Erin Andrews. Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Fanatics
Erin Andrews became emotional as she recounted a difficult moment from an encounter with a stalker more than ten years ago. In an upcoming episode of Hoda Kotb's "Making Space" podcast, Andrews, who is now 45, revealed that people viewed the incident as a scandal, contrasting her public image as the "good girl" from high school. The podcast episode will be available on Wednesday, November 22.
In 2008, Michael David Barrett unlawfully recorded Erin Andrews without her knowledge in hotel rooms in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, while she was unclothed. He subsequently uploaded the videos online in 2009.
Andrews firmly denied any involvement in such actions and expressed her initial disbelief when informed about the videos by a friend from Sports Illustrated. She stated, "I immediately rejected the notion when my friend called and mentioned the existence of a video. I do not engage in such activities. I am single and live a life devoid of those circumstances." The friend then insisted, "Erin, it is indeed you."
After watching the video, Andrews immediately contacted her parents who were deeply concerned upon hearing her screams. Reflecting on the situation, Andrews expressed remorse for her immature reaction, acknowledging that despite being in her thirties, she regressed to the behavior of a 15-year-old as a way to avoid confronting the distressing circumstances. However, she recognized the unwavering support and guidance provided by her parents, who remained steadfastly by her side throughout the ordeal.
Barrett pleaded guilty in 2009 to videotaping the former cohost of Dancing With the Stars. He served a 30-month sentence for interstate stalking and was released in 2012.
In March 2016, Andrews was awarded $55 million in a civil lawsuit against Barrett, as well as the owner and operator of the Nashville hotel, West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital Group. While testifying in court, she emotionally recounted the harm she endured from the incident.
"It's a constant presence, always lingering," she commented, reflecting on the situation. "I aspired to be the wholesome girl next door, passionate about sports, but now I'm branded as the girl involved in a hotel scandal... This stain will persist on the internet even after my passing."
Furthermore, Andrews claimed that ESPN compelled her to recount the incident during an interview prior to resuming her duties.
“Due to the absence of an arrest and uncertainty of the exact location, my superiors at ESPN instructed me to conduct a sit-down interview before resuming my duties for college football. This was the condition for my return,” she stated under oath.
Responding to her allegations, an ESPN spokesperson stated, "Certain developments in the case have led some to believe that ESPN did not provide support to Erin during the aftermath of her harrowing experience. This is completely untrue. We have consistently and will continue to provide our full support to Erin."