Lillian Garcia and Paige promised an emotional edition of Chasing Glory, and when the Raw Superstar starts with, “I’ve definitely hit rock bottom this past year,” you know they weren’t overselling it.
In the two hour show, Garcia and Paige cover her entire life and career. But they really dig into the two-time Divas champion’s rough 2017.
On the subject of the personal, explicit videos and photos which were posted online without her consent, Paige reveals just how much that invasion of her privacy and the public reaction to it (which is still continuing, as she shares a story of having just been approached recently by a guy calling her “that porn girl” and making rude references to the recordings) affected her:
“I barricaded myself in the house for a couple of months. I was so sad... to the point like I was contemplating suicide - I was so sad and that’s why I was doing so much stupid stuff. I was like drinking heavily - I wasn’t doing drugs at that point, I did drugs before that you know - but I was just in a really, really really bad place... I was so low, I got so skinny, I ended up collapsing with exhaustion in hospital in England and they told me at the time, it was kind of like stress-induced anorexia... I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, I lost all my hair...”
Based on that reference to using drugs, Lillian gets Paige to open up about her WWE Wellness policy suspensions. She admits to using unspecified illegal substances, and discusses what led to her publicly denying that - and WWE issuing a rare statement shooting down her denial:
“I just got so wrapped up in like drinking and I want to drink some more so I do that kind of stuff... and I just got so wrapped up in the party lifestyle and I would just want to be cool and I finally had a bunch of friends that liked me, you know, but not really liked you, you know, just ‘oh cool you’re spending money on us’. I felt free, like I was reliving a childhood that I never had.
I didn’t even enjoy it, I didn’t even enjoy doing drugs. It was wild to me. But you just get caught up in this lifestyle and you’re just like ‘wah, whatever - this is me.’ No, it’s not me. It’s far from me. You know, I am not that person...”
Lillian calls her on this a bit, saying “but also, you chose”...
“I completely chose to do it and I hold my hands up in there and I say ‘I made a mistake. That was me, that’s all my fault.’
I took it, it was my fault - I was very dumb. Unfortunately I did the drug test and they popped it and unfortunately I tried to cover it up a little bit and I feel very stupid, but I was very embarrassed. Because the first one wasn’t actually from drugs, that’s just not doing it in the alloted time. Which is kind of my bad, but it was a very confusing situation, I don’t know what happened there. But the physical drug test, I passed. But the second one, that was completely dumb. That was me being stupid.
I was just very embarrassed and I was like ‘okay, I have to try and cover this up somehow’. And I lied to my family about it, too. You know, I told them it was this, and it wasn’t. And I tried to come up with everything to try to make myself not look terrible, cause I built myself on being this role model that you be yourself, you can do whatever you want - not this person that’s running around doing drugs and partying all the time. I never wanted to be that person. I was just so humiliated, because it was everywhere. And obviously, WWE had to cover themselves because I completely said something that was completely inappropriate.
I was never mad at WWE for doing that. It kind of gave me the kick on the butt I needed, like, ‘Hey. This is your job, they freaking love you and you should have been fired years ago - many a times,’ you know? But they were so fantastic. They definitely helped me - they’re still helping me now... and even up until now, they’ve always stuck by me when I needed them.”
She goes into more depth about who helped her at WWE and how, the reception she got upon returning and how Stephanie McMahon continues to motivate her:
“Mark Carrano (Head of Talent Relations) would call me everyday, ‘Hey, are you okay? Hey, do you need help? Do you need this, do you need that?’ And he got me the help that I needed. Actually Rosa Mendes got me in touch with a therapist from the WWE, and she was very inspiring to me and she stopped drinking altogether... she was like ‘This helped me, I know it’s gonna help you’.
WWE is like a big family. You don’t realize it until you step away from it and come back and see like the real picture. As soon as I did come back, I got to speak to Hunter, Vince, Stephanie and they were all just like ‘We believe in you and we know you can be something, you know, just go show people what you can do. We’re just happy that you’re healthy and you’re back home.’
I was psyching myself out before the day I made my debut and Stephanie literally came up to me and whispered in my ear, ‘You are gonna be fine. Don’t psych yourself out. You are home, this is your house.’ She was just pumping me up and I just feel like she’s a very inspiring woman, like very empowering. You know, I look at her and I see like all the stuff she’s probably gone through in her life, too. And she even said to me, ‘We’ve all done [things]... but you can also recreate and rebuild yourself and make yourself into a bigger success and you can help people.’ She even said, ‘You can start helping people now, with your journey, you can now help others.’“
For those wondering, while her “last relationship” is referenced a lot, there’s not many specific mentions of Alberto El Patron. She confirms they’ve split, basically explaining the reasons in the same way Alberto did to Konnan - their careers are keeping them geographically apart, she currently wants to focus on herself while he focuses on his family and they continue to want the best for one another. But that’s it. The Orlando Airport incident which led to their last series of headlines is not addressed at all.
If you’ve got the time and are in the mood for an emotional podcast, check Chasing Glory out here. If you don’t or aren’t, know that it does sound like Paige is headed to a much, much better 2018.