Q&A: David Hasselhoff on his reality, sobriety and 'Dancing with the Stars'
David Hasselhoff is sick of overzealous paparazzi, over-blown media reports and downright gossip. So, like any self-respecting celeb, he's gone out and landed himself a reality show.
On Sunday, A&E airs the first show of "The Hasselhoffs," a 10-episode look at Hasselhoff's life as a single dad and at his two teenaged daughters, Taylor-Ann and Hayley, as they try to make their own mark in the music business.
The former "Baywatch" and "Knight Rider" star has had a rough few years. In 2006, he filed for divorce from then-wife Pamela Bach. The same year, he severed a tendon in his right arm while shaving in a London hotel. In 2007, video of a drunk Hasselhoff eating a burger and listening to his daughter beg him not to drink surfaced on YouTube. Then between 2009 and 2010, Hasselhoff was allegedly rushed to the hospital three times after drinking binges.
Still, the Hoff remains a top-selling recording artist in Germany and is gearing up for a London stage production of "Peter Pan" in the role of Captain Hook. On Wednesday, I spoke with Hasselhoff about his show, his sobriety and his recent short-lived stint on "Dancing with the Stars."
Considering the media scrutiny that you've been subjected to over the past few years, why invite cameras inside your house?
David Hasselhoff: Well, that was kind of one of the main reasons we did invite cameras inside the house. The key word to that sentence is "invite." Because I didn't invite cameras to take a tape out of my daughter's camera and illegally put it out all over the world, which exploited her as well. Because I didn't invite the press to follow me and write exploitive lies and exacerbate situations that sometimes were true, but make them into something they're not. And even stuff that required me to sue magazines like Star and OK! and win -- when they actually said I was drunk the day I got custody of my kids. Which was a complete fabrication and absolute lies. But it took a year and $100,000.
This is an opportunity to do something entertaining through a medium that loves me and that I love, and that respects me. I can show the world who I really am and show the world that we do have feelings and that this is not who we are. That people are rooting for me in a positive way and want me to remain healthy -- as I do.
And what a struggle that has been at times. And what a struggle it is to be a single dad -- but in a humorous, funny way because we're such a close family. We kind of fluff it off and move forward, but it keeps getting thrown back in our face. As I said to my daughters, the situation that happened was played 12 million times on YouTube, it didn't happen 12 million times. So we wanted to come out and actually talk about [me] being a single dad and how we are fiercely loyal to each other.
It's almost like "Fame" meets "Entourage" because it's also got my quest to get over this ridiculous press. Every time I seem to get over it, something happens and someone puts out something and it gets blown so out of proportion that it affects me mentally, and it affects my children, but it also affects my career. And it affects my image. So this was like, hey, let's do this to prove that [image of me] was wrong.
Since you brought it up, are you currently drinking?
I'm currently drinking right now. A Diet Coke.
Am I sober? Today I'm sober. Tomorrow I'll probably be sober, but I take it one day at a time and I'm very healthy and on my game and enjoying life to the fullest. Unfortunately I can't say that for some other people who didn't make it, like my good friend Greg Giraldo who was roasting me on Comedy Central.
I address this very much in the first episode of the show. Like, "Hey, this is who I am, this is not who I am" and I do it by teaching a class at the University of Arizona saying there are consequences for your actions; and my family and I exist on truth and honesty and unadulterated support and love.
So you were born in Baltimore. Do you still have family in the area?
Yeah. I was back in Atlantic City a week ago doing a concert at Bally's and all my family lives in Ocean City, Md. now and they came up. In fact, I still get Maryland crab cakes from the Maryland Crab House. I have them flown in every three or four months and they're in my freezer.
I also wanted to ask you about "Dancing With the Stars." You were the first contestant eliminated in this last season. That had to sting a little bit...
The funny thing about it is I got more press out of being kicked off first than if I'd won. I didn't have to go through 10 weeks of hell. It was great. At first I was disappointed because of Kym [Johnson] because we worked so hard. I've done Broadway, done the "Producers" and I've danced. But it takes me a few weeks to figure out what "5,6,7,8" really means. I was just breaking through and they told me to camp it up and be funny. And the funniest part about it is the show got the highest ratings in the history of the show when I was on and it got the highest ratings on the finale when I appeared again. So I smile about that.
In a way I was kind of thinking it's not about the dancing. It's about who's popular right now and who's got the most Twitters and fan support. But it was a very good positive experience and I have nothing but respect for the dancers.
I have to ask, since it was a controversial season, what do you think about how far Bristol Palin got in the competition? Did she deserve to go that far?
I think that, you know, life is not fair. Who deserves what? There's got to be a reason for it all in the end. I think when I die I'll ask god, "Hey God, what about Bristol?" He'll say, "You know we tried to get her mom in the White House and that didn't work out, so we'll use this, but then she became the president so it all worked out great." I don't know. Who knows? It's a dancing show, for god's sake.
We're sending kids off to Iraq and Afghanistan and no one talks about them. And we're sitting here talking about "Dancing with the Stars" and Bristol Palin.
The funny part about it is she's a nice person. A lovely girl. I judge a person, like Martin Luther King said, on the content of their character. She happened to be very kind, very sweet and very shy. It couldn't have been easy for her being thrust into that, but you know, it made for entertaining television. It's like they say, "As long as they're talking about ya, they're talking about ya."
So I'm going to go ahead and assume you're not a Sarah Palin supporter.
I don't really know her game yet. I really cannot say. I haven't taken the time -- right now I'm just trying to support my daughters and make sure I have enough shirts clean because I'm flying all over the world.
It's a great time right now, to be honest. If I can say one thing I've enjoyed about this show more than anything, it's been spending time with my daughters.
| December 2, 2010; 3:34 PM ET
Categories: Celebrities, Reality Check
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