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Jesse James on his affairs: 'It was me trying to self-sabotage my life'

May 26, 2010 | 11:48 am

It finally happened. The highly anticipated -- or highly despised, for some -- episode of "Nightline" featuring Jesse James aired Tuesday night. (Seriously, has there been this much hype surrounding a "Nightline" episode in recent memory?)

In it, James said he was the victim of abuse as a child and attributed the shame he felt from that to be the driving force that led him to cheat on future ex-wife Sandra Bullock

"I was a terrorized kid," James, 41, said about the abuse he received from his father. "I was petrified of my dad.… It wasn't so much getting the ... beat out of me or getting my arm broken or getting kicked or whatever or punched, it was the in-between time. It was the fear of that happening again." 

James said the abuse memories returned during his stint in rehab. 

“My whole childhood, I never had a chance to be a kid.… I was always scared." 

In an e-mail to ABC News, Larry James said his son's allegations of abuse were not true.

As a result of his low self-esteem, Jesse said, his mind rationalized cheating with thoughts of: “'Well, you know, I might as well do whatever I can to, like, run her off, 'cause she is going to find out what I am anyway and leave me anyway." 

And though he "knew it was horrible" to cheat on his wife, he said it wasn’t enough to stop his actions.

"I knew I would get caught eventually, and I think I wanted to get caught. I don't think, I know for a fact now what it was. It was me trying to self-sabotage my life," he said. "I think I do a lot of things in my life that I shouldn't be doing that aren't conducive to being a perfect husband, you know, and the affairs are just one of them."

What did you think of the interview?

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Vicky Mabrey interviews Jesse James for "Nightline." Credit:  Patrick Wymoren / ABC / Associated Press

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