Hulk Hogan, born Terry Bollea, burst onto the professional wrestling scene in the late seventies and went on to become a world wrestling champion many times over. From humble beginnings, this giant of a man escaped a pre-ordained life of dock and construction work in Port Tampa, Florida, to become one of the most recognizable celebrities on the planet. He did it through sheer will, grit, determination, and a drive to always go over the top and do more than what others thought possible. From the outside, his story was one of a charmed life—he was at the top of his career, had a wonderful and loving family, and a lifelong fan base who worshipped him. Of course he had his up and downs—including hints of steroid abuse and his falling out with WWE and Vince McMahon—but it’s been the last two years that have tested Hogan more than any other in his lifetime.

In 2007, while riding the massive success of his VH1 reality show, Hogan Knows Best, his son Nick was involved in a tragic car accident that left his best friend in critical condition. Then Linda, his wife, left him after 23 years of marriage, his beloved daughter Brooke blamed him for the breakup and his son went to jail. The tabloid media had a field day. When unflattering jailhouse conversations between him and his son were released to the press the tabloids were in a frenzy. The sudden turmoil and tragedy surrounding Hogan took its toll. He fell into a deep depression, seeing no way out, until one fateful phone call.


In his first book, he tried to recreate the myth of Hulk Hogan onto the written page. This time around, he succeeded in his book by making himself appear to be a regular person that just happened to have a flamboyant job.

Hulk isn’t afraid to share his flaws with the audience in this book as he candidly discusses almost killing himself, his use of steroids, and his adultery. He also discusses his family’s dark secrets, from Linda’s alleged issues with alcohol to his brother overdosing on drugs.

While a portion of the book discusses his wrestling career, it is less of a career retrospective than his prior book was. He only covered the major parts of it and commented on it mostly from a perspective of how the big moments in his career impacted his life outside of it. The most in-depth he goes about in discussing his career is the troubles he went through to become a professional wrestler.


Hogan doesn’t shy away from sharing personal details of his family’s tragedies. But he does it in a way that sometimes feels like he’s orchestrating a bit of a public-relations campaign.

Once the filming of his reality show ended, Hulk’s life began to spiral out of control. Between his divorce and Nick’s car crash, Hulk found himself lower than he ever was. The stories he tells about Linda and her family are just shocking and unbelievable. I’m just curious what her reaction is going to be to this book and whether she has one planned to rebut everything he has said about her.

“My Life Outside the Ring” has to be one of the most depressing things I’ve read this year. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just that I don’t have anything that upbeat to say about it. Sure, it’s coated in that subject determining what’s relevant to the reader. Mark Dagostino doesn’t really seem to guide Hogan into something resembling full disclosure.

But, the book is made by the moments that Hulk accidentally shares. Especially, when talking about his son and his ex-wife. There’s nothing that I can say that hasn’t already been brought up in the press. It’s just that when someone tries to recount the worst experiences in their life, the truth always seems a little distant. Is everything being shared? Who knows? But, it works for a compelling read. Just don’t take it to any major Holiday events.



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