The Untold Truth Of Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin

Fans of vintage MTV may remember Mike Mizanin from "The Real World" in the early aughts. But this was a small splash in the waves Mizanin would make later in his career in entertainment. Best known as professional wrestler "The Miz," he went on to dominate his opponents in the ring. The Miz won his first WWE Championship in 2010 and his second in 2021, according to WWE. Along the way, his confidence only increased as he became, in his words, "the most must-see WWE Superstar of all-time." It also helped to have his catchphrase, "Because I'm The Miz ... and I'm awesome." In his personal life, Mizanin became the co-star of the reality show "Miz and Mrs." alongside his wife and kids. He also became the host of the game show "Cannonball" and joined season 30 of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2021, Yahoo! reported.

Outside of television reality, Mizanin's life has been full of knockdowns. From the tragedy of losing a close friend to health struggles, the wrestler had to work his way up from once hitting rock bottom. The Miz certainly isn't the biggest wrestler in terms of size or even net worth but there is no denying his enormous personality.

Step into the ring for the untold truth of Mike "The Miz" Mizanin.

The Miz was once the littlest wrestler

Mike Mizanin is a true Midwesterner, born in 1980 in Ohio. According to Yahoo!, his "parents divorced when he was young and he has two half-siblings." One of Mizanin's fondest memories as a boy was his passion for professional wrestling. In an interview for Sports Illustrated, Mizanin explained about being a fan of the WWE, "There was nothing else like that. I wore the face paint. I wore the streamers. I loved everything about it." Mizanin told Access, "I always wanted to be a WWE Superstar ever since I was a kid." He had dreams of following in the footsteps of his favorite wrestler at the time, the Ultimate Warrior. Mizanin remembered dressing up like his idol and screaming, "Load the spaceship with the rocket fuel mom," imitating the WWE wrestler's catchphrase.

Mizanin's dad George was also a big fan of professional wrestling, per Cleveland 19 News. Around the age of 10, the Miz recalled that his dad attended the WrestleMania V spectacle in 1989. George returned from the event in Atlantic City and gave a young Mizanin the program. Even better, every page showing the WWE superstars like Hulk Hogan, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and The Honky Tonk Man were autographed. The Miz adored the gift and kept the program stashed away for safekeeping. Years later when he opened the program back up, Mizanin realized every signature was eerily similar. The wrestler confronted his dad who admitted to forging all the autographs.

The Miz talks about his Midwestern upbringing

Back when The Miz was just Mike Mizanin, a normal high school boy, he was almost the opposite of his future wrestling character. While attending Normandy High School in Parma, Ohio, he remembered being good at sports but not an elite athlete. As a member of the school's cross country team, Mizanin weighed in at a slim 170 pounds. "I was small," he admitted to Cleveland 19 News about his time as a teenager. Outside of school, he worked at his dad's Mr. Hero sandwich shop in Cleveland. Mizanin also remembered working as a stock boy at the local JCPenney. One year, he was even a greeter at apparel brand Abercrombie & Fitch — though he confessed he never had to go shirtless for the job. Mizanin was a smart student too and graduated from high school with honors.

For higher education, Mizanin stayed in state and attended the Miami University of Ohio. As a student, he "studied business, joined the Theta Chi fraternity, went to class, partied, the usual," according to Bleacher Report.

The Miz's meltdown

After his appearance on "The Real World," Mike Mizanin stayed in the MTV family and started participating in the network's reality competition series. His time on "The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons" helped keep Mizanin relevant in the world of entertainment and provided some income. For example, he and his teammates won $300,000 on the show partly because "Mike turned out to be the hero in the last competition because of his supreme puzzle skills," MTV recapped. But his appearance in the series also "left him pegged as a bit of a bonehead," according to The Ringer. With the cameras still rolling, MTV captured Mizanin's meltdown during the 2002 season. "I was losing a lot and I didn't know how to take it, so I drank a lot, listened to Slipknot, and just started hitting my head on things, talking to myself as the Miz," he remembered of his low point.

As reported by Yahoo!, Mizanin was "not just broke, but in debt after maxing out his credit cards while on 'The Real World.'" In a risky move, he packed up his things to move from Ohio to Hollywood for a chance to make it big in entertainment. Mizanin told Cleveland 19 News that he spent his last $2,500 on attending the UPW wrestling school in Los Angeles.

