Beauty, brains, a good heart and a tremendous work ethic. To fans of the World Wrestling Federation, Debra embodies all that is good in this world, and until a few months ago, her life read like a fairy tale. Then, her husband Stone Cold Steve Austin—the toughest S.O.B. to ever lace up a pair of boots—aligned himself with Mr. McMahon and Triple H. And suddenly, Debra's personal and professional lives were thrown into turmoil.
Like the shrewd businesswoman she is, though, Debra has handled this new adversity with the dignity and grace that Federation fans have come to expect from her. Still, one can't help but wonder if beneath her stoic appearance, there lurks a hurt or conflicted woman.
So how does she feel about her husband's actions? Did she see this coming? How is she coping with the tremendous pressure that she is under? We'll let Debra answer these and many more questions in her own words. We're sure you'll come away from this interview just as impressed with her as we were.
WWF MAGAZINE: When did you first start noticing a change in Stone Cold, and did his actions at WrestleMania X-Seven surprise you?
DEBRA: A few weeks before WrestleMania, I noticed some changes in his behaviour. He was a bit short-tempered and more on edge. When Vince McMahon told me I had to manage The Rock, Steve really didn't take too kindly to that. After that, he really became quick to anger.
WWF MAGAZINE: Did Steve ever say anything to you about managing someone he would be fighting?
DEBRA: Well, to be honest, neither of us was happy with the situation, but Mr. McMahon is a very powerful man, and he gave me no choice in managing The Rock. Vince tricked me, and Steve wasn't happy with the situation.
WWF MAGAZINE: Were you surprised with what transpired at WrestleMania?
DEBRA: Let's just say that I was used to the old Stone Cold. For him to team up with the McMahons and Triple H was definitely shocking. Even though I saw some changes in him in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, I certainly didn't expect to see him with Triple H and Vince.
WWF MAGAZINE: Was Steve's victory at WrestleMania bittersweet?
DEBRA: I was happy he won, but I was disappointed in how he did it, and who he aligned himself with.
WWF MAGAZINE: Do you blame Mr. McMahon, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley for your husband's recent behavior?
DEBRA: Definitely. I blame them to some degree, but Steve isn't without fault either.
WWF MAGAZINE: How difficult has it been for you since he aligned himself with the McMahons?
DEBRA: I'm not very pleased by the situation. I try to be fair and really work hard to do everything I can to please WWF fans. So to see him do the things he's done to people like Lita and J.R., and knowing that Triple H, Vince and Stephanie are with him, doesn't make things easy. It's pretty difficult.
WWF MAGAZINE: What's your relationship with Stephanie?
DEBRA: I'm respectful to her, because she's one of my bosses. I'd say that we have a business relationship. Strictly business.
WWF MAGAZINE: Are there others in the Federation you feel you can trust and confide in?
DEBRA: I'm pretty much working this out on my own. Everybody knows the saying, 'Don't trust anyone', and Steve's not the only one who lives by that credo. When you're married to Stone Cold, you learn a lot. I've learned why you don't trust people, how you succeed and become number one. So, I'm going to work this out on my own.
WWF MAGAZINE: Do you ever see yourself stepping into the ring to settle things with the McMahons or whoever you might have to?
DEBRA: If need be. I never back down, and I'm willing to stand up and fight for what I believe in. I have the confidence, and if the need arises, I will definitely step up to the challenge.
WWF MAGAZINE: Are you determined to bring Steve back to his old self?
DEBRA: That's a tough question because as everybody knows, no one can control Stone Cold Steve Austin. I hope that he will eventually see that this is not the right thing to do. But then again, no one controls him and he's going to make his own decisions.
WWF MAGAZINE: What's your relationship with Jim "J.R." Ross like?
DEBRA: I have a lot of respect for J.R., but I'm in a tough situation. He's been a little standoffish towards me, but that's understandable with all that's transpired.
WWF MAGAZINE: Would you ever consider managing others?
DEBRA: I like to associate myself with the best, and there is no one better than Steve. Would it be worth my while to manage someone else? You never know. At this point in time, it's certainly not on my priority list, but one thing I've learned is that in the World Wrestling Federation, you never know what's going to happen. I've been forced to manage others in the past, so I won't say I'd never do it. But like I said, Steve is the best, and in a perfect world, I'd only associate myself with him.
WWF MAGAZINE: What was it like working for Mick Foley as Lieutenant Commissioner, and would you like to go back to an administrative role?
DEBRA: It was really fun working with him because he is so talented, but I would like to have had a little more power.
WWF MAGAZINE: Could you see yourself as Commissioner one day?
DEBRA: Definitely. I'm all about power, and I'd love to be Commissioner.
WWF MAGAZINE: Would we see a different WWF than the one we are seeing under the current regime?
DEBRA: Absolutely. I'm all for the fans and would work hard for them. I'd definitely be a lot more fair than the current Commissioner.
WWF MAGAZINE: If you could change one thing in the past few months, what would it be?
DEBRA: Remember a few months back when I slapped Mr. McMahon? Well if I could change one thing, it would be that I would have slapped him harder. I don't appreciate his influence on Steve, andI don't think the fans do either.
WWF MAGAZINE: If you weren't in the World Wrestling Federation, what would you be doing?
DEBRA: I could see myself as CEO of a public relations firm.
WWF MAGAZINE: What does Debra do in her free time?
DEBRA: I really don't have too much free time. The WWF pretty much consumes all my time, but that's fine with me. In order to be the best you have to be totally dedicated, and I'm dedicating my time to the Federation.