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Natalya is the guest star on the latest edition of Lilian Garcia’s “Making Their Way to the Ring” podcast. The SmackDown Superstar opened up about overcoming a previous eating disorder, being part of the famous Hart wrestling family and what she’s learned since being part of the Total Divas cast. Highlights of the interview below courtesy of Wrestling INC.

Her past eating disorder: “It’s funny because Alexa Bliss talked about having an eating disorder and stuff and I actually – this is the first time I’ve ever talked about this: Nattie exclusive, but I had an eating disorder when I was eighteen and um, it lasted for about, I mean they say it never really goes away, but um it spanned the course of about three years and I went from a hundred and sixty pounds, in the course of two months after my uncle Owen died – the summer that my uncle died, I lost forty pounds in two months. And my family was really scared and I remember being very angry at them and thinking like ‘Why are they confronting me? They should be happy, I look great’. I didn’t realize it until years later how crazy and scary I looked losing that much weight. I was wearing kids clothes and it was a really hard time for me, but I was reeling from the tragedy of my uncle passing away and how that affected my family and also I think because my dad wasn’t a part of my life because he was working, and busy, and gone. I don’t know if this is the right way of putting this, but my eating disorder was a lot about control. I couldn’t control anything else that was going on in my life, but I could control what I ate.”

How wrestling helped her recover: “It’s a little bit liberating and I actually talked to Alexa Bliss about it when she came forward and said she had gone through this I said ‘I just give you so much credit because it takes a lot of courage to talk about it’. You know, since that happened I just never ever shared that publicly with anyone. It was just something I just didn’t want to have to relive but then I also thought you know, again now that Alexa has talked about her situation it made me really respect her more. Because its like, no we can actually raise awareness and help teach young girls that going through something like this is very common – it’s actually becoming a lot more common with body image. It’s something lots of people go through, whether it’s bulimia, or anorexia, or binge-eating disorder. Me getting into wrestling helped cure that eating disorder and I never looked back. Once I fell in love with wrestling I just realized – especially with the help of TJ because TJ was my very first trainer, I wanted to do that and I wasn’t going to let food hold me back and so slowly I started to kind of reintroduce myself to food and I did put on some weight because once you go from starving yourself to eating you do gain weight. I’d gotten a little heavier, but I was happier and I was happier because I was pursuing a passion which was wrestling.”

On what she has learned through her time on Total Divas: “There was a time, especially in WWE where I felt like it was never going to be my time and before I got picked to do Total Divas I was actually going back to school on the side doing online classes. I was thinking about getting into law and it really interested me. Then you know I had gone to Rwanda and did this four day retreat with the United Nations Foundation, we visited two refugee camps, over thirty thousand refugees and it was this life-changing trip. So I got home and that week Triple H pulls me aside and says, ‘Nattie, we picked you to be a part of Total Divas and it’s this new show that we’re doing and it’s gonna document you and a few other girls and your lives and in and out of the ring and it’s very special, blah, blah, blah, blah’. I was so blown away by Triple H asking me to be a part of it and I was just like ‘Wow this is just incredible. I’m just getting this new opportunity and it was the greatest opportunity for me that I could have at that moment and I’ve been on the show since the very beginning. For four years, six full seasons, and it’s been the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve loved it, but it’s also taught me which is what I was saying before, what it is to be vulnerable. That what people really connect with is you laughing, crying, showing people that you’re not perfect, opening up and saying ‘You know what I’m human and I make mistakes. We fall down and we get back up’. I really opened myself up to being vulnerable on that show and I felt like when I went up to induct Beth at the Hall of Fame this past week, I was like, I felt like all that Total Divas vulnerability helped me on that stage where I could just be like totally vulnerable and I even at one point choked up and started crying onstage when I was talking about my uncle Owen and people just said that I had them in, people just said ‘You and Beth had me in tears’. I feel like people want to be let in you know, but not everyone will let you in, not everyone knows how to do that, but I feel like I learned that that’s okay.”

