Vince McMahon wasn’t brought up by his father, Vince Sr. His father left the family when McMahon was only a baby taking his eldest son Rod with him. It wasn’t until Vince Jr. was 12 years old before he was given the chance to meet and get to know his father.
“When I met my dad, I fell in love with him. We got very, very close, but we both knew we could never go back.” – Vince McMahon
If there was one autobiography we’d like to see printed, it would be one from by Vince McMahon. One of the closest we have ever got to a candid, tell-all from McMahon was in his interview with Playboy Magazine in 2001.
In this, Vince McMahon opens up about his relationship with his father, Vince Sr., sharing a heartfelt story of the only time his father said “I love you” to him.
“When I was 12 or a little older, living with my grandmother on my mom’s side, my father and his mother came to visit. I must have behaved myself because I got invited up to be with him.
It’s funny how you don’t know what you’re missing if you never had it.
Then when I met my dad, I fell in love with him. We got very, very close, but we both knew we could never go back. There’s a tendency to try to play catch-up, but you can’t. You missed those years. There would always be something missing between us, but there was no reason to discuss it. I was grateful for the chance to spend time with him.
I loved wrestling from the day I saw it. The characters! But my dad was pragmatic. He remembered the bad years he’d had. He’d say, ‘Get a government job, so you can have a pension…’
I got a job adding machines. I’m not good with fucking machines. They have no personality. I went from there to a job selling cups and Sweetheart ice cream cones for the Maryland Cup Corp in Owings Mills, right outside Baltimore. I would get up early and work a zillion hours, but it wasn’t for me.
I drove a huge dump truck at Rockville Crushed Stone, and after a while, I got promoted to the pug mill. A pug mill is where you combine different levels of rock with dirt, and I was made the pug mill operator.”
How Vince McMahon got involved with wrestling
“All this time I’d been pestering my dad to let me work with him: ‘Come on, Pop. You know I love this stuff…’
He had a promoter in Bangor, Maine who had been caught stealing. Caught stealing above and beyond the norm, I should say. In those days all the promoters stole. But you can steal too much, and then you’re a thief.
So my dad tells me, ‘Look, the guy in Bangor, I just threw him the hell out. Go up there. You can’t ever say I didn’t give you an opportunity, but this is the first and last opportunity you’ll have in this company…’
I went to Bangor, the northernmost outpost of my dad’s territory. Now I’m hustling, promoting a product I love. People cheer and boo and have a good time – and I leave with some money in my pocket. Goddamn, life is good!
I started making my way south, promoting areas that hadn’t been promoted before. First thing you know, half my dad’s business is in New England…
When he was dying of cancer, I went to the hospital and I kissed him. I’ve always been demonstrative. If I don’t like you, I’ll tell you. If I love you, male or female, I’ll hug you and say I love you.
But my dad was old Irish and didn’t show affection.
That’s not how I live my life. It’s certainly not the way that my kids, Shane and Stephanie, were brought up – I don’t know how many times a day I tell them I love them. But my dad, no. He never said it. Maybe he would say something complimentary about me to somebody else, but not to my face.
That time in the hospital, I kissed him and said I loved him. He didn’t like to be kissed, but I took advantage of him.
Then I started to go. I hadn’t quite gotten through the door when I heard him: ‘I love you, Vinnie!’
He didn’t just say it, he yelled it.”