It has recently been shown that relaxation of the rotational energy of hot non-equlibrium photofragments (i) slows down significantly with the increase of their initial rotational temperature and (ii) differs dramatically from the relaxation of the equilibrium rotational energy correlation function, manifesting thereby breakdown of the linear response description [Science 311, 1907 (2006)]. We demonstrate that this phenomenon may be caused by the angular momentum dependence of rotational friction. We have developed the generalized Fokker-Planck equation whose rotational friction depends upon angular momentum algebraically. The calculated rotational correlation functions correspond well to their counterparts obtained via molecular dynamics simulations in a broad range of initial non-equilibrium conditions. It is suggested that the angular momentum dependence of friction should be taken into account while describing rotational relaxation far from equilibrium.