Asked about the police report, however, Johnson sticks by his story: that his beautiful but hotheaded wife blew up at him after finding out he was cheating, that she filled the tiny Smart Car with her angry screams, and that she head-butted him.

"I never talk about that, you know that? For a reason. Let her tell her side. And my job is to cover the story, no matter what. And that's what I've done, and it's going to stay that way," he says.

Lozada did have a documented history of violent outbursts onscreen. And a Change.org petition demanding that VH1 take her off the air for her "physical assaults, threats, verbal abuse, and harassment" garnered almost 30,000 signatures. Is Johnson really suggesting he took the fall for her?

Johnson kisses his power animal, Lolita the killer whale.
Photo by Michael E. Miller
Johnson kisses his power animal, Lolita the killer whale.
Johnson as a churchgoing kid in Liberty City. Despite a devilish public persona, he remains privately religious.
Photo courtesy of Bessie Mae Flowers
Johnson as a churchgoing kid in Liberty City. Despite a devilish public persona, he remains privately religious.

"I'm supposed to," he says. "She's the wife. That's my job. To cover the story. That's the way I was taught. That's the way I was raised. If I'm your dad and I know you did something wrong, I don't have a choice but to cover the story for you, whether you're right or wrong. So for me, whether right or wrong or indifferent, if that's who I've committed to even though I messed up, I'm covering the story for her no matter what. No matter what. Whether it's my fault or her fault. Whether she antagonized me. Whether she pushed my buttons. You know what? You're right. Period."

It's a hard story to buy — a musclebound athlete getting head-butted by his much smaller, model wife. But Johnson won't be further drawn out on the details. Chad Johnson, the attention seeker, does not want the spotlight on this one — even though it means everyone thinks he's an asshole.

He puffs on his cigar and stares out at a life without Lozada. "Even at my lowest, I'm still winning," he says. Then he lays out his post-NFL plans: television, maybe movies, and definitely a trip to Norway to dive with killer whales in the wild.

"I'm going to own an orca or maybe a whole fucking pod," he says. "I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to own a private island. And I'm going to own an orca. I'm not going to own it where it's going to be caged. I'm going to own it where they are going to know me and they are going to be lured in by food.

"I have it all figured out," he says. "I have it all figured out."

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