By Mike Mooneyham

Aug. 22, 2004

It’s been several months since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has rocked WWE rings, but the beer-swilling Texan is back in the news.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Austin got into a real-life altercation with ex-girlfriend Tess Broussard earlier this month at a Beverly Hills restaurant after allegedly offering her a sizable payoff to end their romance.

The two met at the restaurant to settle some differences, but the dinner turned violent when Austin offered Broussard a check for $1.5 million. Austin had hoped that the check would convince the 37-year-old actress to stay out of his life and to not pursue any legal actions against him from prior incidents in their rocky relationship. But Broussard, says Austin, became irate and refused to accept the breakup.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin

When George Vrabeck, the wrestler’s business manager, showed up at the restaurant with the check, Broussard reportedly got on top of a table and attacked Austin with a steak knife. Vrabeck’s left arm was accidentally cut in the scuffle before a security guard was able to handcuff Broussard to a chair. Broussard was later taken to jail and arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. She was released on $30,000 bail and is due in court on Sept. 1. Broussard and Austin offered different accounts of what actually happened.

Broussard called the incident a “fabricated assault,” implying Vrabeck stabbed himself, and claims to have filed a $10 million lawsuit against Austin for luring her to the restaurant to stage an assault. The suit also brings up a previous domestic abuse incident in Texas.

The former WWE champion said that he merely wanted to get some closure on the relationship by having dinner, issuing a check and reaching an agreement so he could move on with his life.

“I’m not a rocket scientist,” Austin told The Times. “But I knew I had to get out of this relationship … The plan was to go out, have a nice steak, hand (Broussard) a check and get on with my life.”

Broussard claims Austin has a drinking problem and that she suffered earlier physical abuse at his hands. Austin claims Broussard drank and took pills to excess. She says Austin forced her to take the pills.

“(Austin) turned into another character – mean, horrible, violent and emotionally abusive,” Broussard told The Times. “He drank every night, beginning at 6 p.m., until he would pass out around 1 a.m.” When it was noted that Austin claimed she had a problem with medication, she responded, “He got me started on pills. He’d open my mouth like an animal and stick the pills in my mouth. He said, if I’m taking them, you’re taking them, too.”

Austin, 39, denied the charge while admitting he takes a variety of prescription drugs, prescribed for insomnia and “neurological issues” stemming from his neck issues after suffering a serious ring injury in 1997.

Broussard says she was naive during their relationship. “He’d apologize and say he’d change and go to counseling, but he never did. He told me I was his soul mate, so I kept going back and really believed in the relationship. But it was a lot of empty promises.”

“I kept seeing her because, as kooky as she was, I still loved her,” said Austin. “I feel like I’ve been a pawn on the chessboard. I was too trusting and too nice, and that’s what I’ll have to live with.”

According to The Times article, Broussard threatened to tell tabloids about Austin if he broke up with her. The day after the incident, Austin went to agent Barry Bloom and hired a crisis management public relations team.

Broussard, who has worked as an actress in softcore films, has a resume that includes “Hollywood Sins,” “Sinful Temptations” and “Survivors Exposed.” Her Web site describes her as follows:

“Tess Broussard is a true Southern belle who moved to Los Angeles to pursue her education and a career path in the arts. After a lot of hard work and effort, Tess has established herself as an accomplished actress and model. Tess arrived in Los Angeles to pursue her education, graduating from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in advertising. After college, Tess challenged herself in a number of diverse work environments. She worked as an account executive at an advertising agency, as a paralegal, in public relations and in real estate, all while pursuing her dream of an acting and modeling career. After years of diligence and perseverance, this Eurasian beauty found success as a swimsuit model and spokesperson.

“Not a vacuous nor self-centered actress, Tess spends most of her free time giving back to the community as an active volunteer. She has been especially active at several local animal shelters. Her love for animals has resulted in her adoption of two cats and a dog named Lucky, Coal and Salvador Dali. Her other pastimes include staying physically fit, reading, traveling, meditation and appreciating modern art.”

The incident wasn’t the first time the couple has been involved in a domestic situation. The two made headlines in late March when Austin broke off the couple’s engagement. Broussard told police that she met with Austin to discuss their troubled yearlong relationship. But she said Austin became irritable and yelled, “I’m tired of talking about this —-. Shut up!” Broussard claimed that Austin grabbed her and threw her to the ground.

