Andrew Gillum opens up about the drunken Miami hotel incident that took the Democratic rising star to 'my most bare place'
- Andrew Gillum appeared in his first television interview on Monday since he was at the center of Florida politics coverage after an incident in a Miami hotel room in March.
"I literally got broken down to my most bare place, to the place where I wasn't even sure that I wanted to live — not because of what I had done, but because of everything that was being said about me," Gillum told Tamron Hall in her series premiere.
- The former 2018 Democratic nominee for governor in Florida, a rising star in the Democratic Party, was found drunk in a room with a male escort, who suspectedly overdosed on methamphetamine.
- Gillum retreated from public life for the past six months and said he entered rehab.
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Andrew Gillum, a Florida politician celebrated as a rising Democratic star, spoke out in his first television interview on Monday following a widely-covered incident in a Miami Beach hotel six months ago.
Gillum, who narrowly lost the state's 2018 gubernatorial race, recounted that he had been heavily drinking alone for around four hours on the beach, blacked out and then last remembers waking up in his own vomit on the bathroom floor of a hotel room.
Police reports described finding an inebriated Gillum in the room, along with a man who reportedly overdosed on crystal meth and was later reported that he works as an escort. Gillum disclosed afterward that he had never used methamphetamines.
Photos of the ordeal set off a frenzy of media coverage in March surrounding the former politician.
Gillum had since retreated from the public eye and entered rehab to deal with issues of alcoholism and depression, as well as to recover from the "shame" that the episode's exposure brought him.
"I cried every day. I cried because I was sad to see myself in that place," Gillum said in an interview with ABC's "Tamron Hall" after photos of him lying nude from the night in question circulated online. "I didn't recognize that person. I cried because I didn't know it could get that bad."
"I literally got broken down to my most bare place, to the place where I wasn't even sure that I wanted to live — not because of what I had done, but because of everything that was being said about me," Gillum shared. "I'm still here, by the grace of God. So much of my recovery has been about trying to get over shame."
Gillum previously served as the mayor of Tallahassee from 2014 to 2018 and gained national attention during the state's 2018 gubernatorial election as a breakout political sensation. He lost the race with Republican Ron DeSantis by roughly 30,000 votes.
"People speaking of that night who were not there, who were speaking about your life with such certainty, and using that word 'shame,' when they had a few short months ago … placed the entire hopes of the Democratic Party on you," Hall said during the interview.
Gillum opened up that the "most hurtful" rumors were those being spread about his marriage and family. The 41-year-old father of three revealed for the first time that he is bisexual.
"I felt like the love that I have between my wife and I, my family — but most important, the authenticity that I try to lead with — was all in question at this point," Gillum said.
"And to be very honest with you, and you didn't ask the question, you put it out there is whether or not I identify as gay, and the answer is I don't identify as gay, but I do identify as bisexual," he added.
Gillum pushed back that he is a fallen rising star and suggested he plans to return to public life in new ways, hinting at the possibility of running for office again.
"Greater is coming. I don't know what it looks like. I thought it would be as an elected official, and God knows, maybe it will be," he said. "But I'm also open to the possibility that my contributions may take a completely different form."
"There is not a thing that has happened in my life, scandalous or not, to cause me to believe that if I have service to give in elected office, as a means in order to render that, that I couldn't do that," Gillum added. "Now, would it be hard? Absolutely. But Donald Trump is president."
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