Former boxing champ and Olympic gold medalist Oscar De La Hoya says he is battling addictions to cocaine and alcohol and seeking to rebuild his relationship with his wife after being unfaithful.
De La Hoya, in his first interview since leaving a Malibu rehabilitation clinic, told the Spanish-language network Univision in a broadcast on Tuesday that his life was a big mess.
Rock bottom was recently, within a couple of years. Just, thinking, 'Is my life even worth it?,' De La Hoya said.
The 38-year-old former boxer, who won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, said he thought about committing suicide, but does not have the courage to take his own life.
De La Hoya, a Mexican-American fighter with matinee idol good looks, said he has been sober for three months.
The former athlete said in the Spanish-language portion of the interview that he first began sneaking sips of alcohol at age nine, and that during his career he would sometimes drink a little tequila to settle the nerves before a fight.
You can't be the greatest athlete in the world doing that kind of thing, he said. You can't do that. This addiction ruined my life.
He also discussed his difficulties with wife Millie Corretjer, a Puerto Rican-born singer with whom he has two children.
I've been unfaithful to my wife, De La Hoya told Univision, adding that he had cheated more than once and has been separated from his wife for nearly two years.
I don't want to explain to her anymore that I'm doing well, I want to show her, he said. It's like they say, you have to walk the walk, and that's what I'm doing.
'TIRED OF LYING'
De La Hoya also opened up about a widely publicized 2007 photograph from an encounter with a woman, which showed the boxer dressed in lingerie. De La Hoya had previously denied it was him in the photo but recanted those claims in the interview.
Let me tell you, yes, it was me, he said. I'm tired of lying, lying to people, lying to myself.
De La Hoya said he was dependent on alcohol and cocaine, and that he began abusing cocaine about two and a half years ago, about the time he retired from boxing in 2009.
The boxer also said that before he left the rehabilitation center in Malibu, he paid for another three weeks of treatment in case he needs to return in the future.
It's the biggest fight of my life, he said.
He described his addiction problems as a monster that he compared to the top boxers he has fought in the past.
I've been up against, you name it, everybody. I can put Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, (Fernando) Vargas, I can put all of my opponents in one ring and battle all of them, but this monster is going to be the toughest fight of my life.
De La Hoya ended his career with a win-loss record of 39-6 including 30 knockouts.
Since retiring from the ring, he has remained involved in boxing as a promoter with his Golden Boy Promotions company.