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Melissa Villaseñor Reveals Why She Left Saturday Night Live After 6 Seasons

Melissa Villasenor Leaves SNL Saturday Night Live

Former Saturday Night Live cast member Melissa Villaseñor is sharing more about her choice to leave the NBC series, citing mental health struggles as a major factor.

“It was my decision. I gave myself a lot of time in the summer to think on it and play it out in my head,” Villaseñor told The Daily Beast’s Last Laugh podcast on Monday. “At the end of the day, it was about my mental health. Last season, I had a couple panic attacks. I was struggling, and I always felt like I was on the edge of a cliff every week. I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that to myself anymore.'”

The comedian went on to clarify that “it’s not like the show was mean toward me or anyone.” Rather, she described herself as an introvert who tends to “get small” in big groups or overwhelming situations akin to the ones she regularly experienced on SNL.

“I get nervous, like, ‘Where do I fit? What am I supposed to do?’… I think that’s what caused it,” she continued. “There was just something telling me I could part ways. It was super hard, because I love Lorne [Michaels], and I’m so grateful to all of them for having me. This was my kid dream. This was all I wanted as a kid. I carry that forever in my heart that I got to experience that in my life.”

Villaseñor — who joined SNL at the start of Season 42 — was among a whopping eight cast members to exit the sketch series ahead of its current 48th season. Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson were the first to depart during the Season 47 finale in May, followed by Villaseñor, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd and featured player Aristotle Athari during the summer hiatus.

New episodes of SNL air Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c; rapper Jack Harlow will serve as host and musical guest for the Oct. 29 installment.

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