Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris/Contributor
Jesse James is feeling better lately -- although that may not be saying much. Ever since he torpedoed his marriage to Sandra Bullock, America's most famous motorcycle customizer has struggled with negative press, failing businesses and custody battles. After he lost everything, there was only one thing left for James to do: start over. In his new memoir, American Outlaw, James, 42, writes about his rocky journey to fame, and trying to turn over a new leaf after his recent notoriety.
"Everything got ripped to shreds," James tells People in an interview promoting the book, which hits stores May 3. "I was at my breaking point."
The former reality TV personality says that he takes "full accountability" for cheating on America's sweetheart, but that it's time for him to think about the future, for the sake of his family.
"I'm moving forward, thinking clearly and becoming a better person," says James. "I have started life over. I've made my world pretty small. Now I can focus on what's important: making sure (my) kids get good grades and are happy and healthy."
Since the scandal with Bullock, James has also come to terms with how the abuse he suffered as a child shaped his misbehavior.
"I never felt successful, never felt I deserved anything," he explains.
Having closed down his motorcycle garage, West Coast Choppers, James lives on the outskirts of Austin, Tex., with his youngest daughter Sunny. Bullock has a home nearby, but it sounds like there's still something unresolved between them: James' relationship with Bullock's 15-month-old son Louis. When the star adopted the baby in 2009, she and James had planned to raise him together. Now Bullock is a single mom, and James says that his memories of Louis were too painful to write about in his memoir.
"Talking about Louis almost felt too intimate," James confesses. "He is so sweet and I miss him."
Even though Jesse James brought it on himself, it's a little heartbreaking that he was separated from the baby he helped raise from infancy. Maybe down the line, he'll be able to form a new relationship with the child that was almost his. Hopefully his engagement to Kat Von D will help him to start over -- as he clearly, desperately, wants to.