Putting himself first. Lio Rush chose to exit The Challenge: Double Agents during the Wednesday, January 20, episode, after realizing that being in the house was negatively affecting his mental health. Earlier in the episode, the former WWE star, 26, shared that he started to struggle in the mornings when waking up in a house of strangers, an experience that reminded him of when he was a child living in a group home.
The wrestler (real name is Lionel Gerard Green), who shares two children with pregnant wife Sarah Green, opened up about the decision to leave after the episode, sharing via social media that leaving wasn’t an easy decision.
“April 2020 I was let go of my dream job with #WWE during the beginning of the pandemic with no real hope of what was next for me in my career. A few weeks later i was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime by MTV and that was to compete on television for 1 million dollars. I’ve always had my dreams of becoming reality TV star, so that was cool too. I was so excited for this unlike anything else. This was hands down the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” he began in a lengthy statement posted alongside a photo of his wife showing off her baby bump. “This was a fresh start and new beginning for me and my family. Unexpectedly I noticed that I’ve never been so vulnerable until this experience in the house. But this is what I’ve been wanting. So afraid to open up. Force to grow up very fast at a young age due to circumstances in my childhood and during that time I’ve made mistakes in my life because what kid doesn’t.”
Rush added that he “experienced so much growth” during his time on the MTV show, especially after being a villain in the WWE.
“I want to stand before you today as a hero. A hero to anyone out there that suffers from depression, anxiety, PTSD or any mental illness. A hero to the boys and girls who look like me. I came into the house knowing that it’ll be a challenge for me mentally on top of the challenge itself,” the musician wrote. “To my @challengemtv fans and to all of the dope people in the house. Thank you for helping me grow. I didn’t walk away with a million dollars, but I walked away with something far much greater that I was expecting. I love you and good luck with the rest of the season. Thank you for all of the incredible memories. I promise I will be back, but for now it’s time for me to get ready for my little one to come into this world and be here for my beautiful wife during our pregnancy.”
Rush isn’t the first one to leave season 36 without being eliminated. Olivia “Liv” Jawando left the show during episode four after suffering an injury, and Natalie Anderson exited in episode 5 after finding out she was pregnant.
The Challenge: Double Agents airs on MTV Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.