The on-screen relationship of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon developing into a real-life romance dominated the early 2000s dirt sheets. That is without anyone except those two really knowing when their real-life relationship began.
We do know that they first became a storyline couple at Armageddon in December 1999. They then formed the McMahon-Helmsley Faction during which life imitated art and they became a real-life couple. Bruce Prichard was along for the ride as a WWE writer during this time and he revealed when he noticed their romance was for real.
"Nobody knows the timeline except for Triple H and Stephanie," Prichard said on Something to Wrestle. "Nobody really knows the timeline. I can go back to New Year's 2000 where there was a big party at Vince's house where Stephanie was there with her boyfriend, a really nice guy and so forth. That went on through WrestleMania 2000 that year and then you really didn't hear too much about her boyfriend at that time, so let's fast forward to January of 2001.
"Gerald Brisco and I had this thing where we would sit back and we would watch people, I am a people watcher and I like to kind of observe things. We would see two people hanging around and catch them on the road sometimes and think, oh boy, that is going to turn into a couple right there. We had a term for it, which was Vince McMahon's term. Vince would say that 'he had worked himself into a shoot,' so we used the same term here.
"We are watching everything go on in rehearsals and they had to kiss on-screen and had to be husband and wife on-screen and it's like, man, if he isn't careful he is going to work himself into a shoot here. That was probably January 2001 when I first noticed it. I knew it during the first XFL game [Feb. 2001] that I knew they were together because it was something Stephanie said to me about something I said to Triple H and it was just how she said it to me. So, I knew, okay, they are together because she wouldn't defend it like that if - it was just intuition the best way I can describe it."
The McMahon-Helmsley Faction would dissolve in 2002 but Stephanie and Triple H's real-life relationship would continue. The couple became engaged on Valentine's Day 2003 and married eight months later. A week before their wedding, Stephanie lost an "I Quit" match to Vince McMahon in order to write her off television in lieu of the wedding.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.