Fans who know Jeanie “Lady Blossom” Clarke from her wrestling appearances may only remember her feud with “Gentleman” Chris Adams or her on-screen pairing in WCW with the man who would ultimately go on to legendary status as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Or they may simply only remember how beautiful the woman was on the outside — indeed, even her character name was a reference to the way her breasts poured out of her dress. But what they didn’t know was the person inside — the person that was in a painful fight against drug addiction for much of her life, and the person who ultimately fought her way back to sobriety.
Now, two years after completing rehab, Clarke has written her autobiography Through the Shattered Glass, opening up about her life so that people can finally see how that person has transformed — blossomed, if you will — into someone that is finally happy.
“I made a lot of mistakes… I messed up,” she told SLAM! Wrestling in an exclusive telephone interview from her home in England. “(Addiction) starts really slowly. You start with, ‘I’m really tired, and we have to get up early and go on the road, and be at the gym, and return the rental car, and I just need something to take so I can be all right on the plane for a few hours.’ And then before you know it, it progresses, and you’re at the point where your tolerance is grown. Then, it becomes a bit of a habit, and you’re dependent on it, and then you’re really in trouble.”
As she documents in the book, Clarke’s addiction spiraled out of control at a time when she should have been at the top of the world, the period when her then-husband Austin was the most successful wrestler on the planet. Unfortunately, her problems contributed to the increasing tension between them and ultimately to the demise of the marriage.
But her addiction grew even worse after her divorce, with Clarke’s three daughters even distancing themselves from her. With her family crumbling, Clarke finally realized that she needed help and sought help in the form of rehab. It was there that the idea of her autobiography took root.
“The process of healing from addiction isn’t just the detoxing,” she explained. “A lot of (it is learning to understand) how you feel and what triggers you to want to take something to change the way you feel. So what they ask you to do is write down a lot of your feelings — for example, if you resent somebody, you write down what’s causing you to feel that way.”
“After coming home, I carried on with the writing process, because I found that it really helped. And as I was writing, I noticed that I was keeping a really large journal of all my feelings, and I thought that I’d go ahead and write a book.”
She discussed the idea with a couple of writers, Neill Cameron and Bradley Craig, who helped her turn her notes into the eventual book.
“It took about seven months from the initial stage to getting to the final product,” Craig told SLAM! Wrestling. “Jeanie and I had a lengthy back-and-forth exercise to get to the point where it was truly her voice that was talking in the book. It was important that the voice of the book was as authentic as it could possibly be. So I’d write certain chapters, and we’d go back-and-forth until she was comfortable that it was in her voice.”
That the book remained an honest account of her story — both good and bad — was critical to Clarke.
“There’s not one word in the book that isn’t untrue, even if it’s something that I’m (not proud of),” she insisted. “And I think people see that — the response that most people have had is that they appreciate that I’m honest.”
And while the book doesn’t always paint the most flattering picture of Austin, Clarke is confident that he’ll have that same appreciation.
“I spoke with Steve for about an hour a few weeks ago — we’re very amicable at the moment — and he’s told me that he’s ordered the book, and he said it would be an interesting read for him. He knows that the book is a real shoot. It’s from the heart, and that includes talking about how he and I made so many mistakes.”
The biggest mistake, and regret of Clarke’s life, is the repercussions that their marital breakdown had on their daughters — Jade (Clarke’s daughter with Chris Adams whom Austin adopted), Cassidy, and Stephanie. Unfortunately, the three of them have not had any contact with Austin since he and Clarke’s split.
“If we can repair the damage caused on them, then even if not one person buys the book, it still would have been completely worth it,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion. “The motivation behind the book was to make amends with my children, to let them know I’m sorry. Stephanie and Cassidy, I asked them if they wanted to be part of it, and they each wrote a letter which I included in the book.”
“Unfortunately, Jade hasn’t spoken to me in 10 years. I get it, but it really hurts that in cutting me out of her life, she’s also cut out her sisters. They’re the real victims in all of this, because not only have they lost their dad, but their sister as well. It’s very sad.”
Another of Clarke’s motivations in sharing her story is to help others who may be facing a similar situation in their own life.”I’m finally drug free… I’m a survivor,” she said. “I’d like to reach out to other people and let them know it can be done. I do a lot of public appearances on the horrors of drug addiction, and let them know they can find peace in their life.”
“There’s a saying in rehab that the good thing about getting off of drugs is that you get your feelings back — and the bad thing about getting off of drugs is that you get your feelings back. Instead of living this life where you’re not feeling anything, you feel the pain of the mistakes you’ve made. But through it all, I’m glad I have those feelings back. Because I like myself now… and I feel quite happy.”