Maria Menounos

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Maria Menounos
Maria Menounos LF.JPG
Menounos in January 2008
Born (1978-06-08) June 8, 1978 (age 38)
Medford, Massachusetts, United States
Occupation Actress, journalist, television presenter, professional wrestler
Years active


Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Maria Menounos
Billed height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Debut October 12, 2009

Maria Menounos (born June 8, 1978)[2] is an American actress, journalist, television host, and occasional professional wrestler. She is known in the United States for her appearances as a TV correspondent for Today, Access Hollywood, Extra, and abroad for co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in Athens, Greece.

Early life[edit]

Menounos was born in Medford, Massachusetts,[2] the daughter of Greek parents Costas and Litsa Menounos, who worked as janitors in a Boston nightclub.[3] She has a younger brother named Peter.[3] Menounos attended the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Somerville, Massachusetts. She also attended Medford High School in Medford.

In 1995, Menounos began to compete in beauty pageants. The following year, she won the title of Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, and she competed at Miss Teen USA where she placed in the top 15, receiving an honorary mention, during the preliminary competition. Menounos placed 13th in preliminaries. Maria competed for the title of Miss Massachusetts USA 2000. She was the first runner-up.

Menounos attended Boston's Emerson College, where she participated in the organization Emerson Independent Video. She graduated from Emerson in 2000.[1]

Film, television, and radio career[edit]

During her senior year at Emerson, Menounos worked as a reporter for Channel One News. For her 10-minute segments, she traveled to El Salvador to report on the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes, interviewed NATO aircrew members aboard an E-3 AWACS plane during the military alliance's Operation Eagle Assist, and interviewed President George W. Bush.[citation needed]

Entertainment Tonight hired Menounos as a correspondent in 2002, where she reported on movies, music, and fashion.[citation needed] She left the program in 2005 to focus on her acting career, though she would join rival program Access Hollywood that fall as a correspondent.[4] She went on to co-host a few episodes of the Today show in the late summer and fall of 2006 as well as in April 2007. In 2003, Menounos appeared on the November 30 episode of Punk'd where she was one of many celebrities caught in the awkward and embarrassing "Red Carpet Interviews".

Menounos signing autographs in 2005

In 2004, Menounos appeared in an episode of the UPN series One on One as Glenda, an eccentric, self-proclaimed "Fairy Godmother to the Stars". In the summer of 2005, she appeared in the comic book film Fantastic Four, where she played a nurse who is romanced by the Human Torch, played by Chris Evans. Her likeness and voice was featured in the 2005 Electronic Arts video game, From Russia with Love as Eva Adara, Red Grant's henchwoman, which stars Sean Connery as James Bond. She is also the spokesperson for Pantene hair products. Menounos presented the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest (along with Greek singer Sakis Rouvas) that took place in Athens.[5]

As an actress, Menounos had recurring roles on the CBS-TV program Without a Trace and as Jules in the second season of The CW's One Tree Hill (during its run on The WB). Menounos also appeared on the Scrubs episode "My Extra Mile", which aired in May 2006 where she is attracted to John Dorian because she likes his hair. In 2006, Menounos appeared in the music video for "A Public Affair" by Jessica Simpson. On April 27, 2007, Menounos starred in Kickin' It Old Skool. In 2007, Menounos continued in her run as international spokesperson doing print and television commercials for Pantene hair products as well as print ads for New York & Company. From December 17 to December 20, 2007, Menounos hosted the reality game show miniseries Clash of the Choirs.

Maria in February 2009

In 2008, she became the host of Hollywood Green on the Planet Green network. In 2008, she had a role in the movie Tropic Thunder, and in the same year became the first (and to date the only) journalist to interview the entire Obama family as a whole. She also reported for NBC Nightly News.

In May 2008, she played in the AVP Cuervo Gold Crown Huntington Beach Open, but was eliminated in the qualifying round. On July 13, 2008, Menounos starred in the celebrity softball game at Yankee Stadium in New York. In November 2008, when Richard Belzer fell ill, she filled in as host for the North Shore Animal League's Dogcatemy Celebrity Gala, which takes place at NYC's Capitale.[6] From 2009 to 2012, she hosted various reunion specials of MTV's The Real World and The Challenge. Menounos appeared on the 2008 Knight Rider series episode "Fly By Knight", which aired on February 11, 2009 where she played a DEA agent who is in charge of investigating a plane crash.

