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Jesse James on Nightline: "I Was A Victim of Childhood Abuse"

jesse james nightlineJesse James’ Nightline interview was revealing, painful to watch, and ultimately baffling. He seemed repentant and full of recovery lingo, and yet, for all of his penance, this is a man who had multiple affairs while married to, and raising kids with, America’s Sweetheart Sandra Bullock. But let’s cut right to the chase. Yes, Jesse James cheated with multiple mistresses, and now has admitted to it. He spoke of his sadness at the way he behaved in his marriage, and admitted that his actions were “terrible and [Bullock’s] going to be hurt for a long time.” But what was really riveting were his two shocking revelations:

1. why he went to rehab, and 2. his “explanation” for the Nazi photos. Details below.

When ABC’s Vicky Mabrey asked James why he essentially threw his marriage away, he answered that it had little to do with his lust for other women, or issues he had with Sandra Bullock. “During the midst of all of it…I knew it was horrible, it made me feel horrible,” he said. What drove his actions, he said, was “me trying to self-sabotage my life.”

“I basically never felt good enough, for anyone,” he explained. Finally realizing he needed help—especially as the rage built up while paparazzi kept asking him, in front of his children, how many affairs he’d had—he went to rehab. For what? “The main thing I was [in rehab] for was being a victim of childhood abuse. “

Jesse James, child abuse? He went on to clarify, “My whole childhood I never had a chance to be a kid. I just remember the clenched teeth strained look on [his father’s] face. He beat my ass pretty good.” Jesse explains that his tough-guy, Monster-Garage persona these days, “is a huge smokescreen so people won’t see that I’m a scared, abused kid.”

The abuse, he said, “is really tough for me to think about now because, because Sunny’s the age…Sunny’s the age that I was when my dad broke my arm.” He cried at this point, while talking about his daughter Sunny. “I cried more in rehab in the last 30 days than I have in my whole life.”

He claimed not to be a sex addict, at least in the traditional sense. “I don’t think I have a sex addiction where I’m running around trying to have sex with anyone and can’t stop. I think I do things to sabotage my life, including having extramarital affairs,” he said. “It’s about trying to push someone away that I thought was going to leave anyway.”

As for the Nazi photos, he says, “the truth about it is that it was a joke,” he said, explaining that it was something that happened at his house with his friends in private, and as such, “was funny then, probably for a moment. But then looking at it in the context of now in my life, it’s not funny.” It was funny then? Even for a moment? Vicky Mabrey looked astonished at that, as did I (though no one caught my reaction on camera). James’ lack of understanding about Nazism not being funny pretty much discounts all of the progress he claims to have made in his life. Especially his assertion that he was “absolutely not” a racist.

Toward the end of the interview, he spoke about baby Louis Bullock, as well as his own three kids. When Sandra first met Louis, she took to motherhood immediately, he said. “She’s like a fish to water, as soon as she put that baby in her hand it was automatic and amazing.” And will he be a part of Louis’ life? “Yes Ma’am” he said. Though he also acknowledged, that the Sandra Bullock divorce is moving full steam ahead. “Were getting dirvored, 100 percent sure of that.”

The saddest part is that Sandra Bullock isn’t the only person hurt by Jesse James’ rampant infidelity. He said of his three kids, who still get to see Sandra, though not as often, “They all loved Sandy so much. So when I hurt Sandy, I also hurt them, because I took someone they really love away from them.”

Repentant, yes. Reformed? Leave your predictions in the comments section, below.

PHOTO: courtesy of ABC

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