EXCLUSIVE: Maria Kanellis on Donald Trump firing her from 'Celebrity Apprentice' for 'locker room' talk

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Donald Trump came under fire this week for vulgar, denigrating remarks he made in an audio recording from 2005, later excusing the conversation as "locker room talk." However, "locker room" talk was the precise reason the Republican presidential nominee fired professional wrestler Maria Kanellis during the third season of Celebrity Apprentice in 2010.

Kaneillis spoke with ET on Tuesday, where she opened up about her firing and the 70-year-old business mogul's controversial "Trump Tape."

"He fired me for what I said, and what he said was much worse so," Kanellis shared. "My hope is that he gets fired as the Republican nominee."

See photos of Maria Kanellis through the years:

26 PHOTOS
Maria Kanellis through the years
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Maria Kanellis through the years
WWE Diva and Playboy model Maria (aka Maria Kanellis) appears on March 6, 2007 at Virgin Megastore in Times Square, New York City. (Photo by George Napolitano/FilmMagic)
CENTURY CITY, CA - APRIL 03: Playboy Cover Girl and WWE Diva Maria Kanellis arrives at 'Characters Welcome' USA Network celebrates it's Lineup of Stars on April 3, 2008 at CRAFT in Century City, California. (Photo by Ryan Born/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03: WWE wrestler Triple H and WWE diva Maria Kanellis attend a press conference announcing that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon will be giving away one million dollars each week on USA channels Monday Night Raw on June 3, 2008 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)
TOKYO - SEPTEMBER 07: WWE Diva Maria Kanellis attends the WWE 'Summer Slam' Tokyo viewing party at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Stellar Ball on September 7, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 19: ***EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE*** WWE's Maria Kanellis arrives at Generation Rescue's Event Hosted by Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey on July 19, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/WireImage)
CULVER CITY, CA - OCTOBER 16: Wrestler and model Maria Kanellis attends the Spring 2009 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 16, 2008 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: WWE Diva Maria Kanellis attends WWE's opening night party honoring the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania and 20th Century Fox/WWE's upcoming feature film '12 Rounds' at Haven by HFM on February 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/WireImage)
Maria Kanellis attends day one of the Haven Oscar Suite on February 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/WireImage)
(L-R) Kofi Kingston, Maria Kanellis, Ted DiBiase, Kelly Kelly and Cody Rhodes of WWE attend day one of the Haven Oscar Suite on February 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jordin Althaus/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 21: Wrestler Maria Kanellis arrives at the WWE's SummerSlam Kickoff Party at H-Wood Club on August 21, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: ***EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE*** Summer Sanders, Maria Kanellis, Holly Robinson Peete, Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper and Carol Leifer, the Womens team for the cast of 'Celebrity Apprentice 3' for first challenge, pose on the streets of Manhattan on October 18, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- 'Marketing Event' Episode 902 -- Pictured: Maria Kanellis -- Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBCU Photo Bank
THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- Episode 903 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sharon Osbourne, Maria Kanellis, Cyndi Lauper -- Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBCU Photo Bank
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06: Model Maria Kanellis arrives at the 2010 Official BCS National Championship Party at the Pasadena Convention Center on January 6, 2010 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)
TV Personality Maria Kanellis arrives at the 11th annual Maxim Hot 100 Party with Harley-Davidson, ABSOLUT VODKA, Ed Hardy Fragrances, and ROGAINE held at Paramount Studios on May 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Professional Wrestler Maria Kanellis attends GBK's Gift Lounge for the 2010 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters Day 1 at the Mondrian Hotel on January 16, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- Episode 911 -- Pictured: (l-r) Maria Kanellis, Curtis Stone -- Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
NEW YORK - MAY 23: Maria Kanellis attends 'The Celebrity Apprentice' Season 3 finale after party at the Trump SoHo on May 23, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Moises De Pena/FilmMagic)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 10: Maria Kanellis attends the NBC Universal press tour cocktail party at The Langham Resort on January 10, 2010 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
MALIBU, CA - JULY 10: Maria Kanellis at the Steve Garvey Celebrity Softball Game for ALS Research at Pepperdine University's Eddy D. Field Stadium on July 10, 2010 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Maria Kanellis attends Fashion-On-The-Go hair styling services celebration at Duane Reade on May 6, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Model and professional wrestler Maria Kanellis attends Fashion-On-The-Go hair styling services celebration at Duane Reade in Rockefeller Center on May 6, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 18: Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis attends Wizard World's Philadelphia Comic Con 2011 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on June 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Model/Actress Maria Kanellis arrives for the 'Benchwarmer Stars and Stripes Celebration Benefiting the Children of the Night' event at The Colony on June 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 17: Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis attends Wizard World's Philadelphia Comic Con 2011 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on June 17, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
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RELATED: Donald Trump Once Fired a 'Celebrity Apprentice' Contestant for 'Locker Room' Talk

On Monday, The Daily Show dug up a clip of the NBC competition series in which Kanellis told one of her fellow contestants, celebrity chef Curtis Stone, "The reason why I said you were so arrogant was because you came in our dressing room and you took a crap and left the stench in the room."

Trump criticized Kanellis for her comments, which he referred to as "sort of gross" and "a little below the belt," before dropping the axe: "This is my boardroom, it's not a locker room," he told Kanellis. "Maria, you're fired."

According to the TNA wrestler, she didn't really "make the connection" between Trump's language when firing her and his dismissal of his misogynistic 2005 remarks until she saw an article about it on Monday.

