February 16, 2008
Hogan battles through tough times
By THERESA TAYLER - Sun Media
The past year of Hulk Hogan's life seems to have handed him a major beat down. But, when you're the man worshipped by Hulkamaniacs across the globe, throwing in the towel is not an option.
After 23 years of marriage and two children together, Hulk's main squeeze -- wife Linda Bollea -- filed for divorce in November.
Also, Hogan's 17-year-old son, Nick, was charged with reckless driving after smashing up a Toyota Supra and critically injuring friend, John Graziano.
Through it all, the Hulkster has continued to work, taping his new NBC Sunday night show, American Gladiators.
It's an action-packed revival of the early-1990s sports combat competition program of the same name. Hogan hosts the new version with Muhammad Ali's daughter, boxer Laila Ali.
"We're in a really good place, they've decided to move forward with a second season," Hogan tells Sun Media.
Tomorrow night will mark the two-hour season finale in which one woman and one man will take the Gladiator title.
American Gladiators is the second hit show in which Hogan has starred. Hogan Knows Best, a reality show about his relationship with his family, kicked off in 2005.
With all the rupture in the former pro wrestler's life during the past 12 months, the fate of Hogan Knows Best was beginning to look dubious.
But, recently VH1 decided to give the reality show another go, this time with Hogan's daughter, 19-year-old Brooke, at the helm.
For now Hogan says his focus is on Gladiators while he lets Brooke take over on Hogan Knows Best. How that will play out is yet to be seen; both Brooke and Nick are said to be living with their mother.
While Hogan and Linda battle it out in the courts, the beefy contestants on his show have been warring it out for the past seven weeks in tests of physical strength.
Tomorrow, the final few will compete for a $100,000 top prize and a chance to become one of the Gladiators featured on next season's show.
With Ali co-hosting, Hogan says it seems more and more female viewers are becoming interested in the show.
"More woman are tuning into us on Sunday than to Desperate Housewives, so what does that tell you?" says Hogan. "They're interested in the physical contact. There's a huge need to see themselves out there as physical beings that are just as good as the men."
Hogan says the show promotes that women can be "beautiful creatures, wives and mothers, and they also have a physical side that's just as important."