Maria Kanellis was born on February 25, 1982 in Ottawa, Illinois. Prior to entering the world of wrestling she appeared on the reality TV show Outback Jack. That show can best be described as Crocodile Dundee meets the Bachelor. Maria made it to the final three before having her heart broken. But just like the boomerang used in the outback, Maria would return to television in another elimination contest.
2004 Diva Search:
Maria was first introduced to WWE fans as a contestant in the inaugural Diva Search contest. While that contest was won by Christy Hemme, Maria was still offered a contract with the WWE.
Maria became an on-air personality as a backstage announcer. Even though she was a brunette, her character at the time could best be described as a dumb blond. She would frequently make mistakes and appear to be exceptionally ditsy. In addition, to her role as an interviewer, she occasionally stepped into the ring to wrestle and had a segment called the Kiss Cam where she would encourage couples in the audience to kiss each other when they were shown on the Titantron.
Santino Marella and Playboy:
In 2007, Maria started an on-air relationship with Santino Marella. He would frequently take advantage of her innocence and would constantly insult her. The couple started having issues because Ashley, a former Playboy cover girl, informed Maria that Hugh Hefner wants her to appear in the magazine. Santino didn't wish to see his Maria appear in a "Booby Magazine". Despite his objections, she appeared in the magazine that hit shelves shortly before WrestleMania 24.
Celebrity Apprentice and Release:
In late 2009, Maria filmed Celebrity Apprentice. Just a few weeks before the show was scheduled to air on NBC in March of 2010, she was released from the WWE.
Sources: wwe.com, imdb.com, and tv.com