In the world of professional wrestling, few names carry as much weight as Hulk Hogan. However, behind the spectacle, the platinum blonde mustaches and muscles, hides a painful history of physical wear and tear and substance dependence.
Terry Gene Bollea, the real name of this iconic wrestler, recently gave a harrowing interview to Muscle And Health, in which he revealed the excruciating pain and drug addiction that have plagued his life outside of the ring.
Hogan is now a 70-year-old man bearing the scars, visible and invisible, from a lifetime of punching and acrobatic moves. His medical history reads like a book: 25 operations, 10 of them on his back, facial operations for fighting injuries, knee and hip replacements, and abdominal and shoulder operations.
"I was hitting painkillers hard," Hogan has admitted, explaining a spiral of dependency on prescription painkillers that began as a post-op necessity but quickly became a "vicious cycle."
Hogan has recalled that the wear and tear on his body reached a point that weakened him about five or six years ago. "He was in crazy pain, to the point where he couldn't even function," he has said. His operations were so frequent that his body barely had time to heal, putting him in a perpetual state of recovery and pain. "When you have surgery on your back, the body takes a year to recover, but they operated on me every four months," he recounted.
Doctors prescribed painkillers, not only as a medical requirement at the time, but as an ill-advised measure even when the pain began to subside. And Hogan did not know how to stop consuming this type of substance.
Seven months ago, Hogan found himself at a New Year's Eve party surrounded by an environment he no longer recognized or approved of. He was the catalyst he needed to walk away from a life of substance abuse, including alcohol. "I was surrounded by people who he believed and behaved differently from me and I said to myself: 'I'm leaving'," he revealed.
The decision to stop using alcohol has given him a new clarity about life. In this sense, he has assured that he "is no longer tempted to drink" and has shown himself to be more reflective about his past decisions, about which he can only learn.