The Tragic Side Of Dave Bautista's Real Life

While he's a budding Hollywood actor today, Dave Bautista is also known for his WWE career as Batista, where he was a multi-time champion. Before he became "Evolution's Animal," the 55-year-old went by a handful of other monikers, most notably Deacon Batista and Leviathan, before settling on just Batista and having his career rocketed into the main event by being added to the already star-studded stable, Evolution, which included Triple H, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton.


Bautista's career might have included many successful moments, especially considering that he's won both the WWE World and Heavyweight Championships a combined six times, but things were not always that way. "The Animal" faced difficult odds in his life from the get-go, especially within his family life. Growing up, he also turned to crime to get out of his circumstances, and despite becoming a father at a young age, he seemed directionless for years before one day realizing that pro wrestling could be a career worth pursuing. Even once he found success in the industry, Bautista still struggled to keep his life together — ironically due to his newfound life of luxury.

Ultimately, Bautista quietly retired in 2019 after clashing with Triple H one last time at WrestleMania 35. Alongside his many titles, the veteran also won the Royal Rumble on two separate occasions, leaving behind quite the legacy. After stepping away from the industry, Bautista tried his hand at many movie projects before hitting it big in 2014 with his role as Drax the Destroyer in Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" — a role he reprised four more times since. Despite this, he's still far more recognized for his wrestling career, and the paths he took to get there. With that in mind, let's take a look at his trials and tribulations.


Dave Bautista spent his youth as a petty criminal

Growing up was difficult for Dave Bautista, considering he was born into one of the poorest suburbs in Washington D.C., as he described in his book, "Batista Unleashed." As a child in the '70s and '80s, Bautista's life was affected by the crack cocaine epidemic and violence was a recurring theme early in his life. 


During an appearance on the "Anna Faris is Unqualified" podcast, Bautista commented on his childhood and expressed how the child life expectancy in his neighborhood was lower than it is in many third-world countries ravaged by war and famine. Homelessness and corruption were pressing matters in his neighborhood, and he grew up not being able to trust the police. Bautista even claimed that before he was nine, three different people were shot and died on his house's doorstep. Shockingly, recalling the story, he claimed that during one of these deaths, he, his sister, and the neighborhood friends continued to play outside as a man slowly bled out outside his house. His mother then moved, along with he and his sibling, to San Fransisco. Unfortunately, Bautista's life didn't lighten up following the move.


As a teenager, much like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's tragic experiences, Bautista threw his lot in with a petty criminal racket and spent his pre-teen years stealing and mugging to get by. Once he grew up and began bodybuilding, Bautista began to scare off people based solely on his size which he naturally used to begin moonlighting as a nightclub bouncer. This led to many violent moments, as he had to deal with unruly clientele. He ultimately faced assault charges on one occasion after taking things too far.

Dave Bautista's obsession with bodybuilding negatively impacted his relationship with his family

Besides pro wrestling and his growing acting career, Dave Bautista is known for his impressive physique. However, while a jacked physique might be most guys' dream goal, it became a serious problem for Bautista for years.


During an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Bautista looked back at his bodybuilding journey throughout his 20s, and described the period as "reverse anorexia." The star married young and became a father of two children. Unfortunately, even with his physique, he claims he had no concrete plan or ambition and got stuck in a loop; his work as a bouncer took all night, and when he wasn't working he was in the gym. When he eventually got home, he fell asleep.

Bautista claims that even when he weighed over 300 pounds and focused primarily on bodybuilding, he was never satisfied with his body. Unfortunately, a decade of living this way began to take its toll on his family, and his nightly career as a bouncer didn't help him much in the way of finances, so he still struggled to get by. By the time he turned 30, Bautista realized that he spent far too much time focusing on his body and settling for a life as a bouncer when he had to borrow money to buy Christmas gifts for his children. 


Luckily for the star, this period of desperation lit a fire underneath him and led to trying his hand at pro wrestling. "The next thing you know, 10 years goes by, and there I am trying to borrow money to buy my kids Christmas presents," he told the Tampa Bay Times, adding that he wasted his 20s.

Alleged infidelity and the WWE schedule led to two divorces

Pro wrestling has notoriously negatively ended many marriages and often ruined the relationships parents had with their children. This is often due to the many days wrestlers spend away from home. Hulk Hogan's marriages are a example of this trend. Sadly, this was also the case for Dave Bautista, who has gone through three divorces to date.


During an interview with Sport Bible, Bautista opened up about his romantic life and admitted that the toll of traveling with WWE hurt his relationship with his second wife and family. "A lot of lost time with family. Throughout my wrestling career I just... I was never home. I lost a marriage with someone who was a very, very close friend of mine. We still remain friends, but just never being home just tore our marriage apart," Bautista admitted. 

In a separate interview with, the former WWE Champion explained that he doesn't drink or do drugs, but admitted that he was addicted to women. "I would have 10, 20, or 30 throwing themselves at me. I wasn't equipped to handle it. So I took advantage," he said. 


Bautista was also linked to many WWE Divas with whom he reportedly had affairs. However, he admits that his actions hurt those around him. "I don't have a lot of regrets in my life and I haven't been an angel. But if I could change anything, it'd be the chapter with all the women. It hurt the people I love," he explained in the aforementioned interview with

Batista's relationship with WWE was tumultuous

Dave Bautista was arguably the face of WWE in 2007, after he turned on Triple H and became the promotion's biggest babyface. However, things weren't always good between the Superstar and the company. In fact, Dave Bautista parted ways with WWE on two occasions — first in 2010 and then again in 2014.


