Thanks Andrea Zabcik for translating this for us, it was very kind! We appreciate it.
From the transcript, I subtitled the interview and put it on YouTube, for any interested in watching it with subtitles this time.
Disclaimer: David’s quotes are mostly translated back from what the German reporter was saying. Most of the time, I was not able to capture what David actually said, the voiceovers were too loud.
RTL (voice-over): It’s about time the man started talking. Here, across from the Millenium Arena in London, we are catching up with David Hasselhoff. The most-viewed TV star in the world is finally willing to tell us how he dealt with his public descent into alcoholism. What really happened behind the scenes at the ATM [Europe] Awards? (clip from MTV) And why did someone tape the most famous TV Lifeguard while he was trying to eat a burger completely drunk on the floor of his house? Why was that tape then circulated around the world? Everyone now knows David has a problem with alcohol, but does he?
David Hasselhoff: 200 people get drunk at a party but nobody talks about them, only about my problem.
RTL (voice-over): When David arrives, three hours late but completely sober, we are actually relieved. The man has charisma and you can’t tell that he’s often nervous before interviews. He’s in a good mood, in spite of a 12-hour flight here to London from LA.
DH: You know, TV stations in the U.S. offered me tons of money to talk to them. They said I would sell millions of books if I came on their shows, but that’s not important to me. What is important, is that my children know the whole truth.
RTL (voice-over): Later on [in the interview] we will get back to what David means by the “whole truth,” without a ton of money changing hands by the way. He is showing one part of this truth in form of his new book, about to be published in the German market. In it he describes how, over the course of many years, alcohol changed from being a comfort to becoming his biggest problem.
DH: I think it had a lot to do with fear. Everybody knows those kinds of fears. For example, there’s the fear of not finding love and the fear not to be able to find work, or the fear of not being happy. And it’s also the fear of wondering, kind of… what’s the point?
RTL (voice-over): Until now there had never been any talk about fears or purpose in the life of singer/actor David Hasselhoff, at least not on the outside. A U.S. citizen, born in Baltimore, MD, with roots in Germany, he gained worldwide fame in the early 80s with the show Knight Rider. He was even more successful in the 90s with Baywatch. The show thrived on the California vibe. At some point in time, 1.7 billion people worldwide followed the stories about the gorgeous lifeguards. They are sexy, with perfect bodies, full of energy and youthfulness, but at the same time relatively hollow and superficial. That’s what David Hasselhoff stood for. At 6’4” this image made him a multi-millionaire, next to Pamela Anderson.
DH: It’s kind of a double-edged sword. You have fulfilled your dream, but then you ask yourself “what’s next?” After Knight Rider ended, I was unemployed for a while. Similarly, after Baywatch, as well. Looking for new roles, I experienced some crazy things. After the end of Knight Rider I went to a film casting. They were looking for a type “just like David Hasselhoff.” I said “Hello, I’m David Hasselhoff, I look just like him,” but they just said “no, not you.”
RTL (voice-over): Following those types of disappointments David would, more and more often, seek solace in the mini-bars of his hotel suites. In the years following the end of Baywatch his problems mounted. His marriage to actress Pamela Bach ended dramatically, and in spite of several notable successes as a movie and stage actor, super-fame escaped him. Many mini-bars later, he was suffering from acute alcoholism. Several times he entered rehab clinics, but relapsed every time. Then, during the summer of 2007, disaster struck.
Following an argument with a producer, David drove to his house in Las Vegas. After a few drinks he went to bed. At least, that’s what he thought. In reality something else happened entirely. His daughter, Haley, videotaped him lying on the floor in a drunken stupor. Unbeknownst to David, the video was posted to the Internet. He found out days later.
DH: She cared about me. She said, “dad, that’s what you’re like when you’re drunk. I’m afraid for your life.” Sometimes you get a wake-up call from God telling you that you can fall as quickly as you rose.
RTL: What happened when you found out that this video was being posted everywhere? Were you shocked? You didn’t even know it existed…?
DH: Strangely enough, that was a spiritual moment for me. I was totally calm inside. Everybody around me was freaking out, but I knew there had to be a reason for it, and I’d deal with it somehow.
RTL (voice-over): David’s daughter Hayley, who took the video, wasn’t responsible for its distribution to the press or on the Internet. This brings us back to the truth David mentioned at the beginning of this interview, a truth that even David is only half-heartedly concealing. (As an aside, he mentions his ex-wife Pamela was on the scene that decidedly important day in Las Vegas. During the following battle for custody for the two girls, the question of who publicized the video turned out to be pivotal.)
DH: The judges know the truth about the video and they gave me sole custody of the girls.
RTL (voice-over): At the time David said the video woke him up, but then last fall it happened again.
Before the MTV Awards in Berlin, he had a few drinks in his hotel room to loosen up before his appearance. By the time he entered the stage, however, he was completely inebriated. Millions of fans worried, “how can he get this problem under control?”
RTL: How do people treat you when they meet you at night at a bar? Do they say “Hey David, this is your last drink for tonight?”
DH: No! Everybody wants to buy me a drink. That’s the problem. You know, not everybody reads those magazines and sits at the computer watching little Youtube videos on the Internet. And, hey, everybody’s been in this kind of situation before. I didn’t kill anybody. I don’t do anything different than 90% of the people who have a drink now and then.
RTL (voice-over): David realizes he has a problem, but at the next moment he diminishes its impact. What remains is the hope that the cult star with a multi-generational fanbase will always have someone looking out for him when things get tough. In April, for example, during his planned appearance on the German TV show Musikantenstadl, it would be understandable if he wanted to have a drink before the show to calm his nerves. Unfortunately for David, that is not an option.