The Miz lost a close friend

In Mike Mizanin's early wrestling days, he was set to participate in a major event that could further boost his career. He was paired with wrestler Matt Cappotelli to compete "as the tag team 'Reality Check'" in the 2005 WWE Smackdown, Mizanin posted on Instagram. Both men were starting to become popular in the WWE thanks to the "Tough Enough" series, which highlighted "new WWE talent," per Bleacher Report. But sadly, Mizanin's partner "called me and said that he had just been diagnosed w/ brain cancer. On the phone, even with this scary news he remained positive and was gonna fight to beat cancer," he explained via Instagram.

In an interview for the Daily Record, Mizanin elaborated on the shocking news. The two were set to do a promo together when Mizanin received word that Cappotelli "got knocked out and not only that but he might have something wrong with his brain." Mizanin remained hopeful for Cappotelli to recover and had only positive things to say about the wrestler. "He's that strong individual that will fight and basically come back and be the biggest star," Mizanin said. The two stayed in contact and Mizanin explained in his Instagram post, "Every time I saw him he was positive and always had a smile on his face." Tragically, Cappotelli died in 2018. "Today, we lost a good one. A true fighter," Mizanin said in the caption — and "Matt, you will be missed my friend."

The relationship between The Miz and The Rock

Growing up as a fan of professional wrestling, Mike Mizanin remembered watching one of the biggest WWE stars to ever enter the ring. In an interview for Cleveland News 19, Mizanin recalled being in awe of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the '90s."He was electrifying, he was entertaining, whenever he was on the microphone or in the ring you always wanted to see what he was gonna do next," Mizanin said about the future movie star.

Once Mizanin turned into The Miz, he had a chance to perform in the same ring as one of his childhood idols. In a WWE Raw event, The Miz started beating up The Rock. But The Miz wasn't in control for long, as The Rock flipped him over the ropes and performed his famous "People's Elbow" move.

Actually, their real life relationship couldn't be further from the animosity displayed between their WWE characters. Mizanin told Cleveland News 19 that when he was set to star in his first film "The Marine 3," he reached out to Johnson for advice via text message. Expecting that Johnson might simply text him some words of wisdom, Mizanin was surprised to see his phone ring. "He called me literally two seconds later and he talked to me for an hour about what I need to do, what I need to focus on." Mizanin said the best advice he learned from Johnson was to "be natural" in front of the cameras.

Inside The Miz's early wrestling days

In an interview for Yahoo!, Mike Mizanin recalled his early days as a hopeful to become a professional wrestler. Mizanin remembered the Phoenix venue IZW "would hire me literally every month." As an amateur wrestler, "I would go there and wrestle in front of 50 people, sometimes 20 people, sometimes 10 people." Since he was still associated with MTV, Mizanin would then follow up his wrestling matches with TV appearances like on "MTV's Spring Break." He joined California's Ultimate Pro Wrestling league and balanced his duties with MTV for three years before his big break. The Miz came in second place at WWE's "Tough Enough" event, which earned him a contract with the professional wrestling group.

After landing a place in WWE, Mizanin still had to earn his place among the many other wrestlers. He told Vulture, "When I first came to WWE, I was told I was going to be the host of Friday Night SmackDown." Though initially disappointed for just a hosting gig, he realized with the mic in his hand, "I can make an audience boo me or cheer me.' That's how I proved myself [as a WWE star]."

Mizanin also credits a WWE legend for helping turn The Miz from an average wrestler to one the biggest names in the sport. "When I started working with John Cena in live events, that's when I learned what it takes to be a main-event caliber superstar," Mizanin told Yahoo!.

The Miz went for his dream

After appearing on "The Real World," Mike Mizanin moved from New York City back to Cleveland. In Ohio, Mizanin recalled to Vulture, "My dad was like, 'You should stay in Cleveland and be the big name out here.'" But instead of just being an ex-reality show contestant, Mizanin had bigger dreams. "I was like, 'But no, Dad, I wanna be a WWE superstar.'" Admittedly, Mizanin said his dad was surprised by the decision. He hopped online to find a path towards a career in professional wrestling. He remembered looking at "wrestling schools all over America, and I wanted to find one that was in Los Angeles, 'cause I wanted to not only prepare myself for WWE, but I wanted to take acting classes, improv classes — get all the tools I would need to become a WWE superstar."

Mizanin also recognized his appearance on "The Real World" and future reality shows would help grow his fan base. He remembered calling agents every day to land motivational speaking engagements for alums of "The Real World." According to Mizanin, he also stood out from his peers for wanting more than just fame from his time on MTV. "I wanted to be known for a talent. I wanted respect," he said. To chase that dream, "I moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles in a matter of a month." After four years of training to be a wrestler, Mizanin made his WWE debut as The Miz in 2006.

