Paige recently spoke to Fox News about her successful career in WWE, which included multiple Divas Title reigns prior to her retiring. Paige has since been featured on television as the SmackDown general manager and, more recently, the valet for The Kabuki Warriors, Asuka and Kairi Sane.
Paige took some time to open up about how devastated she felt when a leaked sex tape of herself, Xavier Woods, and then-WWE superstar Brad Maddox went viral online years ago. She describes the experience as “publicly humiliating”, and remembers how she was losing her hair and eating scarcely because of the emotional scars.
“Obviously, it’s very hard to stay positive when you have something that’s so publicly humiliating to yourself and then still to this day, this was over two years ago now. I did suffer a lot,” Paige revealed. “I did. Just emotionally because at the time I was having my neck surgery too, and I had stress-induced anorexia. I lost all my hair. I had some really horrible thoughts. I had to go to therapy. It took me a while to get over because obviously, no woman wants to go through that.
“But at the same time, I was like, ‘OK I can’t change this.’ Same with me not being able to wrestle,” Paige recalled. “I can’t change this. There’s nothing I can do about it. So why am I still dwelling on it? It happened. People have seen it. Like I can use this to help others now, you know? And it really does because I don’t look at it as a mistake. Everyone’s done that kind of stuff and it happened a long time ago when I was young and dumb and stuff happens and then you know, unfortunately it was released but I’m just like, “Hey, it is what it is. I can’t change it.”
Paige is using this negative experience to positively impact the futures of other women. She and The Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie Bella, have been advising young girls to be wary of what they share through their phones.
“And so now I’m going with the Bella Twins and we went to a woman’s hostel place, with kids and stuff, like I get to go talk to kids about it, I’m just like, ‘Hey, like never do something when it comes to your phones.’ Because like this is a different world nowadays,” Paige said. “Like things come out and things happen so I was like, ‘You have to think twice before you make the same kind of mistake as I did.’ So now I get to use it and utilize it on a different platform and help others with it. So I’m like it’s a horrible thing that happened, but now it’s a tool to help the next generation of people you know?”
Paige remembered a specific experience that she had with a young girl in a supermarket that would be the wake up call she needed to pull herself together. This would be the catalyst for Paige to actually accept WWE’s help and see specialists about her struggles.
“Honestly, you surround yourself with toxic people, then that doesn’t really help [your hardships],” Paige explained. “So what I did because I remember walking through a supermarket and I was, I looked terrible because you know I was, I unfortunately did, I’m very open about this and I love to talk about it just because again it helps others ? but I was, I unfortunately, popped the drug test in WWE because I was just going through a bad stage in my life and I was just so depressed that I just turned to something else you know?
“And I remember going through a supermarket and I looked terrible. Like I had no makeup on,” Paige recalled. “My hair was matted and falling out and I was really skinny. Like extremely skinny to the point where like you could see that I was very sick. But there was a little girl that came up to me and she looked at me like I was just the queen of everything because she doesn’t go on social media. She doesn’t understand it yet but she’s looking up at me, and she was like, “Paige I want to be like you one day.” And I was like, “What the hell am I doing?” For some reason like you’re in this bubble and then you just like click out of it and you’re just like, ‘What the hell am I doing?'”
Paige noted how adamant her family and friends were that she get help before things became as severe as they did, however, she felt too far gone for them to reach her. She believes that she is in a much better place with her health and looks forward to what the future holds.
“I didn’t listen to my family, my friends. My work was trying to help me, constantly trying to reach out, and I completely just blocked it all out because I was in such a bad place, and this little girl just managed to make me snap out of it,” Paige said. “I was like, ‘Wow I’m a role model and what I’m doing right now is not very role model-esque.’ So I was like I want to have this little girl look at me in the future and be like, ‘Wow, look what she overcame. Not what overcame her.’ So I was just like OK. After that I was like, ‘I need to get my life together.’ So I did.
“I reached out to WWE and they gave me all the help that I needed when it came to therapy with everything you know emotionally and substance and everything ? they helped me and that was like a few years ago. So now I feel like I’m stronger than ever,” Paige continued. “It was all thanks to that little girl just looking at me and just being like, ‘You’re it for me. Please don’t mess up your life.’ So yeah, it’s the fans man who did it. They did it. Yeah, a couple of years later here we are! Getting the movie out there! Feeling healthy and happy!”