Austin claimed Broussard jumped on him and grabbed at a gold necklace he was given by the late Brian Pillman during the argument, which led to him shoving her away. Sources said that Austin had complained about her erratic behavior and had been trying to get her to leave for several weeks when the incident occurred.

At the time, Broussard told authorities that she “feared bodily injury.” Broussard claimed she had pictures taken for evidence, and was planning on pursuing charges. No charges, however, were ever filed and police determined no assault had taken place.

“I played everything down,” Broussard told The Times. “I got scared. He said he’d screw me over if I filed charges.” Austin denied that charge as well.

The National Enquirer reported another incident in which Broussard allegedly jumped out of Austin’s moving vehicle during an argument. Austin claimed that Broussard bit him as he made the call to authorities to report the incident. Broussard told police that Austin attempted to strike her with his vehicle, and called the police first in order to hide that fact. According to the tabloid’s report, the couple had been drinking earlier that night.

The tabloid reported that Broussard had left Austin’s San Antonio home, where she had been living since their breakup, to visit him at an apartment he had moved into after their previous domestic situation in an attempt to discuss a reconciliation of their relationship.

Apparently, while visiting, Broussard found e-mail correspondence from a “British female fan.” Later that night, as the couple was driving, Broussard accused Austin of being involved with the woman, which set off the argument.

In November 2002, Austin pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of assault for striking his then-wife, Debra Marshall Williams, during a June 2002 argument at their upscale San Antonio home. According to the police report, the altercation left Williams with a welt on her face and bruises on her back. Austin was fined $1,000, sentenced to a year’s probation, and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and attend a domestic violence counseling course. The couple separated after the incident, attempted a reconciliation but split up for good in early 2003.

Austin, whose real name is Steve Williams, left WWE in April after being unable to come to terms on a new contractual agreement. He moved to Los Angeles where he has been staying with Diamond Dallas Page while pursuing an acting career. He is scheduled to play a prison guard in the new Adam Sandler movie “The Longest Yard.”

Austin has been married three times. His second marriage, to former valet Jeannie Clark, lasted four years and produced two children. His third marriage, to wrestling personality and former beauty queen Debra Marshall, lasted three years and ended in 2003.

– John “Earthquake” Tenta posted on last week that he has been given 13 to 18 months to live due to cancer. He has a new tumor in his left lung, and two lymph nodes are enlarged in his heart. He currently is undergoing four-a-day chemotherapy sessions.

Tenta, 41, was a major figure in the WWF during the early ’90s before leaving for WCW in 1994 and changing his name from Earthquake to Avalanche. He also appeared in WCW as Shark and was a member of the Dungeon of Doom.

The 6-4, 450-pound Tenta, who was a successful amateur wrestler at Louisiana State University before trying his hand at sumo wrestling in Japan, held the WWF tag-team title in 1992 with Typhoon (Fred Ottman).

– The WWE is sending Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, John Layfield, Linda McMahon, Big Show, Ivory, Chris Nowinski and Mark Henry to this week’s Republican convention.

– An Atlanta TV station reported Friday that former WCW performer Hardbody Harrison is facing charges of forcing women into prostitution. Harrison is accused of holding three women against their will and acting as their pimp to get them to repay their debts.

WXIA-TV reported that police arrested Harrison the day after one of the women approached a police officer at a store and said she was being held against her will. Three of seven women who were with Harrison at the store told officers Harrison forced them into prostitution.

According to investigators, Harrison would help the women by paying their jail fines and assisting them with housing. Once he gained their confidence, he allegedly would take personal items from them and force them to prostitute for him until they paid off their debts.

Harrison, 38, is charged with three counts of false imprisonment. He is free on a $55,000 bond.

Harrison worked as enhancement talent for WCW during the late ’90s and was part of a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against AOL Time Warner by Kazuo “Sonny” Oono.

– TNA officially announced last week that the company will be starting monthly pay-per-view shows on Nov. 7.

– Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was crowned a high chief last week while paying a visit to his mother’s native Samoa. He was given the title of son of Malietoa by his Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II.

“I’ve never cried so much,” Johnson told the World Entertainment News Network. “It was a life-changing moment. It’s way deeper than an honorary title – it’s blood.”