The Miz was really beaten up

Skeptics will say that professional wrestling is completely faked and could hardly be considered a sport. But Michael Mizanin proved that even his larger-than-life character The Miz couldn't avoid the real risk that comes along with body slams and flips in the ring. In 2021, the wrestler tore his ACL in one knee. "We always tell children not to try what we do at home because it's a very dangerous sport," Mizanin told Sports Illustrated. Up until 2021, he had a clean record and had never seriously hurt himself while performing. The tear in his knee was a major setback and put The Miz indefinitely out of the ring. "I'm just working on physical therapy, getting everything back to 100% so I can give the audience exactly what they want," he vowed.

Back in 2016, The Miz found himself in a doctor's office thanks to fellow professional wrestler AJ Styles. While the two men were brawling, AJ Styles busted Mizanin's veneers. Backstage at the WWE Smackdown Fallout event, a furious Mizanin showed his broken teeth and claimed each one cost $10,000 dollars. One day later, WWE posted a video of Mizanin at a dentist getting his teeth repaired.

The origin story of The Miz

In his season of "The Real World," Mike Mizanin laid the foundation for the rest of his career in show business. In front of the other strangers in the house, Mizanin occasionally walked around as his alter ego. "The Miz is a character I created. He's a wrestling star and he's ready for the big leagues," Mizanin explained in a confessional. The character seriously confused several of his roommates, who thought Mizanin might be going a little crazy. After picking up a wrestling belt from a costume store, Mizanin's alter ego became even more common.

Looking back on the scenario, the future wrestler admitted The Miz was a form of coping with the uncomfortable situation. "Usually being me was OK. In high school and college I had no problem meeting people and being around them, but all of a sudden, I'm living with seven people who don't gravitate towards me," he told Yahoo! about his time on the series. Mizanin said his house mates didn't like him for "saying things that are rubbing people the wrong way. That's why The Miz was created." With his new self, Mizanin appeared to be having more fun, which helped him grow closer with the rest of the cast. He remembered, "people started liking The Miz more than they liked Mike. I started doing The Miz all the time, because they liked it more."

Mike Mizanin talks about his Real World experience

While attending college, Mike Mizanin remembered once "sitting on my couch on a Saturday watching reruns of 'The Real World.' And it said, 'Do you want to be on 'The Real World?' Go to and you can try out there," Mizanin recounted in an interview for Bleacher Report. He wanted to be a member of the popular reality series and sent the network his audition tape. "After producers reviewed the VHS of his audition and interviewed him, Mizanin found himself in a house full of strangers in Greenwich Village, New York," to film the next season. As a 20-year-old, Mizanin joined the cast of season 10 "The Real World: Back to New York," which first aired in May of 2001, according to IMDb.

Moving from Ohio to New York City was culture shock enough for Mizanin, who also "struggled initially to connect with his roommates," Yahoo! recapped. "Whenever anything is new, you're learning as you go," Mizanin recapped about his time on the reality show. He revealed that while in the house, "I didn't know how to deal with the emotions." Suddenly, he went from a typical college experience to living "with seven strangers, and I just tried to be me."

Though he admittedly wasn't comfortable with the seven other housemates, Mizanin ultimately found positives in the experience. He told Access, "Once I got on the 'Real World' it made me realize I can do anything I wanted with my life."

The Miz has big plans outside the WWE

Even though he made a name for himself on reality series, Mike Mizanin shined in scripted roles that you may have missed. As an actor, he appeared in "The Campaign" starring comedians Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, via IMDb. He also had a guest role in the series "Supernatural." Screen Rant recapped that his episode "'Beyond The Mat' expertly uses The Miz's WWE persona to subvert 'Supernatural' fans' expectations." At the end of the episode, it turns out Mizanin's character as fictional wrestler Shawn Harley is not the villain, who instead of using demons for personal gain "wants to win championships the right way."

On the big screen, Mizanin became the star of the WWE's long-running "The Marine" film franchise, per Bleacher Report. For the third installment, professional wrestler Randy Orton was set to star until news broke that he was dishonorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in real life, per TMZ. Mizanin excelled in his replacement role and went on to star in the third, fourth, fifth, and final sixth installment of "The Marine," via IMDb.

In an interview for Vulture, Mizanin said of his acting career, "My goal now is to win an Oscar." Mizanin admitted, "When I say that, people laugh at me." But he said people also laughed at him "when I said I wanted to be a WWE superstar." Mizanin explained, "So far I've been able to prove them wrong, and that fuels my fire."

Who is The Miz's wife?