On August 4, 2011, it was announced that she would join Warner Bros.'s Extra, where she will co-host the show with Mario Lopez. She'll also have on-air duties at Dr. Drew's Lifechangers, and will develop new projects.[7] For her work on Extra, Menounos won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Entertainment News Program.

She was a contestant on the 14th season of Dancing with the Stars partnering with Derek Hough.[8] The couple was eliminated on May 15, 2012, ending up in 4th place.

In May 2014, after three years of hosting Extra, Menounos left the show and signed a multi-year contract with E! Entertainment, where she will host and produce several programs. In July 2015, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Menounos would replace Giuliana Rancic as the co-anchor of E! News.[9]

In late 2015, it was announced that she would host a daily, one-hour radio show on SiriusXM called Conversations with Maria on Stars 109.[10]

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE (2009-present)[edit]

Menounos is a long-time WWE fan and has made several appearances with the promotion. Menounos's first appearance came on October 12, 2009, when Menounos joined Nancy O'Dell in guest hosting WWE Raw. She made her in-ring debut that night in a six diva tag team match with Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly against Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, and Rosa Mendes; Menounos's team was victorious, with the match highlighted by Menounos slapping the much larger-statured Phoenix.[11]

On December 11, 2011, at WWE Tribute to the Troops, Menounos returned and teamed with Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, and Kelly Kelly to defeat the team of The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki) and The Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya) where Menounos got the win for her team by pinning Phoenix.[12]

Menounos (front) celebrating her victory at WrestleMania XXVIII along with Kelly Kelly in April 2012

Menounos continued her feud with WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix after Phoenix and Eve Torres interrupted an interview segment with Kelly Kelly on Extra. This led to tag team match at WrestleMania XXVIII with Menounos teaming with Kelly Kelly to take on Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.[13] Despite legitimately suffering two cracked ribs during practice for Dancing with the Stars before the match,[14] Menounos and Kelly were successful in defeating Phoenix and Eve on April 1, 2012, at WrestleMania, with Menounos pinning Phoenix for the win.[15]

On April 6, 2013, at Madison Square Garden, Menounos inducted Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame.[16] On August 18, 2013 at Summerslam Axxess, she team up with Natalya to defeat Brie Bella and Eva Marie.[17][18]

On August 17, 2014, Menounos was seen at the SummerSlam pay-per-view, appearing in the crowd and later in a backstage segment with Stephanie McMahon, who accepted Menounos's challenge for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Menounos was actually nominated in the first place by McMahon's father and chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon.

She has hosted the WWE Hall of Fame red carpet pre-show for three years in a row, in 2014, 2015, and 2016. She also appeared during the event as a guest backstage interviewer for both WrestleMania 31 and WrestleMania 32. In 2016, Menounos appeared in one episode of the WWE Network's Swerved and was a backstage interviewer for SummerSlam.



Year Title Role Notes
2005 Fantastic Four Sexy Nurse
2006 Gladys Short film
2007 Kickin' It Old Skool Jennifer Major role
2007 In the Land of Merry Misfits Risandra Voice role
2008 Tropic Thunder Herself Cameo appearance
2011 Adventures of Serial Buddies Katelyn
2013 Paranormal Movie Dr. Luni
2015 Entourage Herself


