WWE's Corey Graves and Carmella talk relationship, sex, new reality series

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Corey Graves and Carmella WWE

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Corey Graves and Carmella are reality show official.

The engaged WWE couple — stars of “Corey & Carmella,” a 10-episode series airing on YouTube — talked to The Post about a wide range of subjects including sex, relationships and pro wrestling.

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Carmella, who signed with WWE in 2013, is a former world champion in the company while her ex-wrestler fiance Graves — though, he’s been rumored to have been cleared to return to the ring — shifted to broadcasting and is currently the lead color commentator for “Monday Night Raw.” The two began dating in 2019 and announced their engagement last October.

In the relationship, Carmella, 34, has entered the role of stepmother to the 38-year-old Graves’ three kids from his previous marriage.

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“It’s such a learning process and I’m loving every minute of it,” Carmella said. “It’s never anything that I imagined for myself. I never pictured myself being a stepmom or marrying someone who has children, but this is the relationship I find myself in. I’m really embracing, owning and loving it. I’m learning. There’s no rulebook.”

Carmella said she talks to former “SmackDown” women’s champion Naomi, who had two kids prior to marrying WWE performer Jimmy Uso, when she needs some advice.

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Carmella and Queen Zelina, the current WWE women’s tag team champions.

WWE

“I’m just kind of rolling with it,” the “Raw” performer said. “I feel so lucky that I get to be a part of their lives. I said on our show that I’m not trying to be their mom or dad. They have great parents, and I’m just trying to be there for them any way they need me and be a great influence in their life.”

The relationship endured some challenges early on. News that Carmella and Graves were together first broke when Graves’ soon-to-be ex-wife Amy published an emotional allegation that he and Carmella were having an affair. The damning Instagram post was deleted, and wrestling insider Ryan Satin reported the then-married couple had been in the process of divorcing for six months.

Naturally, the way the news emerged was a considerable challenge for Carmella.

“The biggest thing that everyone knows about is how our relationship came to be and dealing with the backlash we got from that, knowing full well it wasn’t the truth,” she said.

It was unlike anything she says she’d ever dealt with.

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Carmella holding her WWE women’s tag team championship.

WWE

“I had to deal with such negative, hateful, terrible comments,” she told The Post. “Death threats. All of the things that we went through when we were first together, and just having to have blinders on and not deal with the hate and negativity — and just pushing forward. We’re still here. We’re still together, despite everyone trying to tell us we shouldn’t be. We’re still in love and we’re getting married soon.”

For his part, Graves laughed the incident off.

“I still don’t know that I was worth getting death threats over,” he said. “I’m not that big of a catch.”

On “Corey & Carmella,” the couple is candid about their intimate life. They discuss having oral and conventional sex in the shower, for example. They’re clearly very comfortable discussing personal subjects for public consumption.

“I’m an open book. I don’t have anything to hide,” Carmella said. “I’ve always been very open about sex and our intimacy. Why is it so taboo? It’s 2022, why can’t we talk about these things? That’s why we have our podcast, ‘Bare With Us.’ We’re trying to normalize talking about sex and making it OK. It doesn’t have to be raunchy or gross or be a certain way. This is my partner. He’s about to be my husband. Why can’t we talk about it?”


That goes for using their personal life to potentially help others.

“If someone has an issue in the bedroom and they’re emailing us and asking for advice, I’m not saying I’m qualified for it,” she says, “but I’m gonna give you my opinion on what the issue is and how you can spice things up. Or, how you can figure out what’s happening in your relationship that might need a little help.”

Graves agreed.

“We’re just normal human beings at the end of the day,” he said. “It’s just an aspect of our relationship that is a little different than most because we’re open and honest about it, but to her point, it’s 2022. Why are we still ashamed of this natural human activity? It’s part of life and relationships. It’s not all we want to talk about, but it’s part of being in a relationship.”

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Carmella and Zelina Vega

WWE

In the pilot episode of “Corey & Carmella,” they looked at an endless procession of houses until they could find one inside the city of Pittsburgh that had a yard and sufficient closet space. It wound up being a big ordeal, but they have since found their forever home.

“The process of shooting the show was extremely long,” Graves said. “It took almost two years. With the pandemic, and getting all the business models in place, it was a really long process.”

Carmella, for one, is all about long processes, namely achieving her biggest WWE goals and then some.

“For me personally it’s just about not having to fit in one box as a woman,” said Carmella, who is currently one half of the WWE women’s tag team champions with Queen Zelina. “Just because my character right now is the most beautiful woman in all of WWE, why does that have to be the only thing that I’m about? Why can’t I be beautiful and kick butt in the ring and have a reality show and a wine company and be sexy but also be a great role model? I want to break outside the box of just being one particular thing.”

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A post shared by Leah Van Dale (@carmellawwe)

Carmella said she was particularly proud of her first WWE feud with Nikki Bella in 2020, which felt significant even though it did not involve a championship belt, and did not get stale even though it took a bit of time to fully unfold. Another more recent on-screen feud also come to mind.

“I’m also really proud of my feud with Sasha Banks in the era of the Thunderdome,” she said. “We didn’t have fans, and it was kind of my character coming back and putting a fresh coat of paint on. It was intense. I smashed bottles over her back and we did things that women don’t really get to do. We main-evented ‘Smackdown’ a few times.”

Graves hopes to be included in WWE lore for posterity.

“I pretty much just want to be remembered, hopefully in a positive manner, for being in this business that’s given me such an amazing life,” Graves said. “All of my success as an adult I can chalk up to the sports entertainment industry — particularly WWE, but even before then. I’ve had so many amazing experiences and been able to travel the world. I’m not one of these guys who’s been looking to use this as a propeller to something else. If it happens, God willing, so be it. But I love the wrestling business. I’ve been a fan my entire life.”

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A post shared by Leah Van Dale (@carmellawwe)

A couple months ago, Graves got in a Twitter spat with a wrestling fan who took issue with the way that he described Carmella as beautiful, going to over-the-top lengths in doing so while on commentary Reflecting on this now, Graves drew the line between real life and storyline.

“I think people take a lot of what we do as entertainers far too seriously, and they try to create issues where there aren’t any,” Graves said. “We all — from Roman Reigns down to myself — are playing a role on TV. My role is Obnoxious Bad Guy Announcer. I have to wear many hats, but in the simplest terms I’m there to justify what the bad guy does.”

His shtick, of course, helps his future bride succeed as well.

“Oftentimes, it’s annoying by design. I do that on purpose so that people want to see the most beautiful woman in all of WWE — who is literally my future wife in the real world and my best friend — get beat up,” Graves said. “Her gimmick is literally that. Somehow, me drawing attention to that, and pouring on and playing into it, is offensive to some people, and that’s crazy to me. It’s like watching cartoons and being upset. There are a lot bigger issues in the world.”

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