Quite a week for De La Hoya
First, former boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya said in a television interview that he thought about suicide and has been going to rehab because he has become dependent on drugs and alcohol. Then came the New York Post report that the Golden Boy paid a whopping $20 million to keep a model quiet over a photo shoot that saw the "Golden Boy" dressed in high heels, fishnet stockings and frilly lingerie.
”Rock bottom was recently,” De La Hoya said in an interview that aired Tuesday on the Spanish-language network Univision, according to an English-language transcript provided by the network. ”Within a couple of years, just thinking if my life was even worth it. I don’t have the strength; I don’t have the courage to take my own life. But I was thinking about it.”
De La Hoya said he has been sober for three months after undergoing treatment and joining Alcoholics Anonymous.
He said he was unfaithful to his wife and that they were separated for a while.
”We are obviously not talking a Tiger Woods here, but I was unfaithful,” De La Hoya said.
On Thursday, the Post, citing sources in its report, published the drag photos of De La Hoya frolicking with Siberian knockout Milana Dravnel on Nov. 15, 2007, which the boxer originally insisted that the pictures were frauds.
But in the TV interview two days earlier, De La Hoya acknowledged that he was in the photos.
"Let me tell you, yes, yes, it was me (in those pictures)," he said. "I am tired now of lying, of lying to the public and of lying to myself."
After De La Hoya launched a campaign to discredit the wild images, Dravnel filed a federal lawsuit against him, claiming that his handlers duped her into agreeing that the photos were manipulated.
They settled the lawsuit out of court, and both sides clammed up, citing a confidentiality agreement.
But courthouse sources confirmed Wednesday that De La Hoya paid $20 million to buy her silence. The deal also called for her to give back the heels, lingerie and fishnets that she kept after their kinky photo session.
More fallout came on Friday, when the New York Post reported de la Hoya had been dumped as brand ambassador for tequila Tres Generaciones following his spell in rehab.
A representative of the firm told the Post, "We have severed all ties with Oscar because of his personal issues."
De La Hoya retired in 2009 after a 16-year career in which he won 10 world titles in six divisions and became boxing’s most popular fighter.
De La Hoya was thoroughly beaten by Manny Pacquiao in his last fight. He won his last title in May 2006, beating Ricardo Mayorga in six rounds for the WBC 154-pound belt. He finished with a record of 39-6 and 30 knockouts.
Known as ”The Golden Boy,” De La Hoya transcended his sport, using his bilingual skills to generate crossover appeal among Latinos and whites.
He began boxing at age 5, following in the path of his grandfather and father. He won an Olympic gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games, delivering on a promise to his late mother, Cecilia, who died of breast cancer two years earlier.
”There were drugs," De La Hoya said. "My drug of choice was cocaine and alcohol, hmm. Cocaine was recent, the last two years, last 2-1/2 years,and I depended more in the alcohol than the cocaine.
”It took me to a place where I felt safe. It took me to a place where I felt as if nobody can say anything to me. It took me to a place where I just can reach out and grab my mom.”