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Wrestler Hulk Hogan left ‘completely humiliated’ and ‘violently shaking’ by release of sex tape with friend’s wife

Hogan appeared at $100 million trial pitting him against Gawker website

PRO wrestling legend Hulk Hogan testified that he was “completely humiliated” when he learned the website Gawker had posted a video of him having sex with his best friend’s wife.

“I was pretty rocked. I felt numb,” Hogan told a Florida jury.

“My arms and hands started shaking violently. I didn’t go into a spasm, but it was one of those things where I couldn’t stop shaking.”

 When Hogan arrived, he shared a group hug with Bubba and Heather, after which she took his hand and led him to a bedroom, he said
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When Hogan arrived, he shared a group hug with Bubba and Heather, after which she took his hand and led him to a bedroom, he said

On Day One of the $100 million trial pitting him against the news and gossip site, Hogan said he was in the midst of an October 2012 publicity tour for TNA Wrestling when he got a call from rival gossip site TMZ about the Gawker post.

Even worse, TMZ told him that the recording revealed how his then-best friend, radio shock-jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, was responsible for making and leaking the sex tape, Hogan said.

“The news just hit me,” the ex-wrestler and reality-TV star said, leaning back with his arms stretched in front of him.

“They told me that Bubba was on the other end of the tape, saying, ‘Heather, if we ever need to retire, this is our retirement.’”

 Hulk Hogan said he was in the midst of an October 2012 publicity tour for TNA Wrestling when he got a call from rival gossip site TMZ about the Gawker post
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Hulk Hogan said he was in the midst of an October 2012 publicity tour for TNA Wrestling when he got a call from rival gossip site TMZ about the Gawker post

Hogan said the video documented one of three or four romps he had with Heather Clem, who — along with her then-hubby — had repeatedly suggested that the two of them hook up.

Hogan always brushed off the couple, but things changed in 2007 when his first wife, Linda, told him she was filing for divorce, he said.

Hogan - dressed all in black, including his signature bandanna - said he called up Bubba “crying like a baby,” and accepted an invitation to go to his house and talk.

When Hogan arrived, he shared a “group hug” with Bubba and Heather, after which she took his hand and led him to a bedroom, he said.

Bubba handed him a condom and said he was heading to his office, Hogan testified.

“It was all of a sudden just so weird and so crazy,” he said.

 Gawker lawyer Michael Berry countered by attacking Hogan’s suit as a naked grab for 'lots and lots of money,' and noting how the mother of Gawker founder Nick Denton (pictured) was a Hungarian Jew 'who survived the Nazis'
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Gawker lawyer Michael Berry countered by attacking Hogan’s suit as a naked grab for 'lots and lots of money,' and noting how the mother of Gawker founder Nick Denton (pictured) was a Hungarian Jew 'who survived the Nazis'

Hogan said he even asked if his pal, who legally changed his name to Bubba the Love Sponge, was “filming this,” with his friend insisting: “I would never do that to you.” Bubba settled earlier with Hogan for $5,000 and a public apology.

Hogan said he was “completely humiliated” by the release of the video.

“I was embarrassed about what it did to me as a person, but it was even embarrassing as a character,” he said. “To Hulk Hogan, it was embarrassing.”

At one point in his testimony, Hogan — whose real name is Terry Bollea — pointed to differences between his private life and his “larger-than-life” celebrity persona.

“Terry Bollea is a normal person. Wrestling is his job,” he testified.

“I don’t argue. I’m not loud. I’m pretty soft-spoken to a fault. I don’t know really how to say no, even though I’m learning how to say no to my kids.”

“The character of Hulk Hogan is completely opposite of Terry Bollea.The only similarity to me is the look,” he said.

 Hogan said the video documented one of three or four romps he had with Heather Clem, who — along with her then-hubby — had repeatedly suggested that the two of them hook up
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Hogan said the video documented one of three or four romps he had with Heather Clem, who — along with her then-hubby — had repeatedly suggested that the two of them hook up

But Hogan said the scandal over the sex tape was taking a toll on his personal life, worrying aloud whether his second marriage — to Jennifer McDaniel, who he wed in 2010 — “on a Terry Bollea level is going to survive, because it’s not so great right now.

But Gawker lawyer Michael Sullivan used that claimed distinction to hammer Hogan on cross examination, focusing on different accounts he gave in interviews and depositions.

In one example, Sullivan noted how Hogan told a VH-1 interviewer that he had seen the full, 1-minute, 41-second video posted by Gawker, but gave a sworn statement saying he hadn’t watched it.

Hogan admitted the VH-1 statement was “not truthful,” claiming that “I was probably in the Hulk Hogan mode, trying to get through the day.”

“As Hulk Hogan, I’ve said I’ve slammed an elephant and surfed on a tiger shark and body-slammed Moby Dick — and I’ve said I pulled a bumper off a Cadillac, Jack — so it gives you artistic liberty when you are Hulk Hogan, to be in character.”

During opening statements, Hogan lawyer Shane Vogt said Gawker “wanted to inflict harm, and they wanted to make money” by exploiting the moment of weakness when Hogan “gave in to temptation.”

Gawker lawyer Michael Berry countered by attacking Hogan’s suit as a naked grab for “lots and lots of money,” and noting how Gawker founder Nick Denton’s mom was a Hungarian Jew “who survived the Nazis.”

“Mr. Denton grew up with parents who’ve seen first-hand what happens when speech is suppressed,” Berry said.

“He wants the public to have the simple, unvarnished truth the unvarnished truth about public figures.”