Hulk Hogan says Gawker publisher 'scared the hell out of me'

The wrestling icon was shaken by a staredown.

Hulk Hogan won a $140 million award in his lawsuit against Gawker Media for publishing his sex tape. However, the former wrestling great told the New York Post he lost a staredown with the company's publisher, Nick Denton.

In his first interview since the combined judgments came down in the past week, Hogan told the Post:

"He scared the hell out of me. Denton and I had a stare-down. He scared me staring at me, man. He just sat there staring. It was right after his cross-examination. He stood up and stared. It was like he was going to call me out at ‘WrestleMania.’ Yikes!' "

Hogan said he "was offered a large amount of money to settle." However, he said he had to fight for his rights.

"If I put my tail between my legs, if I take the money but don't tell the truth or I don't face [the situation], I'm not going to be able to live with myself. I knew how unhappy I would be. I told my wife, I said, 'Jennifer, I just got to follow my heart,'" Hogan said.

Hogan was dismayed by what youngsters would tell him.

"I would run into kids who would say, 'I'd downloaded the Hulk Hogan WrestleMania video, and Hulk Hogan sex tape came up,' " Hogan said. "I dealt with so many horrible things, people in public asking me about the tape. I felt like I had, all of a sudden, I had a heat lamp on me at all times.''

Now he hopes to repair his image — "Everybody deserves a second chance," he says — and make a comeback, maybe with a role in the next "Expendables" movie.

More than anything, though, he wants his family to be OK and some peace after a turbulent time in his life.

“Everybody has a different journey and a different threshold of how much of a beat-down they want to take, and I’m done, I’m tapped out,” he said.