Meredith Ann Whitney, a stock analyst, and John Charles Layfield, a professional wrestler, were married last evening at the Wyndham Casa Marina in Key West, Fla. The Rev. Lavelle Layfield, a minister of the Church of Christ and the father of the bridegroom, officiated.
The bride, 35, will continue to use her name professionally. She is an executive director of CIBC World Markets, part of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada, and works in New York, where she analyzes the stocks of financial institutions. She appears regularly on "Cavuto on Business," a Fox News program. She graduated with honors from Brown.
She is a daughter of Barbara Gentry of Key West and Richard P. Whitney of Annapolis, Md., and a stepdaughter of Chisholm Gentry. The bride's mother retired as an executive recruiter in Washington. Her stepfather, also retired, was a freelance writer.
The bridegroom, 38, is the World Wrestling Entertainment champion, competing under the stage name John Bradshaw Layfield. He is also known as JBL, a character patterned after the wealthy oilman J. R. Ewing on the television show "Dallas."
He is also the host of "The John Bradshaw Layfield Show," a syndicated radio show that covers current events. The bridegroom's previous marriage ended in divorce.
The bridegroom's father and mother, Mary Layfield, live in Athens, Tex. His father, who retired as the chief executive of the National Bank of Athens, is the pastor of the Church of Christ in Malakoff, Tex.
The bride and bridegroom met in 2003 when they were panelists on "Bulls & Bears," a Fox News program, and were seated next to each other at dinner afterward. Mr. Layfield had just published "Have More Money Now: A Common Sense Approach to Financial Management" (Simon & Schuster).
"At that point, I was an extremely independent woman who had supported myself for a very long time," Ms. Whitney said. "I traveled a lot, but it's so hard to meet people."
Just days before she had been in a Manhattan taxi, chatting with the driver about relationships. "He said to me, 'If you really want to meet the right person, you've got to identify all the characteristics you want in a man,' " she recalled.
Ms. Whitney took the cabby's tip and immediately drafted a list of qualities her ideal mate would possess: strong character, kindness, intellectual curiosity, family orientation, friendliness, generosity, good looks and enthusiasm for travel, food and music.
"When I met John, I checked off every item," she recalled.
Mr. Layfield's reaction was just as strong. "Everything about her was perfect," he said.
A week after their initial meeting, the couple went out. They enjoyed talking so much they lingered over dinner for hours. "After that I called her about 25 times a day," Mr. Layfield said. "Meredith came along at a time in my life when I really needed somebody badly," he added. "She took a country boy like me and kind of refined me. I know what fork to use now at the dinner table, and I drink my beer from a glass."
That refinement process, Mr. Layfield recalled, was set in motion on their first date, when he asked Ms. Whitney if it would be acceptable to wear jeans and a sleeveless shirt to the restaurant.
" 'You're joking, right?' " he said she asked. "Thank goodness I found a shirt with a collar and sleeves."
(edited by NickBockwinkelFan on 14.2.05 0037) "Well, you can't involve friendship with business. It has to be one or the other. It's either business or friendship, or hit the bricks!" --Life Lessons from "The Tao of Bobby the Brain Heenan" Uncensored 2000 preview
"As long as the check don't bounce, I guess he's okay with it!" --Former All Pro Giants LB Harry Carson on Bill Parcells joining the hated rival Dallas Cowboys
I'm guessing this likely has more than a little to do with Bradshaw's gimmick change to JBL -- she turned him from a blue jean / cutoff shirt wearing redneck into a refined, upper crust businessman, and lo and behold, that's what happened on TV.
Maybe the sudden change in gimmicks shouldn't be so hard to stomache -- I mean, some guys have been known to change their nasty habits overnight for a woman.
Let's just hope she doesn't show up as a member of his "Cabinet".