Jesse James on ‘Nightline’: I’m a Liar, Not a Racist

Jesse James Appears on 'Nightline' (Photo: ABC)

Jesse James Appears on 'Nightline' (Photo: ABC)

More sadness-filled nuggets continue to trickle in from ABC’s interview with Jesse James, and the latest has the former reality star recalling the moment he told Sandra Bullock about his cheating ways. “I told her basically everything,” he said in a snippet aired on ‘Good Morning America.’ “I had affairs outside of our marriage.”

James said Bullock had suspected he was being unfaithful in the past, but “I lied and lied my way out of it. I lied to everyone about everything, even to myself.”

Jesse James: I Threw Away an Amazing Marriage

But of all the reasons James sat down with ABC’s Vicki Mabrey for the interview — which airs Tuesday on ‘Nightline‘ — he revealed his main motivation was to dispel charges he’s a racist.

“I think out of anything this is why I’m doing this interview the most,” he said. “Because dealing with losing my marriage and my son and embarrassing everyone and decimating my life. But to be called a racist on top of that, it makes me really sad seeing the photo and the way I look.

Controversial Jesse James Photo (Photo: Us Weekly)

Controversial Jesse James Photo (Photo: Us Weekly)

The photo in question (Us Weekly had it) shows James sporting a Nazi hat and giving a Nazi salute. Compounding the bad press surrounding the shot is James’ alleged relationship with stripper Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, who has been photographed wearing similar Nazi gear and reportedly sports a swastika tattoo.

“I don’t even remember taking the photo,” he claimed. “But I can tell by the look of my face that it was a joke. That was funny then, for like a minute. Looking at it in the context of my life now, it’s not funny.”

James said he “knew it was horrible” to cheat on Bullock but continued to do so out of desire to derail his life because things were too good.

“It made me feel horrible,” James said of the infidelities. “And 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.”

The ‘Monster Garage‘ star became visibly upset when discussing the people he has hurt most in the scandal and the irony of the path he took.

“The last person I would ever want to harm is her or the kids,” he said. “I spent my whole life with the kids and her, trying to protect her. But the most hurt she’s ever been caused is by the person who wanted to protect her.”

He continued: “It’s really, it’s terrible. And she’s going to hurt for a long time. It’s hard for me to talk about it a little bit, because I still really love and care about her.”

James covers just about all the bases with ‘Nightline’ — his cheating, his divorce from Bullock, his stint in rehab and his role in raising Louis, the baby boy Bullock and James recently adopted.

Asked if he’s the “most hated man in America,” James answers, grinning, “I think it’s the ‘most hated man in the world,’ now.”

Since news of his multiple affairs hit the press, James has kept a low profile, and has only been seen dropping his kids off at school. But while he’s generally stayed out of the spotlight, the reality star has issued several statements apologizing for his behavior.

When PEOPLE broke the story of Bullock’s adoption last month, Jesse released the following statement to the magazine: “My whole life has been full of hard decisions. The decision to let my wife end our marriage, and continue the adoption of Louis on her own, has been the hardest. The love I have for Louis cannot be put to words. Not having him around to love and to hold has left a huge hole in my heart.”

The complete interview will air on May 25 at 11:35 PM ET/PT on ABC, and will be previewed on ‘Good Morning America’ that day.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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