In an interview with "MLW Radio Writer's Room," Bautista revealed that his 2010 departure was due to WWE not giving him movie opportunities in the company's films. His conversations with the promotion quickly turned sour, when they denied him further opportunities to audition for movies outside of WWE's influence. In fact, he was allegedly told that he was WWE property and to "Get dressed for the house show and get to work." He handed in his notice and left a year later, without receiving farewells from most of the roster.

Despite this, Bautista returned to WWE in 2013, but creative differences ended his tenure. Bautista seemingly took fan rejection personally, which he noted in the aforementioned interview, and claimed that he has never been a fan of the PG Era. Furthermore, WWE turned down cross-promotion with his then-upcoming movie "Guardians of the Galaxy" and he's claimed the higher-ups practically laughed in his face about the suggestion.


Additionally, Bautista got into a backstage fight with Booker T in 2006.The two got heated while they were shooting an ad for SummerSlam, and some people believed that the fight was just a publicity stunt. However, reports claimed it was legitimate and that there had been bad blood between the two for quite some time. Interestingly, reports also noted that Bautista wasn't popular with the locker room, who praised Booker for standing up to him. Despite their past differences, Booker T claims that he'd hug Bautista if he saw him today.

Dave Bautista and other WWE stars were accused of doping

The world of pro wrestling has been marred by many controversies over the decades. Drug use and steroids ran rife through the industry, especially in the 1980s, but after the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, WWE tightened up its Wellness Policy and began cracking down on drug usage — recreational or otherwise.


Since then, many stars have been fired or suspended from WWE due to failing tests. According to ESPN, Bautista was suspended along with nine other Superstars when they failed the Wellness Policy. Furthermore, he faced legal action when all wrestlers named were linked to the Signature Pharmacy doping ring. However, Bautista publicly denied the allegations in a statement released on his then-website:

"To my fans and friends: I categorically deny a report on, and repeated by other media outlets, that I am or ever have been a customer of Signature Pharmacy of Orlando, an on-line pharmacy company that is a target of an investigation by the Albany, New York District Attorney's Office. I am being tested regularly by the WWE, and I am in full compliance with the WWE Wellness Program. I regret the inaccurate reporting, and I will do all I can in the future to stop any publication or anyone from making such false accusations" (per WrestleView).


Author Irv Muchnick publicly accused Bautista of using steroids in a blog post, claiming that the star suffered repetitive injuries often associated with steroid users. Dave Meltzer, however, offered a different conclusion and suggested it was largely due to his age. Muchnick then reached out to Meltzer and asked him to clarify his comments, which led to Meltzer suggesting that it was related to steroids.

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Dave Bautista's family life was marred by misery

Dave Bautista's childhood was traumatic due to the external circumstances he faced growing up in a crime-ridden and impoverished neighborhood. However, his family life wasn't without tragedy and difficulties either.


Bautista is proud of his Filipino-Greek heritage, which he got from his Greek-descent mother and Filipino-American father. Unfortunately, his parents didn't stay together for too long, and "The Animal" largely grew up without his father around. In his book, "Batista Unleased," the actor claimed that his dad never did anything for him but admitted that he wasn't prepared to be a father yet. He also revealed that his older brother died in a car accident.

Due to his father's absence, his mother, Donna Raye, raised him and his siblings alone. After her relationship with Bautista's father ended, Raye began seeing women and came out as a lesbian, which was controversial at the time considering she came from a conservative Greek-American family. In 2019, Bautista proudly championed his mother's cause during Pride Month. He said his mother taught him to never apologize for who he is and who he loves. He described himself as a strong man raised by a strong lesbian and that he in turn couldn't be more proud of her. "She is the reason I am who I am. Every decent part of me as a human being is directly because of my mother. I celebrate #lgbt Pride month with her and everyone else from the community that I was raised in."


Dave Bautista suffers from multiple social disorders

Dave Bautista has suffered through multiple internal battles. During an interview with on "Talk Is Jericho," he revealed that he is dyslexic. Naturally, breaking into acting brought many challenges because of this, especially during table reads. He claimed that he found these moments very difficult during the filming of "Avengers: Infinity War" but laughs about it today, explaining that this is why he often offers dyslexia advice to badly spelled insults directed at him on social media.


Additionally, he suffered from severe asthma when he was a child. According to the star, his condition once put him into the ER so often that social services did a welfare check on his family. He mostly recovered from the condition and his been able to work in physically demanding jobs for a living; however, he noted that he still requires medication to deal with the asthma and occasionally becomes out of breath.

Interestingly, despite competing in front of hundreds of thousands of WWE fans all around the world, Bautista suffers from social anxiety. In an interview with Men's Health, he revealed that the tinted sunglasses he's often seen with are one of the ways he copes with his nerves. While speaking to Lillian Garcia on her "Chasing Glory" podcast, Bautista said that he also has ADD, and recalled that he had an incident during "Guardians of the Galaxy" that forced co-star Zoe Saldana to come to his aid. 


Due to all of the aforementioned internal battles, Bautista never completed his formal education, which he's been public about regretting. In the aforementioned interview with Sport Bible, he revealed that one thing he wishes he could change about his life is his lack of formal education, but that he encourages his children to make sure they prioritize their own.