Her uncle Bret Hart going through cancer: “He’s completely healed from cancer, but you know cancer. I’ll forever, forever be indebted and grateful to Bret for coming to be by my side at that Pay Per View after WrestleMania, dealing with just having beaten cancer. He had just had surgery like a couple months prior, not even like two months like six weeks and he didn’t feel good at all. He was by my side for that match and he didn’t feel good because he was still recovering but he was there for me and I will always remember that and I think really last year he’s just been getting his sea legs back because it was a lot what he endured and it was very scary for him. And I can tell he was really scared by everything, mentally, physically, it scared him so much. You know cancer really doesn’t run in our family. Our family doesn’t really that much of a history with it and so Bret really wanted to use his situation with cancer as a platform to help others that are going through the same thing and so what’s funny is that once Bret announced that he had cancer there was a surge and they did a story on it actually in the paper and on the news. There was a surge, thousands of men across the province of Alberta, where Bret lives, went to get checked for prostate cancer. And they did a special on it on the news saying it was Bret Hart that helped raise so much awareness by coming forward about his cancer.”

Being a part of the Hart family: “I think as I’ve grown older I realized just how special my family is. When you’re young you kind of take it for granted and you don’t realize when your uncles are Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart and Owen Hart, the British Bulldog, my dad is on TV, and my grandfather you know, now a WWE Hall of Famer, Stu Hart. When I was around them when I was a little kid, they were just my uncles. They were just my dad, it’s just my grandpa. And then as I’ve grown older I’ve realized that my family is extremely special and really iconic in this wild wonderful world of WWE. Now I realize just how special they are and I’m very very proud of them. But I also admire the fact that we’ve been able to go through hell and come out alive.”

Watch Natalya’s full interview below:

What did you think about this edition of Lilian’s podcast? Which episode of Making Their Way to the Ring has been your favorite so far? Who would you like to see Lilian interview next? Let us know in the comments below.

  • John Finnie

    I used to think nattie got the crap end of the stick but sometimes in life you have to stop letting folks walk all over you & stand up & be seen & heard & for that reason’ I can see why shes never been given a good push she seems to be a boring individual
    Also well done on beating her disorder i don’t know what an eating disorder is like & so I don’t have a place to judge anyone’ but it seems as if she only had an issue with food not a disorder to the point she went for help like Alexa it’s almost as if she’s heard Mickie’ Alexa’Lita’ talk about very personal things & has convinced herself that an unhealthy food issue is a disorder when both are two different things
    As I said I’m glad she’s opened up

    • Miguel Orona Rodríguez

      John you have the power of internet to search information about eating disorder in your hand. One good website is http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com where you can look and see what it is, the different types & other information.
      She mentioned that it spanned for 3 years but didn’t really gave much details about it. Your opinion comes from a place of ignorance.

      • Mykiiey

        Natties eating disorder happened when Owen passed away! I think she said she was 18 at that time! It’s a shame. I’ve battled that problem a fee times in life myself

        • Aye Mate

          Eating disorders can originate from someone experiencing a shock which has been cataclysmic to their self-esteem. That’s what it sounds like for Nattie – less about aesthetic, and more about seizing control when she felt like it was all taken away from her.

          • Gloriambackman

            Managing director of Google!, is explaining to users to start off “Work at home” method, that People have been doing for about one year now. These days alone, I generated close to $36,000 until now with no more than my home computer as well as some spare time, despite that i have a fulltime 9 to 5 job. Even everyone not used to this, can make $89/per h easily and the earnings can go even higher over time… This is how i started
            ???? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs209SolutionStudio/GetPaid$97/Hour ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::!wr209u:………..

      • John Finnie

        It really doest go read my reply I concur that I maybe jaded because of lived with addiction for over 20 yrs & when your caught in the cross fire sometimes it’s hard to show compassion so I apologise for the insensitivity of it but I know a disorder is an addiction

    • Robann

      You really should do some research because your comment came off as ignorant and insensitive…you probably didn’t mean it like that. But you have the internet at your fingertips that can give you the information you really do need. Use it.

