WWE Hall Of Famer Kurt Angle Opens Up About Abusing Painkillers, DUIs & Rehab

WWE and Impact Wrestling Hall of Famer Kurt Angle recently appeared on "The Joe Rogan Experience" to talk about his addiction and recovery in the wake of his Peacock documentary "Angle" being released.

"After I broke my neck the second, the first time in WWE, I was introduced to painkillers," Angle recalled. "When I started taking them, I really liked it. It masked the pain, I couldn't feel the pain. It kind of gave me an energetic feel. It didn't make me feel nauseous like it does a lot of people. I was taking one every four to six hours like I was told, but after a while, you build a tolerance and one doesn't work anymore."

Angle continued to increase his extra-strength Vicodin dosage until he ended up taking 65 pills a day. He tried hiding it from WWE despite knowing he was in serious trouble.

"It kept me from going through withdrawals, but there were times where I passed out. The company knew, some of my friends knew. I'll give you an example. There was one point in my career where my brother called me. I was at a house show for WWE. It was the night before the biggest match of my career with Brock Lesnar. An Iron Man match on 'SmackDown.' My brother calls me and says, 'Hey, your sister just died of a heroin overdose.' And it crushed me."

Passing Out Before The Biggest Match Of His Career

Angle explained that he hadn't spoken to his sister for eight months at that point because he threatened to cut off communication if she didn't get clean.

"So, here I am in a hotel room. I looked at my pills, I said, 'F*** it.' I took 20 of them and put them in my mouth, chewed them up, and swallowed them. I didn't wake up til five o'clock in the afternoon the next day, and I had the biggest match of my career that night."

"We had to be there at one but I didn't get there til 5:30," Angle recalled. "I ended up doing it. WWE was trying to call me the whole time. 'You can go home, plan the funeral for your sister, you don't have to do this match.' But I kept thinking, 'I know my sister would want me to do it.' I knew I wouldn't have to feel the pain of losing my sister, at least for that hour. So I went ahead and did it and it was actually one of my best performances of my career, which is kind of crazy. The painkillers are the one thing I do regret. I wish I was never introduced to them."

Angle admitted there were times he needed the pain relief, but he found himself in a position where he would wake up each morning in a withdrawal and have 15 pills waiting on his bedside table.

Four DUI's In Five Years

The Olympic gold medalist continued, "I left WWE because they wanted me to go to rehab and I didn't want to go. So I ended up going to another company called Impact Wrestling. I got my painkiller problem under control there because I found a doctor that got me on MS Contin. They're two morphine pills. They're very tiny, but they'll keep you from going through withdrawal. So I would take one at morning, one at night, no more painkillers. They were painkillers because they were morphine, but they were high-dose. It was just two of them I had to take."

"Well, I started having anxiety about breaking my neck over and over again, so they put me on Xanax. Now I'm taking Xanax, and I switched to TNA Impact Wrestling and everybody drank there. So I started drinking alcohol. So I'm mixing, having these cocktails, and I'm so out of control that I'm driving from town to town drinking a 12-pack of beer. I got four DUIs in five years. I lost my reputation, everything I worked for. I was at the lowest point in my life."

Angle remembered calling his wife from jail and she threatened to take the kids and leave if he didn't go to rehab. Ultimately, he chose rehab. He called the first withdrawal the worst experience he ever had as that process lasted the first six days of his month-long stay at the facility.

12 Years Sober

Angle also revealed the lengths he would go to while addicted, which included having 12 different doctors on rotation.

"I had 12 doctors that I was calling," Angle revealed. "I had 12 different pharmacies because you can't go to the same pharmacy twice in one month. Then I had a Mexican contact where I got them illegally. So I was getting about 2,700 pills a month. That's all you think about is, 'How are you gonna get your drug the next time?' So I had this calendar and every day it tells me which doctor to contact. So I have all these things set up so I can get what I need. It takes over your life."

The two-time Hall of Famer stated that he is now 12 years sober and doesn't have a lot of triggers anymore. He admitted that he did struggle with the pain when dealing with various surgeries in recent years.

When asked about how his double knee replacement went last year, Angle said, "Really good. My doctor's really progressive. He got me out of bed the day of surgery, had me walking around. It was ridiculous. [laughs] I left the hospital without using anything. I walked out of the hospital the next day."

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "The Joe Rogan Experience" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.