Jeff Hardy has seen many ups and downs during his life and career in professional wrestling. One of those low points came in April 2003, when he was released by WWE. Hardy confirmed the company let him go after he failed a drug test and then refused to enter a drug rehab program.
“That was the first time I denied rehab,” Hardy told Steve Austin on The Broken Skull Sessions. “I was like, ‘Nah! I got this.’ But I was in denial about my issue, my problem.”
Following his 2003 release from WWE, Jeff Hardy would step away from pro wrestling for about a year. He finally returned after signing with TNA in mid-2004.
“I thought I had it down or [had at least] controlled my addiction,” Hardy said. “And then even in TNA I got a little wacky eventually so I ended up getting fired from there for pretty much missing some shows or something.”
Hardy was fired by TNA in 2006. He says TNA never offered him rehab. Hardy went on to open up about how his firing did motivate him to get clean, and it wasn’t long before he was fielding new offers to return to the ring.
“I got clean – cold turkey – on my own and went to some TNA live events at the time, went to a WWE SmackDown in Norfolk, Virginia, I believe,” Hardy recalled. “Told everybody I was clean. It was obvious because I looked a lot different. And man, I had a TNA contract and a WWE contract at my house. So it was another blessing that I had and a decision I had to make. And so naturally I went back to where it started and had a hell of a run with WWE.”
Jeff Hardy’s run in WWE starting in 2006 would eventually lead to him winning the WWE Championship. But things were not perfect behind the scenes during that time. Hardy recalled he failed a drug test under WWE’s new wellness policy about a year after his return to the company.
“I didn’t do drugs until I was 21 or 22 years old,” Hardy explained. “We were on the road, naturally, and Matt and I were against it. It was our invincibility. In high school, we didn’t go to parties. We didn’t drink. We didn’t do none of that because we didn’t like it. But it all changed.”
Jeff Hardy said when he finally committed to entering rehab he was struck by the toll that substance abuse takes on others. Hardy feels lucky to have survived the bouts with drug and alcohol addiction that derailed his career on multiple occasions.
“When I did go to rehab I experienced what it’s like for people to come in and detox,” Hardy recalled. “I had never seen that before and it blew me away. It’s like zombies come in and after five days they’re normal humans and it’s just an interesting thing, the whole addiction, alcoholism – but it had – over the years it got the best of me. Again, I think I’ve experienced everything for a reason. I’m just so happy and blessed to be here right now with you. It’s just incredible to me.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Broken Skull Sessions with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]