One of America’s most highly regarded athletes, three-time Olympian Suzy Favor-Hamilton, has acknowledged a double life as a $600-an-hour prostitute in major cities across the U.S., and she blamed the lapse on depression.
The Smoking Gun
broke the shocking news on Thursday and in an interview Hamilton, 44, a wife and mother, took full responsibility for her initial decision to be a Las Vegas escort, calling it "a huge mistake."
"I take full responsibility for my mistakes. I'm not the victim and I'm not going that route, '' Hamilton said in the interview. ''I'm owning up to what I did. I would not blame anybody except myself. Everybody in this world makes mistakes. I made a huge mistake. Huge."
Middle-distance runner Hamilton is a nine-time National Collegiate Athletic Association champion and a three-time Big Ten female athlete of the year, the award for which now bears her name.
As a result of the prostitution revelation, Hamilton has already lost one sponsor in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, which said on Thursday that it would be ending its relationship with the former star athlete.
Hamilton also has also worked with Nike, Walt Disney World, and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.
It turns out that in addition to her professional life as a sponsor representative, motivational speaker, and real estate agent in Madison, Wis., in her off time Hamilton would act as a call girl in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and other cities.
Working under the alias "Kelly Lundy" for upscale Vegas-based escort service Haley Heston’s Private Collection, Hamilton apparently had shared her true identity with several male clients, thinking that her secret was safe with men who were strangers to her. She now believes one of those clients leaked her story to a reporter for money.
Earlier this month, Hamilton was approached by a reporter in the lobby of a Vegas hotel where she was questioned about the rumor of her being an escort, which at the time she flatly denied.
Hamilton says a battle with depression led to her decision to experiment with the escort service.
"I do not expect people to understand, but the reasons for doing this made sense to me at the time and were very much related to depression,'' said Hamilton via Twitter on Thursday. ''I cannot emphasize enough how sorry I am to anyone I have hurt as a result of my actions and greatly appreciate the support from family and those closest to me. I fully intend to make amends and get back to being a good mother, wife, daughter, and friend.''
In her interview with The Smoking Gun, Hamilton noted, "I was drawn to escorting in large part because it provided many coping mechanisms for me when I was going through a very challenging time with my marriage and my life. It provided an escape from a life that I was struggling in."
Hamilton's 44-year-old husband Mark had known of his wife's double life and had tried unsuccessfully to stop her from continuing with the escort service.
"He tried, he tried to get me to stop. He wasn’t supportive of this at all," said Hamilton.
"We regret having learned about this today, '' Duane Maatz, executive director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Group, told the Brisbane Times
. “We will be evaluating our relationship with her.''
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