"After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world," he told ESPN. "There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, 'If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.'"
"I was about to hang up my entire life," he said, confirming that he had considered suicide.
Last August, the swimmer falsely claimed that he and two teammates were robbed a gunpoint at a gas station during the Rio Olympics. Though he initially defended his account, which stated that someone had a gun to his head, he was later found to have been lying, and was charged with filing a false robbery. Lochte was subsequently dropped by several sponsors, including Ralph Lauren, and was banned from swimming as well as being forced to give up the $100,000 bonus money that came with his gold medal.
Lochte admitted to ESPN that he was "hammered" at the time, since he had been celebrating his win.
After the events unfolded, Lochte went on a public appearance with Matt Lauer to take responsibility for what happened, apologizing for his "immature" behavior.
"I over-exaggerated that story," he said at the time.
Lochte also told ESPN that he believed that "people wanted a reason to hate me."
Nowadays, he tells ESPN, he knows better.
"You learn from your mistakes," he said. "Am I going to be perfect? No."
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
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