The wrestling icon, whose real name is Terry Bollea, opened up on Sunday's episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now? about the demons that once shadowed him and how he entertained suicidal thoughts after the end of his family's VH1 show, Hogan Knows Best.
"Everything got dark, everything happened at once," Hogan told Oprah Winfrey.
"I was drinking alcohol very heavily. It just all kept piling up, it all kept mounting and mounting I didn't know how to handle it. I always wondered how could someone possibly take their own life and so I got to that point where I said, ‘You know what, maybe this would be easy. You know, maybe this would be an easy way to fix things.'"
In this particular sit-down, he pinpointed a night when his fans helped snap him out of his depression—and possibly saved his life.
"I was with my family and a bunch of my friends at a table" on New Year's Eve that year in Miami, he recalled. "And there's a bunch of negativity about the food being bad, you know the champagne didn't work, even though it was all consumed. And when I walked outside, some kid ran up and hugged me and was like, ‘Oh I grew up watching you. I didn't have a dad, you're like a dad to me.' And there was another person that said ‘Hey Hulk, we love you.'"
"And I went, ‘Oh my God', it was right then," Hogan continued. "I didn't understand what was going on, but it hit me that there's clean air and that there's dirty air. And once I walked back inside again, I realized I couldn't take it anymore. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I got sick and tired of the hating, the negativity, the verbal abuse, just everything that I was hearing."
The now remarried father of two added, in hindsight: "I now realize I had to go through all this stuff to be who I am today, to make me who I am today."
Hogan also opened up about this traumatic period a few years ago, telling E! News in 2009 that it was his friend and American Gladiators cohost Laila Ali who pulled him through on the very night that he had a gun in his hand.
"She goes, 'You left [the set], you were so depressed. Are you OK? We haven't heard from you,'" he recalled the phone ringing and Ali being on the line. "She kept saying that 'we love you and we love you and come back, come to church with us,' and that kind of snapped me out of it."
Whatever worked at the time, it's heartening to hear about Hogan finding what he needed to go on.