Hulk Hogan admits he was nearly driven to suicide following his wife Linda’s divorce filing in the fall of 2007 – a surprising admission the wrestling legend makes in a book dedicated to none other than his ex-wife.
“To Linda, I pray that you find peace and joy in life. I love you,” Hogan writes on the dedication page of My Life Outside the Ring, a tell-all autobiography, co-authored by PEOPLE senior writer Mark Dagostino, that hits bookshelves Tuesday.
The affectionate dedication may come as a shock to fans who followed the couple’s bitter divorce, which ended when they reached a settlement last July. Hogan describes that tumultuous period of his life, beginning with his son Nick’s August 2007 car accident. Four months later, shortly after his wife Linda filed for divorce, Hogan found himself chasing Xanax pills with swigs of rum one weekend – while holding a gun in his hand.
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“I could feel the life draining out of me,” he writes. “It had me curling my index finger on the trigger of a loaded handgun and putting it in my mouth.”
He adds: “Obviously I didn’t kill myself, but I came damn close.”
After an unexpected phone call from his American Gladiators co-host, Laila Ali, snapped him out of his funk, Hogan says he went on to recover from that low by rediscovering his faith – and by making up his mind to do whatever it took to find happiness again.
Steroids, Drugs and an Affair
The brush with suicide isn’t Hogan’s only striking revelation. For the first time, he opens up about the sheer volume of steroids he pumped into his body throughout the first half of his career; he talks about using cocaine in the late ’70s and early ’80s; and he reveals intimate scenes from his broken marriage.
“I can’t tell you how many nights I went to bed and the last words I heard before my head hit the pillow were ‘F— you, Terry,’ ” writes Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea). “It got so bad, she wouldn’t touch me. We’d go to bed and roll over, and there was no physical contact whatsoever.”
Hogan also addresses the affair he had with Christiane Plante – a friend of his daughter, Brooke – as well as the happiness he’s found with the new love of his life, his girlfriend of nearly two years, Jennifer McDaniel.
Hogan, scheduled to appear on the Today show and CNN’s Larry King Live Tuesday, will also hit Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show Wednesday before a two-week cross-country book tour.
“My life’s been one hell of a trip,” Hogan writes, “and I’m more than happy to take you along for the ride.”