CLEARWATER — Semiretired professional wrestler Hulk Hogan filed a civil suit against his ex-wife Thursday, claiming she lied and defamed him when she wrote in her new book and told interviewers that he abused her during their marriage and had homosexual encounters.
The 18-page lawsuit claims that Linda Bollea wrote Wrestling the Hulk — My Life Against the Ropes in an attempt to revive her "sagging career," which the suit says plummeted following the couple's 2009 divorce and end of the Hogan family's reality television show.
In the book, published this year by HarperCollins, Bollea accuses her ex-husband, whose real name is Terry Bollea, of repeated acts of physical abuse, including choking and dragging her by her hair and clothes.
The suit says Linda Bollea conducted a series of promotional interviews with the Today show, Fox News and a radio show this summer. In one, Bollea claimed she was fearful of ending up "a statistic" like Nicole Simpson, whose estranged husband, former professional football player O.J. Simpson, was accused and acquitted of killing her.
However, Linda Bollea said the potential impact on her family's livelihood deterred her from contacting police about the abuse. Terry Bollea, she said, "to this day" has not been remorseful.
In yet another interview, she claimed he had a sexual relationship with another male wrestler.
The allegations, the suit states, are absolutely false, and they "harmed the reputation of Mr. Bollea, exposed him to distrust, hatred, contempt and ridicule" and hurt his occupation and business.
Bollea is demanding a jury trial and a halt to his ex-wife's comments, which have been broadcast and published internationally.
"He's being accused of all sorts of vile conduct that he did not commit," his attorney, Wil Florin, said Thursday.
"Miss Bollea's made enough of these outrageous allegations that it's time they stop," he said. "The only realistic way of making them stop is through the court system."
It was unclear who would represent Linda Bollea in the case. Her divorce lawyer, Ray Rafool of Miami, couldn't be reached late Thursday for comment.
The suit comes two weeks after the terms of the couple's confidential divorce settlement came to light in court filings over how much Terry Bollea owes his ex-wife from revenues stemming from the sale of products bearing his likeness.
Documents show Linda Bollea received a little more than 70 percent of the couple's liquid assets in the settlement, including cars and millions from the couple's bank and investment accounts.
Her fame and lavish lifestyle, the suit says, was gained as a "direct result" of her 24-year marriage to Terry Bollea.
The court action filed Thursday specifically zeroes in on page 140 of Linda Bollea's book, in which she alleges her husband "tore my shirt, threw lamps, and held me down on the bed with his hands around my throat during arguments. Slamming doors. Pounding walls. I was always afraid he would kill me in one of his rages."
In a June radio interview, the lawsuit says, Bollea repeated the abuse allegations and also accused her ex-husband of having a sexual relationship with another male wrestler.
"Do you believe that Hulk and Brutus Beefcake ever had an intimate relationship?" asked an interviewer with Matty P's Radio Happy Hour.
"Wow, let me think about how to answer this so I don't end up getting a lawsuit," she replied, and then continued: "Well, a little bird told me yes."
Keyonna Summers can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4153.