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Channel One News Herself Host
2002–2005 Entertainment Tonight Herself Correspondent
2002 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Reporter #1 Episode: "Free Sabrina"
2003 Without a Trace Chris Sanders Episode: "Trip Box"
2003 Punk'd Herself 1 episode
2004 One on One Glenda Episode: "We'll Take Manhattan"
2004–2005 One Tree Hill Emily "Jules" Chambers 10 episodes
2005–2011 Access Hollywood Herself Correspondent
2006 Eurovision Song Contest 2006 Herself Co-host
2006 Scrubs Tamara Episode: "My Extra Mile"
2006 Entourage Herself Episode: "Aquamom"; cameo appearance
2007 Clash of the Choirs Herself Host
2009 Knight Rider DEA Agent Jessie Renning Episode: "Fly by Knight"
2009–2011 The Challenge Herself Host of Reunion episodes
2009–2012 The Real World
2009 WWE Raw Co-Host/Herself TV special
2010 Entourage Herself Episode: "Buzzed"; cameo appearance
2011–2014 Extra Herself Host
2011 Funny or Die Presents Talk Show Host "Paco Dances" segment
2012 Sesame Street Herself Episode: "The All of Our Senses Club"; cameo appearance
2012 Dancing with the Stars Herself Season 14 contestant
2012 WrestleMania XXVIII Herself Performed With Kelly Kelly Defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve
2012 Louie Entertainment News Anchor Episode: "Late Show: Part 2 & 3"
2012–2013 The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange Herself Guest appearance
2013 WWE Hall of Fame Herself – Inductor Inducted Bob Backlund
2013 Hell's Kitchen Herself Episode: "7 Chefs Compete Part 2"; Chef's table guest in the blue kitchen
2013 The Mindy Project Herself 2 episodes
2013 The Eric Andre Show Herself Guest appearance
2013–2014 Nashville Herself 2 episodes
2013–present Live from E! Herself Co-host
2014 Chasing Maria Menounos Herself Lead role
2014–2015 Bar Rescue Herself 3 episodes
2014 WWE Hall of Fame Herself Co-Host of the Red Carpet Pre-Show on the WWE Network
2014 Ridiculousness Herself Guest
2014 Untold Herself Host
2014 Botched Herself Host of the two-part reunion episode
2015 The Celebrity Apprentice 7 Herself Guest donor for Team Infinity on Episode 1
2015 WrestleMania 31 Herself Guest backstage interviewer
2015 Total Divas Herself Guest
2015–present E! News Herself Anchor
2016 Cupcake Wars Herself Celebrity Baker
2016 Swerved Herself Guest Appearance

In wrestling[edit]


At the age of 17, Menounos produced In the Land of Merry Misfits, an independent film fairy tale. The 35 mm feature film was produced by Menounos while attending Emerson College with director Keven Undergaro, then head writer for MTV's Singled Out. The negative of the film was stolen and the film was never completed but her work on the film, and the film's director, helped her land her reporting job at Channel One News and at MTV (ET on MTV). Menounos, however, never forgot the film or the film's director. In 2005, Menounos personally funded the recovery and restoration of the film, which was narrated by John Waters and starred an eclectic group in the Waters vein — including former WWE champion Bob Backlund, actress Josie Davis from the TV show Charles in Charge and B-movie icon Randal Malone. The film premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

Menounos also directed Longtime Listener starring Wilmer Valderrama. The film was an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival 2006. Menounos acted in and produced Adventures of Serial Buddies, which is credited with being the first serial killer buddy comedy. In May 2013, Menounos launched a new interview series called Conversations with Maria Menounos,[22] with Zoe Saldana being her first guest. Menounos also maintains AfterBuzzTV, an online entertainment network she founded with partner Keven Undergaro.[23] for which she was named the 2014 CES Entertainment Matters Ambassador.[24]

Maria's new reality series premiered on the Oxygen Network entitled Chasing Maria Menounos.

On March 18, 2014, Menounos's reality-TV series Chasing Maria Menounos premiered on the Oxygen Network.[25]


Menounos appeared in FHM magazine and in People magazine in 2004 as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People." In another poll conducted by, Menounos was voted one of the top five girls a guy would most want to marry, along with Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba. She has also beaten Jessica Alba and Charlize Theron for "Cyber Vixen of the Year" on Spike TV's video game awards. On August 8, 2010 she won the Madden NFL Pro-AM MVP award. She also won MadTV's "Smokin' Hot TV Personality" Award for 2010.

In 2014, she won a Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Entertainment News Program for her work on Extra.

