Erin Andrews emotionally recalled a hard moment from an incident with a stalker that happened over a decade ago.
“People thought it was a scandal, and I’m the square from high school,” Andrews, 45, told Hoda Kotb in an excerpt from Kotb’s “Making Space” podcast that will be released on Wednesday, November 22.
In 2008, Michael David Barrett secretly filmed Andrews through a peephole while she was naked in hotel rooms in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio. He later posted the videos online in 2009.
“I don’t do those things,” Andrews explained. “I knew the second I got the phone call from my friend at Sports Illustrated that he said, ‘There’s this video.’ And I said, ‘No, there’s not. I don’t do that. I’m single. I don’t have that going on in my life.’ He’s like, ‘Erin, it’s you.’”
After seeing the video, Andrews said she called her parents.
“My dad says he thought I had been in a car accident because I was just screaming,” Andrews recalled. “And I feel so bad. My parents were incredible. I was, God, in my thirties when that happened, and I resorted to acting like a 15-year-old because, in terms of not wanting to deal, my parents really, they were on the forefront.”
In 2009, Barrett pleaded guilty during a civil trial to videotaping the former Dancing With the Stars cohost. After serving 30 months in prison for interstate stalking, Barrett was released in 2012.
Andrews won a $55 million civil lawsuit in March 2016 against Barrett and the Nashville hotel’s owner and operator, West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital Group. She broke down while testifying in court when describing the emotional damage she suffered from the incident.
“It’s always there. It’s always on my back,” she said at the time. “I wanted to be the girl next door who loved sports, and now I’m the girl with a hotel scandal … It’s going to be on the internet until I die.”
Andrews also alleged that ESPN forced her to recall the incident in an interview before she could return to work.
“Because there wasn’t an arrest, because we didn’t know where this happened, my bosses at ESPN told me, ‘Before you go back on air for college football, we need you to give a sit-down interview.’ And that was the only way I was going to be allowed back,” she testified.
A spokesperson for ESPN told Us Weekly in response to her claims: “Developments in the case have been interpreted by some to mean that ESPN was unsupportive of Erin in the aftermath of her ordeal. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have been and continue to be supportive of Erin.”