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Erin Andrews says that one of the hardest moments during her ordeal with a stalker more than a decade ago was calling her parents to let them know she'd been secretly videotaped.
The Fox Sports broadcaster opened up to Hoda Kotb in the newest episode of Hoda's "Making Space" podcast about the 2008 incident that landed stalker Michael David Barrett in prison and resulted in Andrews, 45, living with post-traumatic stress.
TODAY.com shared an excerpt from the interview on Nov. 20, and it will be released in full on Wednesday.
Barrett secretly filmed Andrews several times through a peephole while she was naked in her room at a Nashville hotel in 2008. Barrett also filmed Andrews at a hotel in Columbus, Ohio, and the videos were put online in 2009.
"People thought it was a scandal, and I’m the square from high school," Andrews told Hoda.
"I don’t do those things. 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.'"
Andrews said she made an anguished phone call to her parents after watching the video.
"My dad says he thought I had been in a car accident because I was just screaming," Andrews said. "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."
Barrett, who during a civil trial admitted to altering the peepholes, served 2½ years in prison for interstate stalking and was released in 2012.
Four years later, Andrews won a $55 million lawsuit against Barrett and the companies that managed the Nashville Marriott hotel where the videos were filmed.
“I know I still need to go into therapy for it and deal with the PTSD even at this level,” Andrews said. “I’m doing a lot better.”
The support of her parents was crucial, which included putting together a legal team and working with the FBI.
“That is where most of my pain comes from is that my poor parents had to deal with that,” Andrews said. “It brought on a lot of stress. My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer right after my trial, which, don’t tell me that that’s not a coincidence.”
Andrews said she and her sister found anxiety medication at their parents’ home in the midst of the ordeal.
“And she’s like, ‘Well, they had taken them ever since your trial,’” Andrews said. “And I was like, ‘Oh God.’ You just feel so bad, but that’s what great parents do. They take the weight, they take the brunt of it for their kid. And my parents are amazing.”
These days, Andrews said she feels more relaxed when walking around NFL stadiums and having people asking to take pictures with her, compared to the anxiety of the aftermath of the stalking incident.
“I like feeling that way versus I used to walk in the stadiums where there’s 70, 80, 000 people, and I thought every single one of these people have seen me naked,” Andrews said. “And I was like, ‘When am I going to stop feeling like that?’
“I used to make jokes about it to coaches or players (like) well, I know you’ve seen. It was a horrific thing that happened that I didn’t bring on myself.”
There are some areas where the anxiety still lingers. Andrews described the fear she gets any time she receives a notification that someone is trying to hack the password to one of her accounts.
“I instantly lose all feeling in my body, and I start to panic,” she said. “And I’m grateful for somebody that works with me that I’ll call her right away and I’m like, ‘It’s happening, it’s happening,’ and she’s like, ‘OK, OK, let’s look at the account.'
“It’s the whole privacy, the violation thing that I have a very hard time with. I have a hard time with the word ‘stalker.’ I don’t do well with that word because I just hate it.”
Andrews tried to deal with the stress of the ordeal by taking solace in simply doing her job and interacting with NFL coaches and players.
“That’s probably really unhealthy because I didn’t want to think about it, but that was really the only way I knew I could recover and kind of get by,” she said.
With the final trial involving the incident having been resolved seven years ago, Andrews has moved forward.
“I feel like I’m on the other side,” she said.