One of the greatest names to ever grace the world of wrestling is that of Ric Flair, or as he was popularly known by the moniker, ‘The Nature Boy’.
Ric Flair has had an illustrious career that has spanned over 4 decades in which he has held the World Championship for a record of 16 times.
And if you thought that was impressive, Ric is also the only two-time inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame with the first time being in 2008 for his own personal contribution to wrestling and again in 2012 as one of the members of ‘The Four Horsemen’.
The other three were Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard.
Below are the top ten lesser-known facts about the larger-than-life man that is, ‘the Nature Boy’, Ric Flair.
1. The Man Has Quite a Number of Different Birth Names
It is well-known that his real name is not Ric Flair. His real name as most people know is Richard Morgan Flierh. But get this, this is not even his actual birth name. In his book, ‘To Be the Man’, he mentions that his birth name is actually Fred Phillips, son of Olive and Luther Phillips.
He was soon adopted soon after birth and was brought up by his adoptive parents, Richard Reid Fleihr and Kathleen Kinsmiller Fliehr in Edina, Minnesota where he spent most of his childhood.
2. Plane Crash
On October 4th 1976, Ric Flair, whose wrestling career was just starting to take off, almost came to an abrupt end when he was involved in a terrifying plane crash that killed the pilot and paralyzed fellow wrestler, Johnny Valentine.
Ric broke his back in three places and was told by doctors that he would never fight again but after rigorous physiotherapy, good old Ric was back in the ring and doing what he does best after only 8 months.
3. Unlucky In Love
Ric has been married quite a number of times, five to be exact with four of those ending in divorce.
His first marriage was to Leslie Goodman in 1974 which ended after 9 years and he had two children from that, Megan and David.
The man seems to have quite a way with women because the same year he got divorced, he quickly got married to Elizabeth Harrell with whom he had two other children with, Ashley and now the late Reid. This marriage ended in 2006 after a good 26 years together and this, to date, has been his longest ever marriage.
Once again, Ric Flair met someone and remarried the same year as his divorce, this time to Tiffany VanDemark. This did not last too long as they parted ways soon after in 2008.
In 2009, he got married again to his fourth wife, Jacqueline Beems, commonly known as ‘’Jackie’’. This union was quickly on the rocks and the two lovebirds called it quits in 2012.
In 2016, Ric got engaged to his girlfriend Wendy Barlow and later on went to get married to in 2018. The two remain married to this date.
4. Loss and Heartbreak
March 29th, 2013 is a day that Ric would remember for the rest of his days as it is when he lost his beloved son, Reid Flair at the very tender age of 25. Reid, following in his father’s footsteps, was a very promising wrestler but his career would come to an abrupt end when he was found dead of a drug overdose of Heroin, and traces of Clonazepam and Alprazolam were also found in his system which all contributed to his death.
5. Ashley ”Charlotte” Flair
Ashley Flair, as most of you must have figured out by now, is a Ric Flair’s daughter and one that seems to be hell-bent on carrying on her father’s legacy. She is already a four-time Women’s Champion and will soon enough beat her father’s record of 16 World Championships if she keeps the momentum going. She already has 20+ WWE Pay-per-view wins under her belt so we can confidently say that she is doing quite well for herself thus far.
6. Backroom Feuds
Put a bunch of hot-headed wrestlers in a room together and you can be sure that a good number of them will rub each other the wrong way. And so it is not a surprise then that Ric Flair made himself quite a good number of enemies over the years.
His feud with Mick Foley is well-known to many wrestling fans with both men criticizing each other in their autobiographies and exchanging blows whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Flair and Hulk Hogan have also been at it on and off over the years and we cannot say that he was on the best of terms with Bret Hart, Bruno Sammartino and Shane Douglas either.
But, Ric Flair being the good guy that he is always found a way to bury the hatchet and become friends with most of these guys in the end with the exception of Shane Douglas with whom he has never gotten along well to this day.
7. Ric Was Not the First ‘Nature Boy’ Wrestler
The flashy, charismatic character that is ‘the Nature Boy’ was originally coined by Buddy Rogers. Like Ric, Rogers was a blonde man with an insatiable appetite for women and believe it or not, his signature move was the four-figure leg lock as well.
Rogers would, however, apparently give up on wrestling after losing the WWE Championship to Bruno Sammartino.
Ric Flair then adopted the name himself but would have to face off with Buddy Rogers to determine who would get to keep the moniker. Rick Flair eventually won this fight and went on to keep the name for himself for the next 40 odd years.
8. Biggest Wrestling Crowd of All Time
The International Sports Conference Cultural Festival for Peace also known as ‘Collision’ was headlined by Ric Flair and Antonio Inoki and drew an audience of 190,000 people. It was the largest live audience for a wrestling match ever at the time.
9. New Name for Ric Flair?
Jim Herd was head of the WCW in the 1990s and at some point felt that Rick had to have his image updated.
He wanted Ric to change his name to Spartacus and this character would carry a shield of sorts, have short hair and wear an earring too. Ric was having none of it so the whole idea never came to fruition.
10. Money Problems
With his lavish lifestyle, debts and lawsuits flying left, right and center, it is an open secret that Ric is facing some serious money problems at the moment.
The IRS has not made things any easier for him, demanding back taxes amounting to over $800,000 just recently sunk him deeper into debt. It is widely believed that in 2009, Ric was over $1.5 million dollars in debt.
Love him or hate him, Ric Flair still remains one of the biggest ever names in wrestling and surely will remain in the history books for years to come.