Jesse James opened up about his past, his time in rehab and what made him cheat on his Oscar-winning wife in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Vicki Mabrey. The following is a transcript of interview as seen on "Nightline," Tuesday, May 25, 2010.
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It splashed across the headlines and dominated the airwaves: actress Sandra Bullock's devastating heartbreak at the hands of her husband, Jesse James. Right at the moment of her greatest triumph, America's sweetheart faced with the ultimate betrayal. As the scandal erupted, James maintained his silence -- until now.
VICKI MABREY: The headlines say that you're the most hated man in America.
JESSE JAMES: I think it's most hated man in the world now. I took a pretty amazing life and amazing success and marriage and everything and kind of, you know, threw it away, by my own hand.
From the very beginning, they seemed like an odd couple. Sandra Bullock, Miss Congeniality herself, dating Jesse James, then host of "Monster Garage," whom the tabloids labeled her heavily-tattooed biker boyfriend.
MABREY: So many people said that you and Sandra Bullock were a mismatch. Were they right?
JAMES: I don't think so. I think the reality of it is, is we probably have way more in common than people realize.
MABREY: Like what?
JAMES: I think we're just both driven and both focused, you know, on our careers.
They met when Bullock's godson asked her to get him into James' West Coast Choppers, where he builds custom motorcycles that sell for up to $300,000.
JAMES: I assumed that she was a bitch, some Hollywood snob and didn't really give it two thoughts and I talked to her for a couple of minutes and it was like getting hit in the head with a brick. You know, here's a woman that I had assumptions about and she couldn't be farther from that. She was intelligent and, you know, it was like, wow, this is like -- that's perfect to me...
When I interviewed him six years ago for "60 Minutes Two," pictures of the two of them together had just surfaced, but he didn't want to talk about that. But soon, it was out in the open. The bad boy and the girl next door were an item.
MABREY: How'd you start to woo her?
JAMES: I asked her out and she said no, and so, typical me, you know, I'm not going to really take no for an answer.
MABREY: She said you sent a lot of emails and you were much more thoughtful than she imagined.
JAMES: It was a real courtship.
For five years they avoided the limelight except when the red carpet beckoned. At home in California and Texas, she was a much loved stepmother to James' three children from his two previous marriages, Chandler, Jesse Jr., and Sunny.
MABREY: How'd you two make this marriage work?
JAMES: Just live a normal life, you know? I mean it's - there is no limelight when it's her and I trying to figure out who is going to take the kids to school and who's going to pick them up and what we're going to have for dinner and that type of stuff. You know, I mean it's just - we're just -it was normal.
By 2009, Bullock was back at work in Atlanta, starring in the film, "The Blind Side." But back at home, her husband was living a double life.
MABREY: You cheated on your wife.