed glow, 2022 would prove to be devastatingly challenging. On October 25, in the midst of her break from the ring due to a concussion, the WWE Superstar shared her story of suffering a miscarriage in September and an ectopic pregnancy just weeks later.

Carmella spoke up for others after her own tragic loss

"It was a very difficult time in my life," shares the popular WWE Member, who shows tremendous courage in telling her story to support and raise awareness of this important issue. “I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even know what an ectopic pregnancy was until it happened to me. It only happens 6 percent of the time, so it's not very common.

"Unfortunately, I was taken to the ER and I had no idea what was going on, but I just trusted my body that something was wrong," adds Carmella. "I'm so thankful that I listened to my body... I think I know my body so well because of my many years of being a dancer and athlete and I knew something was wrong. I was in the ER when I received the horrible news that it was an ectopic pregnancy and for anyone who doesn't know what that means; Basically, the baby forms in your fallopian tube and not in your uterus. So it is not a viable pregnancy and many women are not even aware of it. The fallopian tube can just rupture and many women will die from it.”

Of course, the effects of an ectopic pregnancy aren't just physical. Add to that the immense emotional pain of losing a baby. "It was just awful and I felt so alone, kind of isolated," says the talented athlete. "And I just felt like if that's how I feel then there are certainly other women out there who feel the same way." After telling her story, the lady we know and love as Carmella has been approached online and in person by people around the world who either know her from WWE or have had a connection with her loss, and the star says that she has comforted those who have felt less alone because of her message.

Carmella says she has received much-needed support from her loving husband and family at WWE. "I just wanted to share my story and make sure people realize it's happening and there's nothing I could have done, even though I felt like I blamed myself at times," says the warrior. "Social media can be used for so many different things and I'm guilty of projecting that perfect lifestyle and I just felt like let's use that for something real and I'm grateful for that and the outpouring of support." and love I got was incredible.”

The gym has become a sacred place for Carmella

Before her excited return to the ring in the New Year, Carmella rebuilt her relationship with fitness thanks to her love of the process. She grew up in a fit and healthy household and has stayed in consistently good shape through disciplines like dancing, cheerleading and of course WWE, but the gym means much more to her than just a space to work out. "When I'm having a bad day, I go to the gym. If I'm having a good day, I go to the gym," she says. "When I need a distraction, I go to the gym. If I need to focus, I go to the gym.”

And while Carmella still loves to lift weights, she tells M&F Hers she doesn't lift quite as heavy these days and also enjoys spending her time in recovery rituals. "I'm really into Pilates and yoga," shares the former LA Laker girl. "Pilates is about resistance and time under tension," she says. "I've really gotten back into yoga for the past few months and have never felt better." With WrestleMania 39 just weeks away (live April 1-2 on Peacock, WWE Network everywhere else), our girl has the price with certainty in mind.

When Carmella wants to pull off an epic workout in a short amount of time, the "Princess of Staten Island" opts for a HIIT-style workout that involves moves like med ball hits, pull-ups, and pushing a weight sled.

Thankfully, after going through so much pain, the decorated pro wrestler is finally in great mental space and loving life back in WWE. Pro wrestling was a childhood dream come true for her and as a second generation pro wrestler, Carmella tells M&F she was first inspired by iconic ladies like Miss Elizabeth.

"I really liked Miss Elizabeth because she was always so fabulous in the way she dressed and the way she behaved. She was always so classy,” says Mella. She would later be drawn to trailblazers like Trish Stratus and Lita, but now that she's made her own name after ten years in WWE, there's still plenty of motivation to look forward to. "Ten years is so crazy because I feel like it's just flown by," says the star. “I have such a new enthusiasm for my career. I was gone for seven months and had no idea if I would come back. Will people remember this? What do I do when I come back? And of course, as much as I would love to win the Raw Women's Championship because it's the only title I've never had, I really just want to focus on my character at this point. I really love stirring the pot. I really love being the bad guy and really getting people excited and they want to see my butt kicked! That's what I want, so if I do that then I'm doing my job.”

Take our money, 'Mella!

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