TODAY

TODAY   |  June 14, 2013

Cesar Milan opens up about suicide attempt

TV star Cesar Milan, who grew up in Mexico, crossed the border illegally and within years seemed to have it all, including a hit TV show. The “Dog Whisperer” talks to NBC’s Kate Snow about hitting rock bottom three years ago, culminating in his divorce and a suicide attempt, and working towards a comeback.

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>>> we're back at 7:42. cesar millan is known as the dog whisperer but away from the cameras he couldn't control his private life . kate snow spent time with him recently and she has the story. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning matt. you know when you spend time with him you realize quickly that this is a guy with huge ambition and drive ever since he was a kid growing up in mexico. he wanted to be the very best. and that is at the core of what happened a couple of years ago when he stopped feeling successful and almost lost everything. cesar millan always had big dreams . he wanted to come to america.

>> and i stop and i say mom do you think i can be the best in the world.

>> reporter: he jumped the border illegally and within years he seemed to have it all. it wasn't just the tv show . he built an empire, best selling books , dog products and live stage shows. but three years ago, things started to unravel. his sidekick on the show, a pit bull died.

>> was he an extension of you.

>> no, he was better than me. way later.

>> reporter: days later he was in england on tour when his wife called and asked for a divorce. riz relationship with his boys suffered and all he had left was his work. there were problems there too. he never paid much attention to the business side of his empire. he owned very little of it. not even the name on his own tv show . the production company says he was paid $10 million for his work.

>> at the end of the day there was no money.

>> what do you mean you end up with no number.

>> 0 money.

>> you were broke?

>> i was broke.

>> he felt like he lost control .

>> you got to a point where you didn't think it was worth living.

>> no, so i just made a decision and took a bunch of kills and tried to kill myself .

>> he mixed several bottles of pills.

>> did the kids find you.

>> yeah, my kids find me. i said take me to the ranch i want to die with dottie.

>> he woke up in a psychiatric hospital and was surrounded by fans.

>> all the patients there knew me and they didn't trust the psychologist but they trusted me so he wanted cesar to be in their consultations so i became their pack leader.

>> he vowed to focus on his relationships with humans and not just dogs. he mended things with his boys and has a new perspective.

>> what makes your life is not the successes, it's when you go down and come back.

>> he is now a u.s. citizen and has a new girlfriend and one of his son's lives with them. he wants to speak out about the low point in his life to help others that might be going through depression and to help them see that you can get to that low point and come back from it. he's doing well.

>> he has been on the show many times. i had no idea he went through that rough patch. you can see more of that interview tonight on rock center with brian williams . still ahead with