Martha Hart

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Martha Hart
Born Martha Joan Patterson
(1966-10-31) October 31, 1966 (age 50)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Alma mater University of Calgary
Spouse(s) Owen Hart (m. 1989; his death 1999)
Children 2
Family Hart

Dr. Martha Joan Hart (née Patterson) (born October 31, 1966) is the widow of professional wrestler Owen Hart.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Hart was born Martha Joan Patterson on October 31, 1966, and is the youngest of 11 children. Her mother, Joan, had battled breast cancer before Hart and her sister Virginia were born; her father left her mother when Martha was young. She has completed two degrees at the University of Calgary in Psychology (with distinction) and Sociology (1st-class honours) before moving to England to complete a master's degree and a PhD in Social and Development Psychology at Cambridge University. She has since worked as a university researcher in the area of pediatrics.

She met her husband, Owen Hart, in 1982 at the age of 15, while they were both still in high school. She attended a Stampede Wrestling event with a friend, and met Owen after recognizing him as one of the wrestlers who attended her school for a wrestling practice. They married on July 1, 1989, and had two children together: Oje Edward Hart (born March 5, 1992) and Athena Christie Hart (born September 23, 1995). Owen died while performing a stunt on May 23, 1999, at the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)'s Over the Edge pay-per-view. As a result of the charitable contributions achieved through the Owen Hart Foundation, Martha was named Individual Philanthropist of the Year in 2004 by the AFP. She was Calgary's 2011 Champions of Learning.[citation needed]


Owen Hart's death[edit]

Three weeks after Owen's death, Hart launched a wrongful death lawsuit against the WWF, she included her children and Owen's parents on the lawsuit, which was settled out of court for approximately $18 million on November 2, 2000.[2] She set aside millions of the settlement to establish the Owen Hart Foundation.[3] She has managed the foundation since 1999.[1] She gave 2 million dollars to Owen's parents and some of the money also went into trust funds for her children.[4] After the lawsuit, Martha separated herself from the majority of the Hart family.[4] She criticized those family members who worked against her with the WWF.[4]

Diana Hart's Under the Mat[edit]

There is real-life tension between Martha and her sister-in-law Diana Hart-Smith.[1] Martha sued Diana and claims that Diana's book, Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling's Greatest Family, is both slanderous and libelous, and had it removed from markets everywhere; Martha was issued a public apology by the publishers, who were also required to give an undisclosed amount as a donation to the Owen Hart Foundation as stated in the settlement agreement.[5]

Hart Family DVD[edit]

On June 22, 2010, Martha filed another lawsuit against Vince and Linda McMahon, this time for wrongfully using Owen's name and likeness in numerous DVDs under the WWE name, as well as for deceptive business practices, and not paying royalty payments to Owen's estate and his children.[citation needed] On April 4, 2012, Judge Underhill agreed that Martha's claims against the WWE should go forward regarding the use of family/personal photos without her permission - copyright infringement, as well as breach of contract for not paying royalties from money made (and kept) by the WWE from merchandise sold with Owen's likeness since his death in 1999. In April 2013 the lawsuit settled.[6]

Nancy Grace[edit]

On April 9, 2014 Nancy Grace of CNN/HLN ran a show on the death of the Ultimate Warrior Jim Hellwig; the segment focused on wrestlers who had died of drug abuse. During the discussion a list of wrestlers who died 'young' scrolled up in the background, which included Owen Hart's name. Martha Hart wrote to CNN/HLN about the implication, which resulted in Nancy Grace delivering an on-air retraction/apology on April 14, 2014 about the mistake relating specifically to Owen Hart.[citation needed]


In 2002, Martha Hart started writing a book entitled Broken Harts: The Life and Death of Owen Hart that was released in 2004, which is about their life together from when they met as teens and the life they created for their two children. Her book was a #1 Best Seller in Canada, and is now published in several countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, with all of her proceeds allocated to charity.[citation needed]

Owen Hart Foundation[edit]

Owen Hart Foundation logo

In December 2000,[7] she announced the opening of the Owen Hart Foundation; a Charity that provides university/college scholarships for children in need, as well as housing for low income families. The Owen Hart Foundation also supports a number of other worthwhile charities in the Calgary community. Every year, as a tribute to Owen Hart, Martha hosts a high-profile fundraising event for the Owen Hart Foundation. The 2000-2003 charity events were in support of YouVille Women's Residence, a shelter for abused women. Starting in 2004, the charity events have included a guest star; guest stars have included, Bob Newhart, 2004; Paul Anka, 2005; Neil Sedaka, 2006; Bill Cosby, 2007; Howie Mandel, 2008; Jerry Seinfeld, 2009 - 10th Anniversary; Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band, 2010; Russell Brand, 2011; Robin Williams (with special guest David Steinberg), 2012; Steve Martin and Martin Short, 2013; Dane Cook, 2014 - 15th Anniversary. Seth Meyers will be performing on October 2 for the 2015 event.[8] Martha has stated that she started the Owen Hart Foundation to create a meaningful legacy for Owen and because she knew Owen would be happy that she was helping people in his name, especially in the area of education, as education was very important to him and Martha.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Greg Oliver (November 20, 2001). "Martha Hart sues Diana over book". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  2. ^ AP-Reuters (November 9, 2000). "Legal victory bittersweet: Martha Hart". Slam! Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  3. ^ "Hart family feud With WWF suit settled, dead wrestler's widow lashes out at in-laws". 
  4. ^ a b c Eric Francis (November 8, 2000). "Hart family feud: With WWF suit settled, dead wrestler's widow lashes out at in-laws". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  5. ^ "Diana Hart, youngest daughter of Calgary's iconic wrestling clan, finds romance in the ring with Cauliflower Heart trilogy". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ "WWE Lawsuit over Owen Hart's image gets settled". The Inquisitr. 
  7. ^ "About The Owen Hart Foundation". 
  8. ^ "The Owen Hart Foundation". 

Further reading[edit]

  • Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham (2002). Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. Crown. p. 258. ISBN 1-4000-5143-6. 
  • Diana Hart (2001). Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling's Greatest Family. Fenn. p. 200. ISBN 1-55168-256-7. 
  • Walters, Reece (2013). Owen Hart-Life and Death of a Wrestling Star. Amazon Digital Services. pp. 24pp. ASIN B00EIH2VHQ. 
  • Hart, Bruce (2011). Straight from the Hart. ECW Press. pp. 272pp. ISBN 978-1-55022-939-4. 
  • Hart, Julie (2013). Hart Strings: My life with Bret and the Hart Family. Tightrope Books. ISBN 978-1926639635. 
  • Billington, Tom; Coleman, Alison (2001). Pure Dynamite: The Price you Pay for Wrestling Stardom. Winding Stair Press. ISBN 1-55366-084-6. 

External links[edit]