Hulk Hogan, Unplugged: Wrestling Superstar Opens Up About Family, Rebuilding His Life and His New TV Show

Former WWF star opens up about life, family and new TV show.

Sept. 29, 2011 — -- Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan had it all, a successful career in the ring, a hit reality-TV show and a family that seemed close.

But behind the scenes, Hogan's life was crumbling.

After a nasty split from wife Linda, she made accusations that he was violent with her during their 23-year marriage.

In an excerpt from her new book, "Wrestling the Hulk," she wrote: "He tore my shirt, he threw lamps, he held me down on the bed with his hands around my throat. … I was always afraid he would kill me in one of his rages."

Linda Hogan also claimed her ex-husband tried to kill her.

A Family in Turmoil

Hogan denies his ex-wife's allegations, saying that he underwent mental and physical abuse in the marriage.

"We pray that she finds closure and happiness and gets rid of this crazy delusional situation that she actually believes," including allegations she made that he is gay or bisexual, he said in an interview with "Good Morning America."

But in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Hulk Hogan said he understood why O.J. Simpson did what he did and he could do the same, making reference to the allegations that the former football star murdered his ex-wife and her friend. Simpson was acquitted after a controversial, sensational public trial.

"You live half a mile from the 20,000-square-foot home you can't go to anymore, you're driving through downtown Clearwater [Florida] and see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, and you know that a 19-year-old boy is sleeping in your bed, with your wife. ... I totally understand O.J., I get it," Hogan said in the interview.

Linda Hogan told ABC News that she feared her ex-husband's reaction to her new boyfriend, Charlie Hill. Hill is 30 years her junior and was a classmate of the couple's children.

"When we were going through the divorce, and she was with her 18-year-old boyfriend, if I even was in the same town with her … she would file charges that I looked at her the wrong way at a red light, and wanted to have me put in jail," he said. "So if I beat her up for 23 years, why didn't we talk about this at the divorce? And why, all of a sudden, is it coming out now, when her book's come out?"

He added: "She fell in love with somebody that was younger than my kids."

Hogan, 58, was dealt another blow when his son, Nick, was involved in a car crash that left his friend in a permanent vegetative state. Nick Hogan was sentenced to five months in jail. In phone calls released to the media during that time, Hogan and his son seemed to be more focused on their next reality-TV show than on the situation.

"Will you work on that reality deal for me and get that thing lined up so the minute I walk out of wherever I walk out of I walk out of, it's there, boom?" Hogan's son tells his father in the recorded phone calls, adding: "I want to do it where I'll make the most money."

His father can be heard replying: "We could call it the New Nick or something."

If he could do it all over again, Hogan says, he would be a better father.

"Be a father first. Don't put a priority of being a friend with your wife first, or a friend with your kids first. … That's the one place I dropped the ball," he admitted.

The former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar is rebuilding his life. He recently married Jennifer McDaniel, had 12 back surgeries and is digging himself out of financial ruin.

Hogan says he's lost "hundreds of millions."

"There are houses being bought, and cars being bought, and vacations for family members. … There was eight, nine, $10 million, $11 million going out, so it got way off," he said.

Asked about the state of his finances now, he said he was "living in a rental house," but that he was "living in abundance."

"I'm happy now … I'm just so grateful," he said.

For now, he's focusing on what Hogan knows best: wrestling.

His new show, "Hulk Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling," features dwarves wrestling. The slogan? "Half the size, twice the violence."

"The show takes off in a direction that most people don't think about. After they leave the ring, to reach a doorknob or to go into a public restroom and use the sink or can't see themselves in the mirror," he said of the wrestlers in his show. "Or the fact that they have normal size wives and normal size kids … Just little people in the real world."

To return to the "Good Morning America" website.