Melissa Villaseñor Exited ‘SNL’ Due to Panic Attacks and Mental Health Concerns

"I always felt like I was on the edge of a cliff every week," the "America's Got Talent" alum said.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Melissa Villasenor arrives to the Los Angeles premiere of Disney and Pixar's "Toy Story 4" held on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Melissa Villaseñor

Melissa Villaseñor made history as the first Latina “Saturday Night Live” repertory status cast member, but after six seasons on the sketch comedy series, it was time to part ways.

Villaseñor, who was among the eight “SNL” stars to leave this year, revealed that she had to exit the show due to mental health issues. “It was my decision,” Villaseñor said during The Daily Beast’s “Last Laugh” podcast (via Primetimer). “I gave myself a lot of time in the summer to think on it and play it out in my head. At the end of the day it was about my mental health.”

The comedian, known for celebrity impressions, continued, “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. I was like, I don’t want to be doing that to myself anymore.”

Villaseñor exited alongside Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Alex Moffat, and Aristotle Athari.

“It’s not like the show was mean towards me or anyone. It was just how I handle things. I think I’m an introvert,” Villaseñor said. “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?’ I was like, I think I’m OK. I feel like there’s nothing else that I feel like, oh, I need to be sharing this, I want to do this on the show. I think I’m ready. There was just something telling me, I think I could part ways.”

The “America’s Got Talent” contestant expressed her gratitude for “SNL.”

“I am so grateful for all of them for having me. And I shared with them that this was my kid dream. This is all I wanted as a kid,” Villaseñor said. “So I’m going to carry that forever in my heart, that I got to experience that in my life.”

Fellow former “SNL” star Kate McKinnon previously opened up about her body being “tired” after enduring the “grueling” production schedule for the late-night live series.

“Leaving was in the back of my mind for a while, because it’s just a grueling schedule,” McKinnon said. “I mean, I could do it for the rest of my life, happily, if the schedule were not so grueling and if I was not naturally a person who liked to wake up at 8 a.m. and go to bed at midnight. I was having trouble staying up until 1 a.m. And I was like, ‘OK, I have to go. As scared as I am and as sad as I am, it’s time.'”

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