Plus, Brinkley's ex says he "sacrificed" his reputation to be in his children s lives

By Clarissa Cruz
October 11, 2008 09:00 AM

Christie Brinkley’s ex-husband Peter Cook has finally spoken out since the couple’s bitter divorce – and while he owns up to having made a mistake, he maintains he had reasons for his behavior.

It was my failing, he admitted to Barbara Walters in an interview with 20/20 that aired Friday. I was a great father, a great husband, and I failed as a human being I made a mistake.

But Cook maintained that he had reasons for his behavior: I was seeking a connection I could not find in my own marriage, he said of his relationship with then-teenager Diana Bianchi. I took the cowardice way out and had an affair instead of approaching my wife and saying, Ya know what? I m not happy.

When asked whether he wanted Brinkley to see the interview, Cook responded: I hope that she goes back and remembers .that I am the person that she wrote the poems about, that she raved about in magazine articles. I am that person today, that I was then.

Cook went on to say he went through the public divorce proceedings for his children s sake. I think it s critical for them to have their father in their lives, he said, tearing up. I ll always be able to turn to my children and say, I did everything, I spent every penny I had I sacrificed my reputation, took beatings I didn t need to take I wanted to be in their lives.

In the wake of the revealing interview, Brinkley requested a temporary restraining order barring Cook from seeing the couple s children this weekend, which was denied. But Cook’s attorney James Winkler said his client agreed to take the children out of the area on a trip and to not expose them to the interview.

Brinkley s lawyer, Robert Stephan Cohen, issued a statement shortly after the interview aired.

Mr. Cook has chosen to breach the confidentiality agreement in the divorce settlement, a provision agreed upon in court to protect the children and allow them to put this ordeal behind them. This is a tragedy. Ms. Brinkley plans to explore her legal options. • Reporting by SHARON COTLIAR