      • John Finnie

        Read my reply to others… iv live with addiction so I know more than most BUT I have also seen people coming around recovery meeting & then they find they were on the cusp of hell but got out… but thanks because there was no malice at all in fact I spend nearly every day applauding recovery…..maybe I’m jaded

      • John Finnie

        Really…. not everyone in life can see in black & white!!! Im not going over this again go read my other replys as I said to them i will know more about an addiction than you ever will & be grateful that you only see this thing from a fans perspective because if you’ve lived it you would know where I’m coming from… so please don’t

    • Nathan Bootleg Kardashian

      Please educate yourself and never comment again if you’re going to be so insensitive.

      • John Finnie

        Please don’t insult me iv seen addiction for over 23 yrs in family so please dont come at me… don t you dare I know more about this than you will unless you’ve lived it & if you have then you will know a disorder is an addiction I don’t know eating disorders but the recovery is all the same

    • Aye Mate

      If you don’t know what an eating disorder is like to deal with than you don’t know what it’s like to recover from it either, buddy. People heal and overcome things in many different ways. Also, I don’t think you intended any malice here, but your comment is overall a highly misinformed perception that you would do well to revise so as not to come off so noxiously.

      • John Finnie

        I do know what an addiction is & I know people that recovered from all sorts of addiction BUT what they all say is if you can get out before a year or two then you just say on the line of addiction without going fully over….. As I said I take my hat off to her
        Maybe I’m jaded because i have friends & family with different addictions

        • Aye Mate

          I don’t know you from a hole in the ground so I’m not going to judge you as a person, only what you present on here.

          I should say that I, personally speaking, am a bit unsure whether I’d compare an eating disorder to addiction but that’s pure semantics. Each person’s relationship with an addiction, illness or disorder is individual: their affliction, their recovery, and their whole perspective on it. It isn’t something which should ever warrant comparison, in my humble opinion. I understand it wasn’t what you intended but it initially seemed as though Nattie’s eating disorder, to you, was perhaps not as serious in comparison to what you’ve maybe dealt with or been around? It’s all good though, I understand where you’re coming from; I’ve lost friends and family to addiction so I can appreciate how sensitive a subject it can be during any given discussion!

          • John Finnie

            Thank you I wasn’t being rude as I said after years of seeing this kind of thing’ granted iv only had one dealings with someone who has an eating disorder & they said addiction & an eating disorder do come as one because they lie’ & can’t control what they are doing the family is all affected & they need help. I took the time to speak to someone & I apologised for making it sound worse than I intended
            Also life can mix up feelings from one day to the next
            Thanx for trying to see where I came from it is a tricky subject

      • John Finnie

        If you really care about this issue go read my new reply to this please

    • John Finnie

      Ok guys I’m back because I own my mistakes… thanks to the ones who knew what I said didn’t come from a place of malice.. so let me say a disorder is the same as an addiction & when you see friends/ family members/ partner die kill themselves because they can’t find or get the help they scream for who have been spending years upon years asking for help…. so when someone comes along and says they didn’t need help they did it themselves then it’s hard to believe they fully went into the abbiss because all the people iv meet say there comes a point when you can’t stop or control what your doing even when you think you are in control …. so for nattie to say she just decided then I just went on defensive mood.. so for that I apologise to anyone iv offended ( yeah not many of us on here do that) BUT do not come at me that I am ignorant because you don’t know me I have not had a platform to share my experiences so who’s ignorant here?? I try not to judge unless I have experienced that particular subject.. As I said I HAD no experience with eating disorder BUT I have now & he’s said if you sit on the sidelines and judge another opinion then Your are more ignorant than me
      I hope you all can see this from a point of view from someone who has been on the frontline of addiction for just over 20 yrs please don’t sit at home reading about this stuff then go off on someone who has lived a similar experience because those text books can’t tell you how half of this works ie addiction/eating disorders are now being seen as an illness but I could go on for ever about that.
      I hope you took the time to read this as I did yours

  • Miguel Orona Rodríguez

    I listened, I liked the fact that Natalya is so open. At this point I feel we know most of her because she’s very vocal about her feelings. It did took me by suprise she also struggled with eating disorder because I find her so strong and if anyone is there to lift other people and empower them is Nattie. I’m glad Alexa Bliss opened that door where women could feel less stressed speaking about it.

