Jesse James: I was the victim of physical and emotional child abuse
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/26/2010
Jesse James claims that sex addiction and anger management were both addressed during his recent stay at Arizona's Sierra Tucson Treatment Center, however they are not the main reasons why he admitted himself.
"Those were two of the things I was there for, but the main thing I was there for was being a victim of childhood abuse," said James during a Tuesday appearance on ABC's Nightline.
"I was always scared. My whole childhood, I never had a chance to be a kid. I just remember the clenched teeth, strained-neck look on his face."
"Did he beat you?" asked Nightline's Vicki Mabrey.
"He beat my ass pretty good a bunch of times," replied James. "Football star, bike builder, Monster Garage TV star -- all that stuff is a huge smokescreen so people won't see that I'm a scared abused kid."
"That's what you learned in rehab?" asked Mabrey.
"That's the truth," answered James, who recalled a time when his father chased him in the dark -- causing him to fall and break his arm.
"I remember my dad laughed at me when I hit the ground and called me a dummy. I was petrified of my dad. It wasn't so much getting the s--t beat out of me or getting my arm broken or getting kicked or punched, it was the in between time -- the fear of that happening again. I was a terrorized kid."
James added it's "really tough" for him to think about it now and he subsequently began to cry during the interview when thinking of his 6-year-old daughter Sunny.
"Sunny's the age that I was when my dad broke my arm," he said through tears before asking to take a break.
James' father denied the abuse allegations when contacted by ABC News, but the reality star said he did a lot of crying in rehab because he was forced to deal with his issues with his father.
"I don't think I have a sex addiction where I'm running around trying to have sex with everyone and I can't stop," he told Mabrey.
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"I think I do things to sabotage my life -- including having extramarital affairs, texting, over-working myself, injuring myself, doing stunts and stupid things. I think I do a lot of things in my life that I shouldn't be doing, that aren't conducive to being a perfect husband. The affairs is just one of them."
James added that because he incorrectly dealt with his abuse issues by sabotaging his life doesn't make him a monster.
"I may seem like a monster in people's eyes, but I'm not that kind of person where I'll willfully be like, 'You know what, I'm going to really show her. I'll get her.' That's not what it's about," he explained.
"It's about trying to push somebody away that I thought was going to leave anyway."
James has been in the headlines for the last couple of months after he was accused of carrying out an 11-month affair with tattoo model Michelle "Bombshell" McGee while his wife Sandra Bullock was in Atlanta filming The Blind Side -- for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress.
Several additional women then also made similar claims, resulting in James entering the Sierra Tucson Treatment Center.
"I was being basically stalked everywhere by paparazzi and they were yelling stuff, asking me how many women I've been with in front of the kids, in front of my 6-year-old and stuff like that," he said on Nightline.
"I really felt that rage come over me and I knew I had to get a grip. My life got to a point where I can't fix this on my own and I can't be a tough guy through all this. I need help."
James said that he admitted "affairs outside of our marriage" to Bullock and was also "honest" with his children from previous relationships because they have come to love the actress since the reality star married her in July 2005.
"So when I hurt Sandy, I also hurt them," he explained. "I took someone that they really love away from them."
"Do they get to see her?" asked Mabrey.
"Yes," replied James.
Bullock filed for divorce late last month and James said he still has "hopes of saving some sort of relationship" with her.
"Do you think you can change her mind?" asked Mabrey.