In 2007, former Olympic boxing champion turned fight promoter Oscar De La Hoya found himself in the middle of a media scandal when a Russian model named Milana Dravnel released photos of him wearing fishnets, panties and high heels.
Dravnel spoke of drug-fueled sex parties behind his wife’s back, but his spokespeople wrote off the photos as bad Photoshop jobs and claimed that Dravnel simply wanted money. But now, 10 years later, De La Hoya has admitted that it was actually him and the result of “a bad time” in his life.
In a Spanish-language interview with Univision, De La Hoya said, “Let me to tell you, yes. Yes, it was me. I am tired now of lying, of lying to the public and of lying to myself.”
De La Hoya’s initial denial of the cross-dressing photos
When the photos first emerged, he reportedly hired lawyers, a PR firm and business associates to discredit Dravnel and pressure her to stop repeating her allegations. Eventually, she and he settled a slander lawsuit she brought against him after it was revealed that the photos had been somewhat digitally altered.
His team’s “photo expert” said the photos computer-generated forgeries, with one spokesperson stating, “His head’s too small and it doesn’t even look like his body.” But it turns out their claims were untrue and simply a play to preserve his hard-won public image.
Here’s De La Hoya’s interview with The Breakfast Club radio show:
De La Hoya describes his struggles with drug addiction
In a recent English-language interview with The Breakfast Club radio show, interviewer Charlamagne Tha God asked De La Hoya, “What the hell were you doing?”
“A bad time in my life,” De La Hoya responded. “That’s it. That happened, what, 10 years ago? They’re still popping up, but that’s the power of the social media.”
De La Hoya admitted that he also struggled with cocaine and a strong, recurring alcohol addition that has since driven him into rehab three times over. During the period when the photos were taken, he admitted that he had had an extra marital affair and that he and his wife temporarily separated.
When Charlamagne asked about his drug addiction, De La Hoya responded:
It was one of those times where it’s like you sometimes lose your identity when you retire. You hear about all these athletes and actors and this and that and they lose themselves and this and that. ‘What do I do now? Who am I now?’ I was in a bad place, a really bad place. But I’m actually glad that I was able to bring myself back to the light. Because there’s a lot of people who just cannot come back to the light. There’s tons of them…. It’s heartbreaking…. How do you gather yourself back and correct yourself and go down that correct path once again?
He concluded, “That was the toughest fight of my life.”