Former Wrestling Star Chyna's Troubling Past

Troubled pro-wrestling icon Chyna died April 20th, 2016 inside her apartment in Redondo Beach, Calif., according to The New York Times. Chyna, whose real name was Joan Marie Laurer, leaves behind a life story filled with scandals and heartbreak that redefined her once powerful career. Where did things go wrong? In the wake of her death, which reports say may have been caused by a drug overdose, we examine her life's most troubling warning signs.

Her sex tape destroyed her self-worth

In 2004, a sex tape that Laurer filmed with her on-again, off-again wrestler boyfriend, Sean "X-Pac" Waltman, was released by Red Light District Video under the title 1 Night in China. The film was the top selling adult DVD that year, but Laurer said she received no compensation, and the experience took an intense toll on her mental health. "The fact of the matter is, I was not mentally well," she told The Daily Beast in 2011. "That tape happened to me. It was done to me. It traumatized me. When that came out, I felt really duped. That was life-changing in a really negative way." According to the report, the video "compelled her to attempt suicide on several occasions" over the course of 2004.

She was arrested

Laurer's relationship with Waltman was tumultuous. In 2005, she was arrested and charged with beating Waltman after returning from the Playboy mansion, according to The New York Times. Shortly after Laurer's arrest, Waltman reportedly shared his side of the story on the message board of his official website. "She assualted [sic] me struck me in the head and face countless times...She showed no remorse." Waltman supposedly wrote (via Wrestle Zone).

She became a messy reality star

On the heels of the publicity she received from 1 Night in China, Laurer was cast on the VH1 reality series The Surreal Life. Her personal struggles ultimately spilled into the taping of the show, and at one point, she admitted to cast members that she downed a bottle of pills to cope with relationship problems. Waltman paid an unexpected visit to the show during filming, prompting cast members to try to intervene on Laurer's behalf.

Following The Surreal Life, Laurer made headlines again when she joined Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008. Throughout the season, she repeatedly denied addiction problems, despite multiple confrontations from cast members and Dr. Drew, who wondered if she'd become addicted to steroids. According to a recap of the show from Jezebel, Laurer finally admitted during the season finale that she might have some form of addiction and agreed to enter a sober house coordinated by the show.

She was hospitalized multiple times

Shortly after her stint on Celebrity Rehab, Laurer was hospitalized after reportedly drinking too much on her 38th birthday in 2008. "Friends found her passed out with cuts on her arms and were so worried, they called 911," sources told TMZ. In 2010, Laurer was reportedly hospitalized again after taking "4 to 5 times the prescribed amount" of Benadryl to help her sleep, according to TMZ. She was reported to have been hospitalized yet again in 2012 after collapsing at the Exxxotica Expo in Miami, but Laurer refuted those claims to E! Online. "I wasn't taken to the hospital, but to my hotel room where I rested a bit." she said. "...I think I overdid it with the cold medicine and a glass of wine at lunch today. I feel much better now and intend to go out to the pool."

She joined the porn industry

Laurer's public image continued to sour when she made the conscious decision to work in the pornographic movie industry around 2009. To her credit, the former wrestler enjoyed a fairly successful second career as an adult film actress. Between 2009 and 2013, she appeared in everything from Another Night in China (2009), to Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody (2012), and She Hulk XXX: A Porn Parody (2013). Starring in pornos also did wonders for her self esteem. "This tape empowered me," she told The Daily Beast while promoting Backdoor to Chyna in 2011. "I felt respected. I felt beautiful. I got paid well. This movie didn't happen to me. I cast it. I was involved from beginning to end."

She virtually disappeared

In recent years, Laurer took a deliberate step away from the spotlight after becoming frustrated with what she said were misconceptions about her in the media. "That's when I decided to remove myself from that," Laurer told Vice Sports in 2015, "Go across the world, regroup, do my thing...and give back to another part of the world." Laurer spent a few years in Japan where she taught English.

She just posted a really weird video to YouTube

In the days before her death, Laurer posted a strange video to YouTube that suggested something might be amiss. The haunting 13-minute clip, titled "Wake up!," features a very tired-looking Laurer rambling and slurring her words to the camera while she makes a smoothie. Nothing incriminating is shown in the video, but since initial reports say she might have died from a drug overdose inside her apartment, it's hard not to assume that her final days were dark and sad.