Britney Spears, Charlie Ebersol


Everything happens for a reason, right?

Charlie Ebersol may be widely known now for his relationship with superstar Britney Spears, but he made a name for himself long before becoming romantically linked to the pop star, and it was overcoming his personal hurdles early on in life that Ebersol credits to helping him be in a relationship with someone like Spears.

"My personal life is my personal life, but I will say this: If I had not gone through what I've gone through, I would not have been prepared to be in a relationship of any kind, much less in one with someone like Britney, who has the enormous heart that she does," he tells People magazine. "I can't imagine. Everybody deserves to be loved. My hope is that lesson shines forth in this documentary, and in life."

The 31-year-old entrepreneur spoke to the mag about his 4th annual NFL Characters Unite documentary, produced by his entertainment business The Company, which profiles NFL stars as they share deeply personal stories of overcoming prejudice, bullying and discrimination, with the goal of helping young people facing similar challenges.

And Ebersol admits that he, too, faced obstacles with bullying growing up.

Britney Spears, Charlie Ebersol

Michael Stewart/WireImage, 2014 Getty Images

"I was bullied very badly in high school," he tells the mag.

"I was a very successful kid. I sold my first company at a young age. There was a lot of misplaced rage in high school towards me. My brothers and sisters identified it as bullying, but I didn't at the time. What was amazing to me was I started feeling I wasn't worthy of being loved...I ended up blocking this from my memory.

"It wasn't until I was saying to my brother [Willie, who directed NFL Characters Unite], 'I couldn't imagine ever being bullied,' and he said, 'You lived this!' It all came back in a flood."

Britney Spears

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ebersol also shared the horrific memory of surviving a plane crash 10 years ago that claimed the lives of everyone but him and his father, who he pulled from the wreckage.

"The mission of my company is to bring three things to the world through entertainment: joy, happiness, and change. We must believe our precious time is being used to make a product worth more than anything else we could be doing. I had everything, but I had to work hard to find love."

And that he did, with none other than one of the most famous singers of our time.

NFL Characters Unite airs Feb. 6, 2015 at 7 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

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