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AJ Lee Reflects On Her WWE Departure, Why It Was ‘Exactly What It Needed To Be’

AJ Lee believes the end of her WWE career was exactly what it needed to be.

Former WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee was the latest guest on The Sessions with Renee Paquette to discuss a wide variety of subjects. When asked about Vince McMahon‘s response when she told him that he was departing WWE, she said that he was very kind and told him that the door was always open if she wanted to come back.

“He was very kind,” AJ Lee revealed. “He was just like, ‘the door’s always open if you want to come back.’ and that to me was I don’t know like I know it’s different for some people, but to me, it was so important to go out on top on my own terms. I had seen you can go back, there’s a lot of people who get buried in there at the end and I got to like win at Mania and go and so, it just all felt like it was the right time the right way. I couldn’t do anything else. There wasn’t anything else I wanted to do in my career. I feel like I checked everything off. And for it to be like, Okay, go fly. Go be free. Yeah, I appreciated that. I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience with them. For me, it was exactly what it needed to be.”

Some fans often have trouble separating the character they see on programming compared to the real person. When asked if she had any identity issues of her own when she retired from WWE, AJ Lee said she always did her best to maintain a separation between AJ Mendez and AJ Lee.

“I think every wrestler I’ve ever talked to that retired has that moment,” AJ Lee said. “There’s two sides to it. I think you have to grieve the death of this life and this character, right? Because there’s so much for me one of the things that like I’ve always maintained my mental health is keeping a separation between AJ Mendez and AJ Lee this character and knowing that like I’m playing a character on a TV show, and that’s why I can be bold and brash and a dick because like, I know it’s like fake, but in wrestling, the lines do blur, right? So a lot of people take a lot of stuff personally.

“I think I saved my own life by not being that way and being able to be like, okay, that character is retired, and Mendes is still here in full. And I’ve seen a lot of people kind of lose their way because they don’t know that separation. So they are like, ‘Well, who am I without this?’ But because I loved it so much, there is a grieving process where right after wrestling, I went right into writing the book. And so I was so busy and the book came out, we did the tour, and it did really well. And then the tour was done. And then I was home.

“I am a mental health advocate. I talked about it often that I live with bipolar disorder, and it hit me really hard. I went into this really long depression because that lull in business coincided with my family getting trapped in this hurricane in Puerto Rico and me not knowing if they were alive and having this team go in to get proof of life and get water to them so they could survive. It was a very traumatic couple of weeks. And it just was the same time where like, I didn’t know what was happening in life.

“So I went through this really really long like four-month depression it was a very, very dark and work is what got me out of that as it always has my safe place has always been breeding these like fantastical worlds and we’re talking about yesterday. When I was this homeless kid and living in like motels I would draw comic books in a notebook. And like that was the only thing that saved my life. It was something to focus on. So I could be anywhere but here and so that’s why I started to do it was like okay, well, what’s the next writing thing I want to do? That saves my brain. That’s how I got into getting back into film and television writing and comic book writing.”

READ MORE: AJ Lee: CM Punk’s Return Didn’t Spark Anything For Her Own Comeback, She Found A New Challenge With WOW

What do you make of AJ Lee’s comments? Do you miss seeing her perform inside the ring? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below.

If you use any of the quotes above, please credit The Sessions with a link back to this article for the transcription.