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Hulk Hogan is speaking out following his headline-making legal win against Gawker media.
The former pro wrestler was awarded $115 million in his sex tape case against the website, and an additional $25 million in punitive damages, and although Hogan has faced some seriously terrifying opponents in the ring, he confessed to the New York Post that Gawker founder Nick Denton "scared the hell out of me."
"Denton and I had a stare-down. He scared me staring at me, man. He just sat there staring. It was right after his cross-examination. He stood up and stared. It was like he was going to call me out at ‘Wrestlemania,' Yikes!"
AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool
Hogan revealed he was offered "a large amount of money'' to settle but decided against it because, "if I put my tail between my legs, if I take the money but don't tell the truth or I don't face [the situation], I'm not going to be able to live with myself. I knew how unhappy I would be. I told my wife, I said, ‘Jennifer, I just got to follow my heart,' " Hogan said.
"It's embarrassing, though, believe me," the wrestler said of the highly publicized trial. "After Gawker had posted the video, it was almost like when I lived in Minnesota and the sun went away and it was like seven months of being real cloudy when I lived in the Twin Cities."
Hogan continued to note that he'd run into kids who would say that they tried to download his wrestling videos but found his sex tape instead. "I dealt with so many horrible things, people in public asking me about the tape. I felt like I had, all of a sudden I had a heat lamp on me at all times.''
"All I did was write for 11 days affirmations: I am victorious. I am grateful. I am highly favored by God and His universe.''
On Monday afternoon, Gawker Media was hit with $15 million in punitive damages while its founder Nick Denton will have to personally pay $10 million. The decision came after only about three hours of deliberations.
Friday's financial award was for economic injuries and emotional distress while today's ruling specifically related to punitive damages typically awarded to punish the defendant. In court testimony, Hulk's lawyer said Gawker Media is worth $83 million while the founder is said to have a net-worth of $121 million pre-judgment.
"I kind of snorted," Hogan said of his reaction to the ruling. "Everything like my whole head, like a bucket of water was going to come out of my face. It was so overwhelming. It was almost like I was relieved that they believed me...I was so out of it, I didn't hear the numbers until we got upstairs. I went, 'Oh!'"
For those who haven't been following the case closely in recent weeks, Hulk sued the media company for $100 million back in 2012 and accused the website of invasion of privacy and other torts after posting 101 seconds of a sex tape featuring the wrestling icon and his ex Heather Clem.
"For me, the message is America is tired of this type of behavior, and it's unacceptable, and it's illegal," Hogan tells The Post. "I hope [the defendants] learned what the trial was about: that we were actually protecting the First Amendment and carving out that little piece of privacy."
As for his future, the WWE star said, "I'm real excited about actually having some time to spend here because before this, actually, it's been a wild ride the last 10 years, with divorce [from ex Linda in 2009] and accidents and surgeries. I just hope now I can take a little bit of time and enjoy being around my dogs and the beach here and [wife Jennifer, whom he wed in 2010] and do what feels right.
"I just want to make sure financially my wife and my kids don't have to worry.''
Hogan concludes, "I'm just a normal man. I made mistakes. Everybody deserves a second chance."