Jesse James: 'I Was a Terrorized Kid'

In his highly anticipated Nightline interview, Sandra Bullock's estranged husband is candid about his brutal dad

Jesse James appeared on Nightline on Tuesday night to express remorse for cheating on Sandra Bullock -- and reveal the actual reason he went into rehab after the scandal hit. While the press assumed that James had gone into sex rehab a la Tiger Woods, James says that he's not a sex addict: he's a child abuse survivor.

The former Monster Garage star says that his dad (remember, the guy with the Nazi friends?) physically abused him when he was his daughter Sunny's age -- and he showed Nightline photos of his 7-year-old self with bruises and a broken arm. The abuse, he says, leads him to sabotage his life because he doesn't believe he deserves to be happy. "I've basically never felt good enough for anyone," he said.

And he didn't hold back about his vivid memories: "Bike builder, Monster Garage TV star, all that stuff is a huge smokescreen so that people won't see that I'm a scared, abused kid..." James said. "He beat my ass pretty good a bunch of times....I just remember, like, clinched teeth, strained-neck look on his face," he recalled. "My whole childhood, I never had a chance to be a kid....I was always scared."

As James spoke publicly about his childhood for the first time, he became so emotional, he had to stop the interview. In fact, he seemed genuinely remorseful -- and extremely vulnerable. Which leads us to wonder: why did James want do this interview now? Bullock already filed for divorce (James said he's "100% sure" about that), his former mistresses are still selling stories to the tabloids, and clearly he's still working through a lot of very personal issues.  Shouldn't he have waited a little longer to look for public redemption?

Rumor has it that James was pressured into doing the interview because of one thing: money. Reportedly, sales have plummeted for his clothing line and burger restaurant in Southern California (who knew he had a burger restaurant?), and it's a safe bet that nobody is knocking on his door for endorsements anymore. Last month, it was announced that his latest TV venture, Jesse James Is A Dead Man, had been cancelled by Spike TV despite good ratings. In short, the guy is bleeding money -- and selling his knick-knacks on eBay is not enough to satisfy his investors. James' handlers allegedly hope that the interview elicits sympathy, so that he can once more be a valuable asset. If true, it actually seems cruel to James, seeing as two of his own most valuable assets -- his wife and newly adopted son -- have walked out the door.

Plus:
- iVillage Flash Poll: Should Sandra Bullock Forgive Jesse James?   

- Another Jesse James Mistress Apologizes to Sandra Bullock
- Jesse James Surfaces Post-Rehab, Minus Wedding Ring

Did the Nightline interview make you more or less sympathetic to Jesse James? Chime in below!

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