ROMAN REIGNS has revealed he was “terrified” to let WWE fans know he was battling with Leukemia that forced him to vacate the Universal Championship last year.
Reigns, real name Joe Anoa’I, thankfully made a triumphant return to Vince McMahon’s company in March to declare that his cancer is in remission.
The 33-year-old was once a polarizing figure in WWE and Reigns admitted he was nervous about fans reactions when he finally shared his secret.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It was a night of mixed emotions. On one hand, I was terrified, because I’m sharing this news with the whole world.
“A huge wave of opinions and criticism I knew was going to be coming my way. But, on the other hand, I was excited to finally be able to share this huge part of me. Something I kind of held as a secret.
On one hand, I was terrified, but, on the other, I was excited to finally be able to share this huge part of me
“To be honest, once I made the announcement, once I felt the crowd, and then on top of that, once the night was over and I got the feedback on social media – Twitter, Instagram, all of the above – the outpour of love and support was what really made it known to me that this was the right thing to do.”
The dad-of-three revealed how the experience had changed since he had first battled cancer when he was attempting to kickstart an NFL career at the age of just 22.
Reigns added: “It was totally different. I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a job, I was aspiring to be an NFL football player. On top – I was chasing a very physical job.
“And with all that happening, my wife was pregnant. That was a time when I felt like I was on an island. I felt like CML Leukemia was going to take my life, it was – whether I survived or not I wasn’t going to be able to do the things that I wanted to do.
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“I wasn’t going to be able to achieve the goals that I had set out to do since I was a little boy. So, for me, I was very bitter. But I kept it in.
“When you’re drowning you want to reach out to people and a lot of times you can pull them down. You can be a hindrance to another person.
“But this is a different type of water. This is one of those places where, the more the merrier. I don’t think you can ever have too much help.”