Charity work[edit]

Menounos founded the charity "Take Action Hollywood!" after her trip to South Africa, where she reported on the effects of the AIDS crisis there. She also created the Cosmo Girl Cup, a national, annual competition and award given to the group of teens who do the most in their communities to affect for positive social change. Menounos presented at the Earth Day Network's Climate Rally in Washington, DC on April 25, 2010. She acted as the Masters of Ceremony for the First Annual Los Angeles CureSearch Walk for Children's Cancer held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on October 24, 2010.


Menounos has been in a relationship with director and producer Keven Undergaro since April 1998.[26] On March 9, 2016, Undergaro proposed to her live on The Howard Stern Show, and Menounos accepted.[27] In addition, they own the online entertainment network AfterBuzz TV where she is an executive producer.[28][23]


  1. ^ a b Loftus, Jamie (April 19, 2011). "Up close with TV's Menounos '00". Emerson College. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Maria Menounos: Biography". Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  3. ^ a b Coulton, Antoinette Y. (November 12, 2008). "Maria Menounos's Greek Christmas". People. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Maria Menounos joins 'Access Hollywood' and 'Today'". USA Today. 2005-08-23. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  5. ^ "In pictures: Eurovision 2006". BBC News. 2006-05-21. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  6. ^ "View Co-Hosts Dish to OK! About Sherri - OK! Magazine - The First for Celebrity News". OK! Magazine. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  7. ^ "Menounos to Co-Host 'Extra' - 2011-08-04 16:31:47 | Broadcasting & Cable". Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  8. ^ "New Dancing with the Stars cast revealed". Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  9. ^ Massabrook, Nicole (July 30, 2015). "Maria Menounos To Replace Giuliana Rancic On 'E! News' Despite Viewer Criticism During SAG Awards". International Business Times. Retrieved July 31, 2015. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b James, Caldwell (October 12, 2009). "CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 10/12: Complete coverage of Nancy O'Dell and Maria Menounos hosting Raw". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b James, Caldwell (December 13, 2011). "CALDWELL'S WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS REPORT 12/13: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of USA Network special". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  13. ^ Wortman, James (2012-03-16). "Beth: "I will Glam Slam you into tomorrow!"". WWE. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  14. ^ Watkins, Jade (2012-04-01). "She's a tough cookie! Maria Menounos gets into the WWE ring to wrestle not one but TWO women despite having broken ribs". Dailymail. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  15. ^ Artus, Matthew (2012-04-02). "Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos def. Divas Champion Beth Phoenix & Eve". WWE. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  16. ^ "Maria Menounos to induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  17. ^ WWE.COM, STAFF (August 14, 2013). "Eva Marie joins Brie Bella to face Natalya & Maria Menounos at SummerSlam Axxess". Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  18. ^ "SUMMERSLAM PPV RESULTS: Quick rundown of match results". PRO WRESTLING TORCH ( August 18, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  19. ^ Diva-dirt. "WrestleMania 28: Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos Victorious". Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "Girlfriend Pop 2 - Various Artists". iTunes. April 25, 2016. 
  21. ^ "WWE: Holla (Kelly Kelly) [feat. Desiree Jackson] - Single". iTunes. April 29, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Menounos Launches New Interview Series". Conversations with Maria. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  23. ^ a b Graser, Marc. "'Extra' Host Maria Menounos' YouTube Channel Gives TV Fans an Online Forum". Variety. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ Stedman, Alex. "VARIETY October 2013". Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  25. ^ "Menounos Launches New Reality Series". Chasing Maria. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  26. ^ Cosgrove Baylis, Sheila (24 March 2014). "Maria Menounos Is Leaving Extra". People. 
  27. ^ "Maria Menounos Engaged". Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  28. ^ AfterBuzz TV (21 July 2014). "Cassandra Lee Morris Interview (Sword Art Online, Bravely Default) - AfterBuzz TV's The Voice Of". Retrieved 13 July 2016 – via YouTube. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Erika Ewald
Miss Massachusetts Teen USA
Succeeded by
Jessica Gregory
Preceded by
Ukraine Maria Efrosinina & Pavlo Shylko
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Sakis Rouvas)
Succeeded by
Finland Mikko Leppilampi & Jaana Pelkonen