Hulk Hogan Feels "Vindicated," Has Seen "Uptick" in Work After Victory Against Gawker in Sex Tape Trial

The 62-year-old wrestling legend had sued the website for posting a video of him being intimate with his then-best friend's wife

By Beth Sobol, Corinne Heller Apr 14, 2016 10:00 AMTags
Hulk Hogan, The ViewMPI02/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Hulk Hogan's career appears to be on the mend since he won his lawsuit against Gawker for publishing a sex tape of him without his permission.

The 62-year-old most famous wrestling star in the world, whose real name is Terry Bollea, had sued the website for posing a video of him being intimate with his then-best friend's wife. A Florida jury awarded Hogan $140 million for emotional distress, economic damages and punitive damages. Gawker CEO and founder Nick Denton, who was ordered to pay $10 million of it, had called the trial a "sham from the start." The company filed an appeal on April 4.

Meanwhile, Hogan has been in good spirits since his legal victory.

AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool

"He feels vindicated," a source told E! News exclusively. "For him, a verdict meant people believed him. Right now he's spending time with his wife and just taking a breath for a minute. The trial was a big circus and he's just taking a breath."

"In terms of work, there's definitely been an uptick," the source added. "Especially since the trial started in March. People saw the true story and are happy to be in business with him. The companies he's been working with for years have not wavered. LoanMart, for example, has stuck by him. He feels good. He feels like the verdict showed that people believed him. He feels good about his career and things overall."

Hogan has appeared in commercials for the finance company 1-800 LoanMart for years. In February, the lender announced a "new creative collaboration" with Hogan, saying he would be featured in more ads.

Hogan's career took a turn for the worst last year.

In July, more than seven months after the sex tape trial began, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. announced it had terminated its contract with him after The National Enquirer published a transcript of a tirade in which he allegedly used racially charged language. Hogan apologized for using "offensive language" during a past conversation, adding, "This not who I am." His lawyer said the wrestling star resigned from WWE.

Following his legal victory against Gawker, many fans speculated Hogan may make an appearance at WrestleMania 32. He did not. But in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Hogan remained coy when asked if he would be present at WrestleMania 33 next year.

"Never say never," he said.

Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE

During the trial and after the verdict, Hogan received a slew of supportive messages from fans online. His supporters continue to send him positive posts.

"The amazing thing is the support among the fans and the people he sees everyday on the street has not wavered," the source told E! News. "He goes out and he's greeted warmly. People stop him and they want to take pictures and talk to him. There has always been and continues to be support from everyone he meets on the street. That's never stopped."

"I just wanted to say thank you for everything you have done for me over the years," one fan tweeted at Hogan a week after his damages were determined. "And I am happy to see a good man get rewarded."