WWE Superstar Lacey Evans is a proud veteran.
The star served in the Marines before taking her career to the ring and is preparing for the organization’s annual “Tribute to the Troops” event.
Ahead of the special salute, the 30-year-old wrestler spoke with The Wrap about her time in the military and what it means to her.
Evans was a member of the U.S. Marines’ special reaction team, a job that ran “24 hours a day, seven days a week,” as she put it.
Despite the intensity of such a position, Evans said that her time with the Marines “honestly saved my life.”
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“Growing up, I did not have the role models that I needed. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I didn’t know what a positive, happy, healthy lifestyle looked like,” she recalled.
The Superstar added: “All I knew, while looking around, [was] my dysfunctional, drug-infested, mental health. Anger, depression. It seeped [into] and destroyed my family. That’s the life that I knew.”
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At 19, Evans — real name Macey Estrella-Kadlec — enlisted in the Marines, imagining it to be “most challenging s–t” she could get herself into. During her time in the armed forces, she learned “confidence, discipline and grit.”
However, it’s not just the servicemen and women that Evans is hoping to honor.
“I know not only what the military goes through — the veterans, the active-duty — but their spouses, their kids,” she said. “They’re going through hell. The divorce rate’s high, the arguments are high. The veterans are tired, the active-duty — they go through a lot.”
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In fact, the star chose her career path in the Military Police with the “babies that don’t have a helping hand” in mind.
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“Tribute to the Troops” will air on FOX on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT following any 1 p.m. NFL games, and 3 p.m. ET/noon PT following any 4:05 p.m. games.