Jenn Sterger, the former New York Jets game day hostess who was at the center of the Brett Favre sexting scandal, says she's never met the three-time NFL MVP who allegedly sent her sexually suggestive texts, voicemails and photos.
Sterger, who talked candidly about the scandal during an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on "Good Morning America" today, said she doesn't know Favre personally -- and has no plans to do so.
"I've never met him. We've never met," she said, adding that the closest she's been to him was when they would pass each other in the tunnels at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey.
That they never met wasn't for lack on trying on Favre's part, Sterger said. "He was like that guy at the bar that just could not get the hint ...," she said.
Website Exposes 'Sext' Messages
Favre, a married father of two, has one of the most storied careers in football, but his career was overshadowed by scandal in October when the sports blog Deadspin.com posted voicemails and nude pictures Favre allegedly sent to Sterger when he played for the Jets in 2008.
Favre has admitted to leaving the voicemails but not to sending inappropriate pictures of himself.
"Wanted to have you come over tonight -- love to see you tonight," one recording said.
And another voicemail:
"I'm still trying, just got done with practice. I'll try the other phone you're probably caller ID'ing me but if you can make it, it would be great."
"I didn't want anything to do with it. That's the thing," Sterger said. "I didn't want anything to do with it in 2008, I (didn't) want anything to do with it in 2010. I still don't want anything to do with it now. The only reason I feel like I have to give this interview is ... for me. For my family. This has nothing to do with Brett Favre. It doesn't. I just want people to know me. And to know that I'm not a gold-digger. And I'm not a home-wrecker."
The NFL said it "could not conclude" that Favre sent the messages, but fined him $50,000 in December and issued a reprimand. According to the league, Favre had not been "candid in several respects during the investigation, resulting in a longer review and additional negative public attention."
Sterger: Ordeal Turned Life 'Upside Down'
Critics were outraged at the apparent paltry figure of the fine. Favre made millions of dollars per year.
Favre is also facing a lawsuit filed by two female massage therapists who allege the football legend sent sexually suggestive texts, and that they lost work with the Jets when they refused his requests for a ménage-a-trois.
Favre officially ended his 20-year NFL career in January after an injury-prone season with the Minnesota Vikings.
Sterger said she has stayed out of the spotlight in recent months to rebuild her career, but said the ordeal turned her life "upside down."
"You know, I was trying to go to work. Do my job," she said. "But how are you supposed to report on the news when you are the news. ... It was tough. It was embarrassing. It was humiliating. All I wanted to do was go to work. Do my job. That's all I wanted."
'I Like My Job an Awful Lot,' Sterger in Reply to Alleged Proposition
Sterger always had her sights set on a career that would put her in the public eye.
When she was younger, casting directors would tell her she wasn't "pretty enough," she said, but after ABC sportscaster Brent Musberger spotted her in the stands of the University of Miami-Florida State University football game in 2005, things changed.
That turned out to be her big break, and she ran with it, posing for Playboy and Maxim. She eventually got the job with the Jets. The combination sports and entertainment position fulfilled her love for sports and for entertaining others, she said.
"There's nothing that feels quite as awesome as walking through the tunnel on a game day, in the Meadowlands," she said. "It's just this surge of electricity. I can't explain it. It's amazing."
She wasn't the only newcomer to the Jets that year. After 16 years with the Green Bay Packers, Favre joined the Jets. Sterger said it didn't take long for her to be approached.
"I was approached one day at the beginning of the pre-season games, by a man wearing a Jets badge, employee badge, who asked me, 'How would you feel if Brett Favre asked for your phone number? What would you say?' And I just looked at him, my usual smartass self. And I said, 'I'd say I like my job an awful lot. And I've been told I look remarkably like his wife,'" she said.
Clues: 'Forty Years Old, Gray Hair, New to Team'
She said she walked away without giving the man her number and thought "that was the end of it."
But she said she started getting text messages, then voicemails. She said she didn't know who was reaching out to her.
"Whenever I would reply, it was more to try to figure out who I was interacting with," she said. "It was the same number, always. The texts, the pictures. The voicemails. There was no actual, 'Hey, Jenn. It's Brett.'"
But she said she was able to figure it out.
"It was all context clues ... They would always give me the pieces of the puzzle. Forty years old. Gray hair. New to the team. That only fits a few guys on the team ... No, only one guy on the team," she said. "I always noticed that he was looking at me in the tunnel. I just had that gut feeling. I really did."
Sterger said she wasn't flattered by the attention from Favre.
"He's married. And more than anything I feel like it was intimidating," she said.
Didn't Want Trouble at Work
She kept quiet about it because she didn't want to make waves at her job, she said. She said she consulted several people, described what was happening and asked for advice.
"And every single one of them gave me the exact same answer. They said, 'Jenn, do you like your job? Well, if you like your job, and you want to keep it, I'd suggest you just be quiet. Do your job,'" she recalled.
She kept doing her job, and kept putting off Favre, she said.
"It's staving him off. It's 'I'm busy. I'll talk to you later. I'm busy. I'm busy.' He was like that guy at the bar that just could not get the hint. I'm busy," she said.
Then, she says she received nude pictures of Favre. It was at that point that she says she realized "just how serious it is and that this isn't going to go away."
At the end of the 2008 season, the exchanges stopped, but resumed briefly in 2009, she said.
"It's kind of like that last ditch, Hail Mary effort. But that was it. It was gone. I didn't respond," she said.
When the season ended, her job with the Jets wasn't renewed. She later found a TV position on a show called "The Daily Line," and the story remained under wraps for nearly two years -- until Deadspin.com published all the salacious details in August.
"I didn't want it to get out. I had dealt with it the best way I knew how. And it had gone away. And I had moved on," she said. "I was already employed somewhere else. I had a great job. And it was over. The story comes out and it's humiliating. It's like someone punches you in the stomach."
'I Just Want My Life Back'
Having the details made public was difficult, fueling negative perceptions of her, she said.
Asked how the blogger got the text, pictures and voicemails, Sterger said she didn't know.
"I have no idea," she said.
She stressed that she did not provide the information to the blogger, and never received any money from the blogger.
"I haven't made a dime off anything in this whole situation. Not from the pictures. Not from Favre. That was never an intention of mine," she said.
The blogger who published the material said he paid $12,000 to a third party for it.
Sterger said she didn't know who sold the information, but acknowledged sharing the texts, voicemails and pictures with "individuals when I was asking for advice. But that's it."
Asked if the idea that one of those people could have betrayed her trust for money hurt her, she replied: "I don't think there's an aspect of this thing that really doesn't hurt."
"It's never been my intention to ever play a victim in this whole thing," she said.
"I just want my life back," Sterger said. "That's all I'm asking for. Just to be able to go back to work. To be able to go back to enjoying what I do. Entertaining people. Making people laugh. The hardest part about this whole thing is that I am a ridiculous person. I love to entertain people, and to say crazy things. And I'm pretty unapologetic about it."
After the incident, Sterger fired her PR representative. She is now represented by Susan Blond.
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