For decades, Terry Gene Bollea ignited "Hulkmania" around the world as the wrestling legend Hulk Hogan. After his professional wrestling career ended, he earned new fans with his reality show, "Hogan Knows Best," where viewers met his wife, Linda, and two children, Brooke and Nick. The show was canceled in late 2007, and it was shortly after that Hogan says everything around him began to crumble.
"After the show I kinda hit rock bottom," Hogan says in the above clip from "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" on OWN. "Everything got dark, everything happened at once. I was drinking alcohol very heavily. It just all kept piling up, it all kept mounting and mounting I didn't know how to handle it. I always wondered how could someone possibly take their own life, and so I got to that point where I said, 'You know what, maybe this would be easy. You know, maybe this would be an easy way to fix things.'"
On Aug. 27, 2007, Hogan's son Nick lost control of his sports car, severely injuring his passenger and best friend, John Graziano. Nick pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was sentenced to eight months in jail.
Hogan also says his marriage at the time was "crashing and burning."
"There was incident in Miami on New Year’s Eve where I was with my family and a bunch of my friends at a table," he says. "And there's a bunch of negativity about the food being bad, you know the champagne didn't work, even though it was all consumed. And when I walked outside, some kid ran up and hugged me and was like, 'Oh I grew up watching you. I didn't have a dad, you're like a dad to me.' And there was another person that said 'Hey Hulk, we love you.'"
"And I went, 'Oh my God' -- it was right then. I didn't understand what was going on, but it hit me that there's clean air and that there's dirty air. And once I walked back inside again, I realized I couldn't take it anymore. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I got sick and tired of the hating, the negativity, the verbal abuse -- just everything that I was hearing."
"I now realize I had to go through all this stuff to be who I am today, to make me who I am today," he says.
Hogan and Linda's divorced was finalized in 2009, ending their 24 year marriage. He went on to marry girlfriend Jennifer McDaniel in 2010.
"Before, it was always, well you're supposed to be this wrestler, you're supposed to be this husband or father that makes this crazy money and travels and works and does this," Hogan says. "And life is tough and money's hard to make and all this fictitious stuff.
"And then I realized all that stuff -- the peace, love, the joy, that still, small voice, the energy, that God presence -- is part of who I'm meant to be," Hogan says.