Mike Mizanin was looking for the next big star in the WWE when the love of his life walked through the door. Maryse Mizanin told Yahoo! that during her audition in the 2006 Diva Search, "Mike was sitting there, and he was one of the judges." For her audition, Maryse explained, "I had this perfect speech that I learned in the plane on the way to Los Angeles from Montreal because I couldn't speak a word in English." Soon after, the Canadian beauty completely impressed the wrestler. Mizanin remembered of Maryse, "She cuts this promo in French, and she gets up in my face." While others might be intimidated by the lack of personal space, Mizanin revealed of the interaction, "I'm loving every second of it. This girl is it."

He continued with little success to pursue Maryse while the two worked together in the WWE. Then, in a peculiar shot at a deeper connection, he asked Maryse to meet him in the parking lot of a porn shop. The move oddly worked — "We sat there in the parking lot and talked for three hours, with a person that doesn't speak English. That's an A-plus in my book as a first date," Mizanin said about his crush.

The pair continued to go on dates and in 2013, Mizanin "proposed to me in the same convention room where we had the first auditions," Maryse said. The two were married in the Bahamas, WWE reported.

Life as a father for The Miz

After Mike Mizanin's wife Maryse became pregnant, the couple hosted a gender reveal party. Mizanin explained to Us Weekly that when he told his friends the potential name of his child, they said, "Dude that's a stripper name." Maryse was furious about the comment and kicked the guys out of the party. The wrestlers scrapped the name idea and Maryse proposed a French name. But she claimed that didn't work because Mizanin would instead pronounce it with a Spanish inflection. Mizanin and Maryse ultimately settled on a name and in 2018, the pair welcomed their first child together, daughter Monroe Sky Mizanin.

When his daughter was an infant, Mizanin explained that the parental roles mimicked the WWE fighting ring. "Literally, we're just tagging in and out," he said about sharing duties with Maryse. "I'm a night owl so I usually stay up at night with her and my wife sleeps. Then whenever I sleep, my wife takes over," Mizanin added. According to the wrestler, even with his busy schedule entertaining fans, he wanted to have his family come first. "I wanted to be the dad that was able to feed my daughter, hold my daughter, really be there for my daughter. I want to be the dad that's here."

Mizanin couldn't be prouder when he welcomed a second daughter, Madison Jade, in 2019. "There's no better feeling than being a father to two strong, independent, creative, beautiful women," he told People.

The charitable side of The Miz

Even with his tough guy persona in wrestling, Mike Mizanin is incredibly charitable to others. He explained to Sports Illustrated about his philanthropic efforts, "It's great to give back to people, and that's what this is: a chance to help." In this case, Mizanin was referring to helping with the organization Soles4Souls. "I'm grateful to help spread a positive message to people around the world about giving back," he said about the charitable mission. To help with the fundraising effort, Mizanin autographed a pair of his shoes to be included in a charity auction.

Sticking with the sports theme, Mizanin participated in the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament in Connecticut. The yearly event donates all net proceeds to charities within the state. "Whenever I can get out and go golfing, especially for a good cause, it always makes everything worthwhile," Mizanin told WWE Community. Prior to his round on the links, Mizanin met with children from the "Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a center founded in 1988 by Paul Newman that helps children with cancer, sickle cell anemia, and other illnesses." Mizanin said of his experience with the center, "We're raising money for kids with illnesses who can go to a camp to feel normal, feel like they can do whatever they want to do. It's a pretty great camp." The wrestler also signed autographs for fans — "Mizfits" — who attended the tournament.

How much is The Miz worth?

As one of the biggest stars in the WWE world, Mike Mizanin has picked up impressively big paychecks. This comes with a ton of hard work, as the wrestler is reportedly "on the road 200 days a year" for the WWE, per Us Weekly. This in addition to his acting career in films and various appearances in MTV reality shows like "The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars." Plus, he and his wife Maryse became stars of the series "Miz and Mrs." For all his streams of income, Mizanin was worth an estimated $14 million in 2021, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

With some of his money, Mizanin and his wife chose to reside in luxury living arrangements. The couple lived in Los Angeles until fame interfered too much with their personal lives. "Our house in Los Angeles — people knew where we lived," Mizanin revealed to TheWrap. "We were a stop at — you know those [tourist] places 'See Stars Homes'? They'd be driving past us taking pictures of our house every day," he remembered. As a result, he and Maryse decided to relocate the family to Austin, Texas in 2017. The two reportedly purchased a mansion in the southern state for $2.35 million per Dirt. But only a few years later, the Mizanins moved back closer to Hollywood and sold their Austin home. In 2019, the couple upgraded and purchased a stunning $6.4 million mansion in Thousand Oaks, California.