The Olympian chatted with New York Magazine during a shopping trip to the Grove recently—where he divulged he just got his very first credit card—and opened up about coming out of a really bad place following the controversy over the summer.
"I was at my lowest low. The darkest place of my life," he recalled of the aftermath from the story he told about being robbed at gunpoint at a gas station in the Brazilian city.
He admitted to staying in his North Carolina home for days at a time, fearful of running into anyone, especially reporters.
While many of his endorsements and deals began cutting ties with him, one offer remained on the table: Dancing With the Stars.
Lochte said he almost didn't do the show, despite having just moved to Los Angeles. "I didn't want to put myself out there just yet," he explained. "I was scared to show my face in public."
He eventually changed his mind and is now feeling exceptionally glad he did. "If I wasn't on this show, I don't know what I would have done," he admitted. "This has really gotten me out of the dark hole."
Although he says DWTS is "like a full-time job," he finds himself with a little more free time these days. "It's weird to have this free time," he told the publication. "But it's cool because I actually get to do stuff I couldn't do before."
For example, he opened up his very first credit card and planned an elaborate engagement to his girlfriend, Playboy model Kayla Rae Reid.
"I want to pick out the cake, the flowers, all of it," he said about his involvement in planning the wedding.
Still, he looks forward to being able to train for the 2020 Olympics eventually.
"When I'm feeling like I want to get back in the water, I will get back in the water," he revealed. "Right now, I just want to actually take a deep breath and enjoy life."