“I wish I could have been more of a man,” Lamar Odom tells PEOPLE about cheating on ex-wife Khloé Kardashian

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May 15, 2019 08:00 AM

It’s been over five years since Lamar Odom split from Khloé Kardashian after a tumultuous four-year marriage, but the NBA champion says he still has regrets about how things turned out.

In his new memoir, Darkness to Light — exclusively excerpted in PEOPLE — Odom reveals the truth about his marriage to Kardashian, which was chronicled on Keeping up with the Kardashians and on their spinoff series, Khloé and Lamar.

“I wish I could have been more of a man,” Odom, who admits that he was unfaithful to Kardashian and also hid from her his addiction to cocaine, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “It still bothers me to this day. But regret is something we have to learn to live with.”

  • For more from Lamar Odom, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Kardashian’s rep did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Despite the acrimonious split — the divorce was finalized in 2016 — Odom, 39, says their whirlwind romance was bliss in the beginning. The couple wed in 2009, just one month after they met.

“For a while, being with her was bliss and I was the happiest I’ve ever been,” Odom writes in his book. “We were one of the most famous couples in Hollywood and we made more money together than we had individually.”

But Odom struggled to fight his addictions to sex and drugs.

“At the start of our marriage I was faithful to her,” he writes. But eventually, he started having affairs, while at the same time hiding a full-blown cocaine addiction.

RELATED: Khloé Kardashian & Lamar Odom: A Timeline of Their Relationship

“I could not handle the lethal cocktail of the spotlight, addiction, a diminishing career and infidelity,” he writes. “Oh, did I mention the paranoia, anxiety, depression. … I couldn’t keep my d— in my pants or the coke out of my nose. Drug addicts are incredibly skilled at hiding their habit. I’d get defensive and Khloé would just drop it.”

Kardashian ultimately learned about the infidelity and the lies and they separated, but she didn’t turn her back on her ex.

Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom

When Odom was hospitalized and near death following an overdose in 2015, Kardashian, 34, was by his side.

“I remember waking up and her showing me pictures of my mother,” Odom, whose mother Cathy died of cancer when he was 12, tells PEOPLE. “I was surprised on how quick she was to show her devotion to me.”

RELATED: Everything Khloé Kardashian Said About Infidelity After Ex-Husband Lamar Odom Cheated

Darkness to Light

Continues Odom: “Her love for me must have been unconditional. That’s the only thing [I think] that gave her the strength to still love me at that time.”

Now, Odom is drug-free, but admits he still struggles with his demons.

When it comes to Kardashian, “I hope we can be friends,” Odom says. “I miss the family. And I hope we can all be reacquainted one day.”

Darkness to Light is out May 28.

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