"When I first saw it I was astounded that anybody remembered it," she admitted. "But then again, we are talking about a presidential nominee. When he is a hypocrite about things that he says, I guess then it starts to become a news story."

WATCH: Nancy O'Dell Addresses Donald Trump Comments on 'Entertainment Tonight'

Last week, audio was released of a hot mic conversation between Trump and then-Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush, in which Trump said he could "just start kissing" women, among other graphic examples of sexual assault, because "when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."

See photos of Donald Trump and Mark Burnett, the creator of "The Apprentice":

17 PHOTOS
Donald Trump with 'The Apprentice' creator Mark Burnett
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Donald Trump with 'The Apprentice' creator Mark Burnett
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during NBC 2003-2004 Upfront at The Metropolitan Opera House lincoln Center in New York City, New York USA. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
New York real estate mogul Donald Trump (L) and TV producer Mark Burnett talk to reporters, April 8, 2003 in New York City. Burnett is producing a new reality TV show for NBC called, 'The Apprentice,' where the winner will win a six-figure apprenticeship within the Trump Organization. (Photo by Jeff Christensen/WireImage)
Donald Trump, Clive Davis and Mark Burnett during Wyclef Jean Listening Party for His New Album 'The Preachers Son' at Hudson Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by L. Busacca/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - JULY 10: Executive Producers of 'The Apprentice' Donald Trump (L) and Mark Burnett speak with the press at the 2004 TCA Summer Press Tour at the Century Plaza Hotel on June 10, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown)
LOS ANGELES - JULY 10: (L to R) Executive Producers Donald Trump, Mark Burnett, Vice Presidents of the Trump Organization George H. Ross and Carolyn Kepcher of 'The Apprentice' speak with the press at the 2004 TCA Summer Press Tour at the Century Plaza Hotel on June 10, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 19: Producers Mark Burnett and Donald Trump attend the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 19, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Roma Downey, Mark Burnett, Donald Trump and Melania Knauss with guests (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Donald Trump, Billy Bush and Mark Burnett (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Creator/Executive Producer Mark Burnett, Mr. Trump's fiancee Melania Knauss, and businessman Donald Trump attend the Museum of Television and Radio presents 'The Apprentice' at the Museum of Television and Radio on September 20, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)
Group portrait of, from left, American boxing promoter Don King, businessman Donald Trump, and television producer Mark Burnett as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 2005. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during 'The Apprentice' Finale- Arrivals at California Mart in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during Donald Trump Recruiting Search for the Next 'Apprentice' at Universal Studios Hollywood at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during Donald Trump Honored With a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. in front of Hollywood and Highland in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by M. Tran/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: (L-R) Moderator Erin Burnett, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump, producer Mark Burnett and Ivanka Trump attend the Paley Center for Media's presentation of 'The Apprentice' on September 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Steven A Henry/WireImage)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Mark Burnett and Donald Trump appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire
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Trump has since brushed off the remarks as "locker room talk" several times, although Kanellis disagrees with that description.

"I don't think that is locker room talk. I have been in locker rooms for the past 12 years in wrestling companies," she explained. "I have been backstage, I have been in green rooms and I have never heard anyone talk like that."

"When you are trying to become president, you are held to a higher standard. Even if you have a past. You should have been a little bit more careful, you should have never said those type of things if you want to hold the highest office in the United States of America," she added. "So I don't think it was locker room talk, I think it was assault."

MORE: Celebs Slam Donald Trump's Answers, Sniffling and Demeanor in Second Debate Against Hillary Clinton

As for getting fired from the show, Kanellis said she "knew it was coming."

"[Among] the people in front of me [finalists Holly Robinson Peete, Bret Michaels, Sharon Osbourne and Stone], I had the least amount of celebrity," she recounted, explaining that the show's ratings "depend on popularity," and that she had the least amount of name recognition. "I knew it was coming but I wasn't expecting it to come like that."

In the wake of the Trump Tape, many have called for the release of unaired footage from Trump's 14 seasons of The Apprentice, citing the possibility of further examples of the politician making lewd or disparaging remarks.

WATCH: Mark Burnett Says He Cannot Release 'The Apprentice' Footage, But Isn't Threatening Litigation Against Leaks

Kanellis said she could clearly remember one instance in which she felt objectified by Trump, which occurred in the boardroom when she was wearing a sleeveless shirt.

"I have a mole on my shoulder and he said to me that I should have the mole removed because it is an imperfection," she recalled. "I just felt as if that comment didn't belong in the boardroom, I felt as if he should not be making comments like that to me and telling me that a part of my body is an imperfection."

"It wasn't something that bothered me [at the time], but as a presidential nominee, it bothers me because of all the recent comments and things that he has said or that has come out," she continued. "It just shows more and more of what his character is."

WATCH: 'Today' Show Addresses Billy Bush's Suspension Over His 2005 Conversation With Donald Trump

Which is exactly why Kanellis doesn't think Trump would make a good commander-in-chief. "In my opinion he is a great entertainer, but not presidential," she said. "I would like to be proud of our leaders and I can't be proud of a leader like that."

So how has Kanellis fared since getting fired from The Celebrity Apprentice six years ago? The 34-year-old wrestler continues to work for TNA Wrestling and now manages her husband, fellow TNA star Mike Bennett, whom she married two years ago. Additionally, she's gone back to school to get her bachelor's degree in sports entertainment and event management from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, and is applying to graduate schools to continue her education.

Reporting by Emily Lefkowitz.

WATCH: Donald Trump Denies Sexual Assault Claims, Again Calls Taped Comments 'Locker Room Talk' in Second Debate


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