/Melissa Villaseñor Says Panic Attacks Led To Super Hard Exit From SNL

Melissa Villaseñor Says Panic Attacks Led To Super Hard Exit From SNL

Another member of the great “Saturday Night Live” cast exodus is speaking out about their decision to leave the show.

Melissa Villaseñor, one of the eight stars who parted ways with the long-running sketch series after its 47th season, is opening up about her exit, revealing she struggled with mental health issues behind the scenes.

“It was my decision,” she said in an interview with The Daily Beast published Tuesday. “At the end of the day it was about my mental health. Last season, I had a couple of panic attacks. I think it was just… I was struggling. I always felt like I was on the edge of a cliff every week. And I was like, I don’t want to be doing that to myself anymore.”

The comedian, who made history as the first-ever Latina cast member, said that her reason for leaving after six seasons was not because the “show was mean towards me or anyone.”

She explained, “It was just how I handle things. I think I’m an introvert. When I’m in a big group of a lot of amazing people, and everyone’s speaking over everyone else, I think I tend to get small. I get nervous, like, where do I fit? What am I supposed to do? That’s how I was in high school, too. And so I think that’s what caused it.”

Melissa Villaseñor and anchor Colin Jost during Weekend Update.
Melissa Villaseñor and anchor Colin Jost during Weekend Update.

Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney Chris Redd, Alex Moffat and Aristotle Athar all also left the show after the Season 47 finale, setting the stage for a major upheaval.

“SNL” has since added four new cast members for Season 48, which premiered earlier this month.

Villaseñor broke her silence about her exit back in September after it was announced that she was among a second batch of cast members who opted not to return for the next season.

Describing her exit as “super hard,” Villaseñor expressed gratitude to everyone involved, noting, “I love Lorne [Michaels] and I am so grateful for all of them for having me.”

She added, “This is all I wanted as a kid. So I’m going to carry that forever in my heart, that I got to experience that in my life.”

Despite admitting that it’s a “little tough” to watch the show this season, the comedian said she “almost [feels] reborn” after her decision.

McKinnon shared a similar sentiment in July about watching “SNL” as a non-cast member.

She also spoke about the physical toll of performing at the same caliber week after week over her Emmy-winning 11-season run.

“I thought about it for a very long time, and it was very, very hard,” McKinnon revealed. “All I ever wanted to do in my whole life was be on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ So, I did, I loved it, I had the best decade, and then I was just like, my body was tired, and I felt like it was time.”

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