In his first sit-down interview since allegations surfaced that he cheated on his soon-to-be-ex-wife Sandra Bullock, Jesse James claimed to ABC’s Vicki Mabrey that his history of abuse as a child led to his infidelity – abuse that his father said is not true.
“I grew up with a huge amount of shame and fear and abandonment on my shoulders from a very young age and I think, you know, the way my mind rationalized [cheating], ‘Well, you know, I might as well do whatever I can to like run her off cause she is going to find out what I am anyway and leave me anyway,’” James said during a “Nightline” interview that aired on Tuesday.
“The struggle within myself for the things that I did …to damage marriage and my life and everything else, it’s all me…I’m doing it because, you know, I’ve basically never felt good enough for anyone,” he said. “Bike builder, ‘Monster Garage’ TV star, all that stuff is a huge smokescreen so that people won’t see that I’m a scared, abused kid, a 7-year-old.”
James claims he was “terrorized” as a kid and suffered numerous injuries throughout his childhood years.
“I was petrified of my dad … It wasn’t so much getting the sh** beat out of me or getting my arm broken or getting kicked or whatever or punched, it was the in-between time. It was the fear of that happening again,” an emotional James claimed. “I was a terrorized kid and, I mean, it’s really tough for me to think about now because …[my daughter] Sunny is the age that I was when my dad broke my arm.”
In an e-mail message to ABC News, James’ father, Larry James, said the abuse allegations against him are not true.
The reality star said he was treated for sex addiction and anger management during his 30-day stint in an Arizona rehab – but doesn’t necessarily consider himself a sex addict.
“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 said in the interview. “I think I do things to sabotage my life, including having extramarital affairs, texting, overworking 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, you know, and the affairs are just one of them.”
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, in a previous clip of the interview released last week, James – who described himself as “most hated man in the world” – said, “I took a pretty amazing life and marriage and threw it away.”
James’ interview came in the wake of Bullock’s People cover story last month, in which she revealed she’d adopted a son, Louis, and was filing for divorce from James.
The former couple wed in 2005.