LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The videos are disturbing. They show pro-wrestler Chyna often babbling, incoherent, disheveled.
They were shot weeks and days before she died.
The cellphone videos have been released exclusively to KCAL9.
They show Chyna looking a lot different from her glamazon persona during her WWE days. She was found dead April 20 in her Redondo Beach apartment.
Chyna, born Joan Marie Lauer, possibly died as the result of an overdose of prescription pills.
KCAL9’s Jennifer Kastner was the only reporter who got an interview with Chyna’s best friend — filmmaker Rob Potylo. He gave her the videos.
They are painful to watch but he said he wanted people to know more about the battles of substance abuse. The official cause of her death is still pending further investigation.
At times she is emotional and raw, at other times dramatic acting out a movie scene. In one video she has a huge bruise almost covering the entire side of her face — she says it was caused by a champagne bottle.
“When she was really starting to lose it she couldn’t hide it anymore,” Potylo says.
He’s, of course, shattered by her death. Potylo says his 46-year-old friend sent him the videos since he was working on a documentary about her life.
Since her halcyon days in the WWE, she battled substance abuse and depression.
He wants the world to see all sides of addition and mental illness.
“That’s the thing that bothered me about Chyna that you know it was only the side of her that she was just a party girl train wreck. You know she couldn’t handle her alcohol and I wanted to show the tortured side. That this was a human being that was just suffering during those last couple of weeks,” Potylo says.
For a time, the two were inseparable — even roommates.
They often made funny videos togsther, like a yoga spoof he showed Kastner.
“She was like this alternative chick you would’ve gone to college with and she would make you laugh and she’d do all these silly quotes from ‘Pulp Fiction’ and she would do quotes from ‘Mommie Dearest’ and she would just crack you up,” Potylo says.
Potylo hopes his friend is remembered more than just for her dramatic fall from grace and that she is recognized as the intelligent, successful and empowering role model she once was.
Potylo says he notified Chyna’s management about her injuries and declining state but he says they never sought professional treatment for her.
Kastner called them for a comment but has not heard back.