    I also appreciate Diva-Dirt’s making sure we don’t see more body-shaming comments because this is where it can take people and others loose their life. Tons of kids and people loose the focus of this website that is to appreciate and support women’s wrestling (wrestlers). The mainstream media is already hard on them, the wrestling bussiness is way too hard on them barely giving them opportunities if they don’t look a certain way or fit a specific mold.

  • Wicked Emma #WickedGirl

    I would never have thought that Nattie had an eating disorder.

  • Love her! She deserves better.

  • Glitter Bliss Banks

    Never knew that about her, Very brave! I think it’s great these women are coming about it about their experiences and things they have been through. For Nattie, it’s not just the Eating Disorder, it’s also about how she dealt with her Uncle’s death, Bret’s Cancer etc. It goes hand in hand with the Women’s Revolution and Women Empowerment…Many girls and women look up the these women, many girls who may be going through these things and hearing their idols come out and speak about it, may save a life. Seeing these Strong, Confident, Beautiful women talk about their dark times,I think it humanizes the Female Talent too, makes them more relatable. Well Done Nattie!

  • Booking 101

    Always been a fan of her work and I think if there was somebody who never got to reach the level that they deserved in wrestling, is Nattie. Just a really hard worker with a passion for this business that is second to none and has dedicated most of her life to help break stereotypes for women in wrestling.

    She also seems like a genuilly great human being and always acts like a class act. The world needs more people like her

  • Gabriella Panajotova

    That’s sad. But glad that wrestling showcased women like Torrie, Lexi and Nattie who show to girls and boys that may have similar struggles that this can be overcome.

    • Dorthaafay

      Managing director of Google!, is explaining to users to start off “Work at home” method, that People have been doing for about one year now. These days alone, I generated close to $36,000 until now with no more than my home computer as well as some spare time, despite that i have a fulltime 9 to 5 job. Even everyone not used to this, can make $89/per h easily and the earnings can go even higher over time… This is how i started
      ???? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs234SupportHome/GetPaid$97/Hour ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::!wr234u:…….

  • Andrew Soto

    Good for her. Sometimes I have a love/hate reaction to Natalya. Most of the time, I love her work as a wrestler, I respect her for her work ethic and recently she has been surprising me with her backstage segments. Sometimes, though, she gets on my nerves, especially while watching Total divas(yes, I know most of it is scripted). She name drops her family too much and can be overly emotional. This interview is a good one though, and I truly feel for her when she talks about the death of her uncle. I also know it takes courage to talk about any personal struggle, so I commend her for that. I’m glad she has been able to find happiness and success in her career.

  • Aye Mate

    I was somewhat moved by the circumstances relating to Nattie’s eating disorder as, unfortunately, I related entirely to it during my own early teenage years. An eating disorder is as much a psychological issue as it is a physical one, and rehabilitation for it can be a painfully long and arduous race. (I’m about five years in complete remission; retrospectively you don’t realise what the issue really was until you’re so far removed from being affected by it.)

    Suppose this makes Nattie’s reputation as a top-tier athlete all the more inspiring, then, and speaks louder volumes of her resilience. I was thinking about all the endurance her career has been founded on – what with unflattering gimmicks and having to watch others and often less talented women receive more better opportunities; couple that with what seems like a genuine dedication towards helping other women perfect their craft and get over, and Nattie’s probably one of the most gracious women in the business. I do think she’ll be a lifer for WWE, whether she’s in the spotlight or not.

    Lastly, Lilian Garcia has been doing a wonderful job making these interviews insightful.

  • Sable’s Bumps

    anymore articles like this and we’re all going to start having our periods at the same time, i cant take it.