WWE wrestler Tyrus, whose real name is George Murdoch, looks like he’s strong enough to handle just about anything, but he shares with Yahoo Lifestyle that he had a “tough” childhood — one that included facing domestic violence and racism.
When Tyrus was born, his mother was only 15 years old, and his father was 19. He reveals that his mother was frequently physically abused by his father. “Anything out of her mouth, she got smacked,” he says.
But the abuse didn’t remain reserved for Tyrus’s mother. Tyrus says that his father backhanded him in the face, which led to permanent swelling in one eye. “That’s when she had had enough,” he says.
Tyrus’s grandfather allowed his mom, who was white, to move back home, but not Tyrus and his brother because their father was black. “Me and my brother, two biracial kids, couldn’t stay in the house,” he says. “We had to go.”
So Tyrus and his brother were sent to live with a foster family for several years. “When I first got to the foster family, I was obsessed with trying to change my skin color so I could go back home,” he says, tearing up. “If I could be white, I could go home.”
Tyrus and his brother eventually ended up living with their mother again, but then Tyrus left home at 15 years old. He didn’t go to prom since he couldn’t afford it. He didn’t take his SAT or ACT. Instead, Tyrus threw himself into football: “Sports was a way for me to escape. Football was something that instilled discipline in me. It was honest — you played good, you got rewarded. You did bad, they told you about it.”
He landed a football scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, but his football career was cut short after his appendix burst. “I ended up in surgery, and in that surgery they cut nerve endings going into my leg,” he says. “I have a permanent limp. I never got the movement back that is needed to play football at a high level.”
He adds: “I was basically a has-been, a never-was.”
However, that all changed when Tyrus, who was working as a bouncer at the time, was invited into the WWE world. “It was redemption,” he says. “It was a chance to be an athlete again.”
Tyrus wasn’t done evolving, though. The former wrestler is now going from sparring in the ring to sparring with guests as a co-host of the show Un-PC airing on Fox Nation — a new on-demand subscription-based streaming service that launches Nov. 27.
Despite all he’s been through, Tyrus says, “Sometimes you have to go through it to be better and stronger. I wouldn’t change anything about my life.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
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- 2 years after fleeing an attacker and suffering a fall that left her paralyzed, Hannah Gavios is doing the New York City Marathon on crutches
- What it’s like be ‘locked in’ your own body: Victoria Arlen on her miraculous journey from vegetative state to the Paralympics and ‘DWTS’