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Kate McKinnon breaks silence on ‘SNL’ exit: ‘My body was tired'

The former "Saturday Night Live" cast member was part of the show for a decade before she decided to depart in May.
/ Source: TODAY

In May, "Saturday Night Live" marked the end of an era by bidding a goodbye to four of its castmates, including fan-favorite Kate McKinnon.

For the first time since her "SNL" exit, McKinnon revealed the reason she left the show after 11 successful seasons on a Thursday segment of "Live with Kelly and Ryan."

McKinnon said it wasn't an easy decision to make. The actor and comedian has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards for her work on the show, winning twice. Over the past decade, she's created and played characters that have taken the internet by storm.

"It was very, very hard," she said about making her decision. "All I ever wanted to do in my whole life was be on 'Saturday Night Live.'"

77th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
Kate McKinnon attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

But when it came down to it, McKinnon said a decade of work took a lot out of her — physically and mentally.

"I loved it. I had the best decade, and then I was just like ... my body was tired, and I felt like it was time," McKinnon said.

While she stands by her decision to step away when it felt right for her, McKinnon said she still can't bring herself to tune into the show on Saturday nights because of the memories it brings back for her.

"It's just too emo because I miss everyone so much," she said, calling her "SNL" co-stars her "other family." McKinnon called Season 47 her last alongside Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson.

Instead, the actor joked that maybe she'll tape an episode of "The Bachelorette" to watch on Saturdays until she can hear "Live from New York, it's 'Saturday Night Live!'" from the other side of the camera.

McKinnon is the longest-running female cast member in the sketch comedy show's history. She's also been featured in numerous films, including "Ghostbusters," "The Spy Who Dumped Me" and "Bombshell." Currently, she's filming Greta Gerwig's highly- anticipated "Barbie" movie that is due out next year.