It was a total Twitter meltdown when Total Divas’ Renee Young confirmed several weeks ago that she and WWE superstar Dean Ambrose had married. The couple secretly exchanged vows on Sunday, April 9, in the private sanctuary of their very own backyard with one friend bearing witness and an officiant that they had recruited from Yelp. “We thought originally we were going to get married by Elvis,” Young tells The Knot in an exclusive interview.
The pair had plans to marry in Vegas where they reside, but on whim, Ambrose decided that he wanted to become a husband—that night. “We were going to bed and Dean pulled out the ring,” the broadcaster says. “We ended finding a 24-hour pastor. All we had to do was wake up a friend of ours to be a witness and we got married in the backyard.”
The backdrop of the ceremony was ideal since Young had redesigned the space last summer. “I strung up a bunch of lights in our backyard last year with these little lanterns,” she says. “It looks like that every day… We got married underneath our tree… I actually thought about these things while I was getting dressed.”
The bride wore white. “I had this really cool dress—a white dress with big flowers sewn onto it,” she recalls. “It had really pretty designs embroidered all over it. And I wore glittery Doc Martens.”
The timing was fortuitous too. “It was really cool because our friend and the man who came to marry us showed up at the exact same time,” says Young, though acknowledging that their pastor was anything but typical. “He showed up in jeans and a leather jacket. Not a robe,” she notes. “That’s just who he is.”
So how exactly did both sides of the family react? “We called them immediately. It was like 1:00-1:30 in the morning for us. My whole family is on the East Coast, so they were very alarmed when the phone was ringing,” she laughs. “It was fun to be able to break the news to them like that.”
The two made sure to notify their expansive WWE family too. “I sent out one of our photos to all of the girls that worked here at WWE,” says Young. While their inner circle wasn’t able to witness the ceremony, they will have the opportunity to congratulate the pair later this year. The newlyweds are considering a reception with their loved ones once their respective schedules settle down. “Eventually, we’ll have a party with our family and friends. It was just for him and I to make things official,” Young notes.
After an eventful night, the pair toasted to themselves inside the intimacy of their home. “We had a bottle of champagne and made a toast. We had a couple drinks, and then we had to go to bed,” Young tells The Knot. “We were just dying to get back home and actually be together. And for me to call him ‘husband’ to his face. And do all the ‘husband and wife’ things.”
While Ambrose was prepared, Young didn’t have a ring ready to go for her husband. “I didn’t have anything ready for him, so for the first couple days he was just wearing a nude hair-tie around his finger,” she laughs. “And then we got tattoos that Wednesday.”
The two frequently appear together in Total Divas, most recently taking a vacation together to Lake Tahoe. “My favorite moments are were when we get to shoot together… When we went up to Tahoe, we went wake-boarding–which I had done before–but Dean could not get up for the life of him. He kept face-planting,” she jokes. “To see him kind of freaking out in a fancy environment is always funny for me to sit back and watch. He wants more of that grimy atmosphere (and so do I) but sometimes you have to class it up for TV.”
However, it was important for the no-frills pair to savor their wedding night without any stress. “I think so many people get so caught up about making the moment perfect and making the dress perfect,” she reflects. “Dean was always such a great boyfriend. And now, he’s an even better husband. He’s such a good dude. I just feel so lucky to have him and to spend the rest of my life with him. I think it’s just the finality of it. Like, ‘Okay. You’re my husband!’”
As husband and wife, love has presented itself in a new way for both stars. “It’s about being honest. It’s about being yourself,” Young adds. “I want to look out for him. He’s now an extension of me. To me, that’s the purest kind of love I’ve had for somebody. To be able to have that moment with him, and to have those feelings towards him, I want him to be treated the way I want to be treated. I want the absolute best things in the world for him and I want to be there with him when he achieves it.”
Overall, she senses comfort and peace now that they’re married. “It’s almost a relief and here’s my life,” Young concludes. “This person is now my family. It just feels comfortable and right.”
Tune in to Total Divas on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on E!