After the Poison singer became the first contestant booted from the all-star edition of Donald Trump's reality business show, he reportedly broke down off camera.
According to celebrity news site Radar Online, Michaels was "stunned" by the "brutal" elimination.
"Bret was crying and totally distraught after he was fired," a show insider told Radar. "It was a mess when Bret was told the news and filming was done."
"He couldn't stop crying and even the producers were trying to comfort him. No one expected him to have a meltdown like that," the source added.
Michaels, who won the 2009 "Celebrity Apprentice" season, was reportedly axed over La Toya Jackson, the other contestant brought into the final boardroom.
"Bret went into the show believing he was going to win again," the source said. "He couldn't believe he was let go so quickly."
"It was brutal to watch him freaking out the way he did."
Michaels, who was playing on behalf of the Life Rocks Foundation-National Philanthropic Trust, turns 50 this month.
McPhee, Cokas 'working on their marriage' after affair
Attkisson leaves CBS News, reportedly over network's 'liberal bias'