Hulk Hogan was overwhelmed with emotion when he learned he had won his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker on Friday, March 18. In a clip from his first post-victory interview with Good Morning America’s Linzie Janis, the 62-year-old wrestling legend says it was a tumultuous three years leading to the verdict.
“[Gawker] was hoping that, financially, I wouldn't be able to stay in the game with them, and I'd quit or tap out or something,” Hogan told Janis. “I felt like I had this monster on my shoulders no matter where I went.”
In 2012, Gawker published a two-minute clip from a video of Hogan having sex with his friend Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem’s wife, Heather, in 2006. Hogan claimed he was unaware he was being taped and sued the media site for $100 million in damages.
Janis, who was in the courtroom on March 18 when a Florida jury awarded Hogan the initial $115 million, recalled to the famed wrestler that she could hear him immediately start sobbing.
Hogan said during the interview that when the verdict was read, he reacted with a “crazy involuntary snort” that he attempted to control.
“I tried to not snort again, just … water just came pouring out of my eyes. I just started shaking. I couldn't hear anything except the judge going, ‘Yes’ to that or ‘Yes’ to this or ‘Yes’ for damages. I don't remember what they said,” the former WWE star explained. “But it was just so overwhelming when I knew that we had won and people believed me. It was just — gosh, it was a moment. It was a moment.”
On Monday, March 21, a Florida jury awarded Hogan an additional $25 million dollars in punitive damages. According to Reuters, the jury decided that Gawker Media will pay $15 million, CEO Nick Denton $10 million and former editor A.J. Daulerio $100,000.
“We’re exceptionally happy with the verdict,” Hogan’s legal team told Us Weekly in a statement on March 18. “We think it represents a statement as to the public’s disgust with the invasion of privacy disguised as journalism. The verdict says no more.”
Hogan’s interview with GMA airs on Wednesday, March 23, at 7 a.m. ET.
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics, and more delivered straight to your inbox!