“I’m not a racist, but I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it,” the former pro wrestler, who’s real name is Terry Bollea, told ABC News’ Amy Robach in an interview that aired Monday on “Good Morning America.”
Hulk said he grew up in an environment where the N-word “was just thrown around like it was nothing.”
“People need to realize that you inherit things from your environment,” he said. “And where I grew up was south Tampa, Port Tampa, and it was a really rough neighborhood, very low income. And all my friends, we greeted each other saying that word.”
He also revealed that he was having suicidal thoughts around the time that he was taped, without his knowledge, using racial epithets about his daughter Brooke Bollea’s then boyfriend.
“I was at the lowest point of my life to the point where I wanted to kill myself,” Hogan said. “I was completely broken and destroyed and said, ‘What’s the easiest way out of this?’ I mean, I was lost.”
The WWE stripped its website, including its Hall of Fame section, of Hogan’s image and name after it was revealed that he used racial slurs in a 2012 SiriusXM interview. Hogan said the n-word several times during a radio interview with DJ Whoo Kid while discussing his use of the term while talking to African-American wrestlers and celebrities.
“Oh, my gosh. Please forgive me. Please forgive me,” he said Monday. “I think if you look at the whole picture of who Hulk Hogan is, you can see over all the years that there’s not a racist bone in my body.”
Hogan is also embroiled in legal woes after suing Gawker Media for $100 million after the site posted clips online in October 2012 from his 2005 sex tape.