AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool
Erin Andrews took the stand today.
The 37-year-old sportscaster testified in her $75 million civil suit against Marriott Nashville, and couldn't help but become emotional while recalling the horrific event when a stranger secretly filmed her in 2008 and posted the video of her naked on the Internet.
"I'm so angry. This could have been stopped," she told the jury. "No one ever called me or told me when I checked in that he asked to be put next to me."
Michael David Barrett, a former delivery truck driver, stayed in the room adjacent to Andrews during her stay at the hotel, and shot the video through a peep hole. Andrews says she would have called authorities had she known that Barrett requested a room next to hers.
"All I wanted to do is be respected, be the girl who loves sports, and now I'm the girl with the scandal. It's embarrassing," she tearfully explained. "It was everywhere...My naked body was on the front page of the New York Post."
When asked if she feels hopeless, Andrews confessed, "I feel like I'm on an island all by myself...It's on the internet now. And I've been told it's going to be on the internet until I die."
The emotions continued as Andrews spoke about the speculation surrounding the video and how the media began to wonder if the entire act was a publicity stunt.
"Probably for like three months, everybody thought it was a publicity stunt. The front page of the New York Post said ‘ESPN Scandal.' To Fox News and CBS, everybody put up that I was doing it for publicity and attention, and that ripped me apart."
The broadcaster, who worked for ESPN at the time, also shared that her former employer told her she had to do a sit-down interview about the whole ordeal before going back on-air.
"Because there wasn't an arrest, because we didn't know where this happened, my bosses at ESPN told me, 'before you go back on air for college football we need you to give a sit-down interview.' And that was the only way I was going to be allowed back," she stated, noting that she was given the option of choosing who to do the interview with.
"They were highly recommending it be GMA [Good Morning America], because ESPN and ABC are the same, and they wanted it on GMA. But like my dad had said the other day, I didn't want it to be a two second thing where it's like, 'Was this a scandal, or, was it not?' No, this is my life, and I feel terrible about myself, and we want to figure out how this happened.
"So, I didn't want to do it, I didn't want to be a part of it, and I just said, you know what, 'I know because she's very public about it, Oprah Winfrey is a crime victim.' I talked to her producers, I told her I didn't want to do it. But this was the only way I was going to be put back on air, so we went to the Oprah show."
Despite choosing Oprah to do the interview, Andrews admitted that she didn't want to do it all, saying she was bawling to her parents in the green room, telling them, "I don't want to talk about what happened to me, why can't I just be normal? Like, why can't I go back?"
"I think her producer had heard me crying, and all of a sudden in walked Oprah, in her slippers, and her butterfly eyelashes. I didn't have time to get up out of the chair, and she walked over to me, and I was hysterical. And she said, 'I've got you, you're safe here. I'll take care of you.' And I did the interview."
Andrews continued to deal with difficulties once she got back to work, testifying, "I was living like a hermit. It was nothing like who I am. It was nothing like who I tried to be."
She also added that she felt a lot of pressure about how well she'd be able to bounce back. "People wanted to see how I could function. People wanted to see how I could do." She added, "I don't want anything to think I'm weak and I can't handle it."
Surprisingly, it was her stint on Dancing With the Stars that helped get a piece of her peace back, a gig her former colleague urged her to do. Andrews shared that ESPN broadcaster Mike Tirico told her, "'Please go do the show, We need our girl back. You need to go find your smile.'"
So she did, and Andrews told the jury, "I came here to get my smile back. And for three months, I had it."