“Macho Man” Randy Savage, who passed away on May 20, 2011, was married twice: to Elizabeth Ann Hulette, who famously became his manager in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) under the name Miss Elizabeth, and Barbara Lynn Payne, his longtime girlfriend.
Although Savage’s on-screen relationship with Elizabeth in the World Wrestling Federation culminated with the couple getting married in a special ceremony at the 1991 SummerSlam dubbed The Match Made in Heaven, in reality, the two had been married for several years by that time. On December 30, 1984, Savage — real name Randy Mario Poffo — married Hulette.
Their on-screen marriage would be short-lived as the couple divorced sometime in 1992, shortly after Hulette’s final appearance for the World Wrestling Federation on April 19, 1992, at a live event in Sheffield, England. After their divorce was finalized in the summer, Savage issued a statement that was printed in an issue of WWF Magazine revealing that he and Elizabeth were no longer married. He noted that “the divorce is nobody’s fault” and thanked fans for their support over the years. The publication of Savage’s statement marked, at the time, a rare acknowledgement of the private lives of the talent of the World Wrestling Federation.
Savage continued to appear for the World Wrestling Federation through 1994 and, with the exception of his statement in WWF Magazine, his divorce from Elizabeth was not otherwise acknowledged by the organization nor its performers. In January 1996, Elizabeth resurfaced in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to become Savage’s manager once more, where they maintained a professional relationship.
Savage re-married on May 10th, 2010, to Barbara Lynn Payne. While playing minor league baseball for the Tampa Tarpons in 1974, Savage met his future wife while walking on Lido Beach in Sarasota, Florida. They dated for a few years before heading in directions.
“She never knew him as the Macho Man,” said Lanny Poffo, his brother, to Bleacher Report in a 2013 interview. “She never knew him as a wrestler. She only knew him as a failed baseball player.”
The two had lost touch, and got back together nearly 35 years after breaking up. They were married on the beach where they first met, many years prior.
“36 years ago, Lynn and I met on Lido Beach,” Savage said during the ceremony. “I feel so fortunate that I had a second chance to marry my first love, here where it all began.”
10 days after celebrating their one-year anniversary, Savage suffered a heart attack while driving in Seminole, Florida, a town on the Pinellas County side of the Tampa Bay area. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, he was driving with his wife, a 2009 Jeep Wrangler west on State Route 694 at 9:25 a.m. After having the medical event, Savage lost control of the Jeep. The vehicle traveled over the raised concrete median divider, crossed over the eastbound lanes, over the outside curb, and collided head-on with a tree.
The Seminole Fire Department responded to the scene and provided medical care before Savage was transported to the Largo Medical Center, where he passed away. Payne was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with minor injuries and released that afternoon.
Initial reports of Savage’s death indicated that he had been killed in the collision, when in fact he and his wife had been wearing seat belts and suffered only minor physical injuries in the crash. An autopsy performed by the Pinellas County Forensic Science Center found that Savage had an enlarged heart and advanced coronary artery disease. There were drugs found in his system; a prescription painkiller and small traces of alcohol. Savage, who was 58 years old, had never been treated for heart problems and there was no evidence that he was aware of his heart condition. His cause of death was officially ruled as “atherosclerotic heart disease.”
In 2021, A&E teamed up with WWE to release a documentary on Savage under the award-winning Biography banner. His marriage to Savage was addressed in the episode, but the story presented was not completely true, according to Lanny Poffo.
“In the A&E episode, everybody said Randy married his high school sweetheart, Lynn. This was false. Randy couldn’t have graduated high school in Downers Grove, Illinois, and have a sweetheart from a suburb of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Even the Macho Man can’t pull that off,” Poffo wrote in an article for Pro Wrestling Stories addressing the episode.
“The truth is after Lynn graduated from her high school in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, she went to Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida,” Poffo continued. “At the time, Randy was in Sarasota playing baseball in the rookie league of the St. Louis Cardinals organization while Lynn was out there studying to become an artist. This was when the two of them met.”
Payne did not appear in the episode and has remained silent on her relationship with Savage. Lanny Poffo passed away on February 2, 2023.