Pink and Black Attack: Bret Hart's ex-wife Julie Hart pulls no punches in new book (2023)

It was five years ago that WWE Hall of Famer and multiple-time World heavyweight champion Bret Hitman Hart released his candid autobiography Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Hart’s lengthy memoirs shocked fans around the world by lifting the lid on life behind the curtain, revealing – among other things – the grappler’s adultery while on the road.

There are two sides to every story, of course, and now the Hitman’s ex-wife, Julie Hart, has decided to tell all about her relationship with Canada’s most famous wrestler in her own autobiography, Hart Strings: My Life with Bret and the Hart Family, which is published this month by Tightrope Books.

Hart Strings certainly pulls no punches, offering a frank and, at times, shocking account of the author’s experiences of being part of one of wrestling’s most-influential families and mother to the Hitman’s four children: Jade, Dallas, Blade and Beans.

In an exclusive interview, Julie spoke about her motivations for writing the book and her memories of living with the Hitman.

“After working on several different versions of the book, last year I started working with my editor at Tightrope Books on this final version of my story. I finished the final draft of the book last summer” said Julie of why her side of the story is only now being published. It seems to have been written, in part, as a response to Bret’s own memoirs.

(Video) Hitman Hart, Wrestling With Shadows

“It was shocking to read about this person, a person I had been close to for so long, who I trusted. It was like reading about a complete stranger. All my worst fears sort of just materialised into reality."

Julie also speaks frankly in her new book about the challenge to maintain a long-distance relationship as a wrestling wife. Asked whether the industry, by its very nature, makes it hard for wrestlers to maintain a balanced family life, Julie said: “It’s really difficult because so much goes on day-to-day for a family."

"Kids get sick, [there are] birthdays, hockey games, report cards, homework. That’s just the surface. Decisions need to be made and discipline handed out – love too. It’s a hard formula for raising a family that’s for sure. I can’t honestly recommend it. "

Julie draws not just on her own personal experience in the book, but also from that of her sister Michelle, the ex-wife of Tom ‘The Dynamite Kid’ Billington, the British grappler widely considered one of the greatest in-ring competitors of his generation. The sisters would often watch their respective partners battle one another in the ring in classic encounters broadcast on Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling programming.

“As I mention in my book, those [early] Stampede days were special,” says Julie.

(Video) Bret Hart Wishes God's Wrath Upon Triple H For Lying About Montreal! #wwe

“At the time Michelle and I started dating Bret and Tom we thought it was surreal, because they were wrestling each other almost every night in Calgary. Tom was a cut above the rest. He just moved in ways that were seemingly without effort, without any over-the-top emotional performances: he was wiry, no nonsense and whip-fast. He was an artist in the ring, better than any wrestler I've ever seen."

One of the most interesting aspects of the book for fans of wrestling history will be Julie’s recollections of life as part of the large Hart family. The Harts – with the late Stu and Helen at the helm – are attributed with shaping the careers of many of the sport’s biggest names, from Bret and Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith and Lance Storm to current WWE superstars Chris Jericho, Natalya Neidhart and Tyson Kidd.

“[Stu and Helen] were incredibly warm people. I can't imagine how they did it - raised so many children, dealt with so many problems and the business too. They are missed. Owen was the nicest."

Of course, any story involving Bret Hart and his lengthy career would not be complete without a look back at the Montreal Screwjob – the infamous night in Quebec in November 1997 which saw the WWE’s chairman Vince McMahon ‘call for the bell’ at the Survivor Series pay-per-view and cost Hart his fifth World title to Shawn Michaels in very real circumstances in Hart’s final night with the company before defecting to competitors WCW.

(Video) Bret Hart's Final WCW Days : "End of the Hitman"

It’s a night that is still considered to be one of the most controversial moments in professional wrestling history, over fifteen years after it took place.

The lead-up to the match, and the backstage fall-out that occurred afterwards, was captured by a film crew following the Hitman’s career in what would go on to become the critically-acclaimed documentary Wrestling With Shadows. Julie Hart was a big part of the film and remembers it well:

“I'm not sure if Bret's legacy would be remembered differently [without the film], or the obsession with Montreal would be any less prevalent, but it is this kind of go-to source for that time period in wrestling. It's unique.

Bret's legacy would have remained the same, however at the time of its release it was extremely influential and unlike anything before it.”

(Video) Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows (WWE Legend Documentary) | Real Stories

Many fans of the documentary will, of course, remember the famous scene in which Julie verbally scorns Hunter Hearst Helmsley – now WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events Paul Levesque – openly accusing the wrestler of having prior knowledge of the ‘screwjob’ just moments after the incident took place.

“That 1997 showdown was definitely one I'll remember. The way the business was changing and has changed, I am in no way surprised that Paul is where he is [today]”.

After years of bitterness, of course, the Hitman and Vince McMahon famously buried the hatchet to pave the way for Hart’s return to the WWE, first as an inductee into the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame, and then for a singles showdown between the two in 2010 - a bout that saw members of the extended Hart family get involved in the match.

“My kids had fun at WrestleMania XXVI with Bret and the rest of the Harts,” recalls Julie.

While Bret continues to play a role in WWE (only last week, he was the recipient of a special post-Raw celebration in Calgary billed as ‘Bret Hart Appreciation Night’), his relationship with ex-wife Julie continues to be strained, as readers of this new book will discover.


Hart Strings is a painfully frank account of life on the other side of the curtain, and the struggles of raising a family and living a ‘normal’ life in the shadow of a world-famous wrestling star whose career saw him travel all across the globe as a role model to millions of young fans.

For fans of Bret’s, Julie’s memoir is at times truly shocking, painting a bleak picture of the Hitman’s character away from the glare of the bright lights. Ultimately, though, as with all stories, it’s only one side of the tale - but read as a companion piece to Bret’s own memoirs, it certainly is fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in the career of the Excellence of Execution.

* Ben Veal is the Editor of, a website that offers news, reviews and exclusive interviews from the world of professional wrestling. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenVealPR


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