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Tuesday
May282019

Lamar Odom opens up about near-death experience, 'overcoming tragedy'

Matt Petit/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Just a few years ago Lamar Odom seemed to have it all with his booming NBA career and marriage to Khloe Kardashian. But in 2015, Odom's world came crashing down after a near-death experience at a Las Vegas brothel.

In his new memoir, Darkness to Light, Odom is opening for the first time about the intimate details of his life and battle with addiction.

"It's not a story just about...the Kardashians, or drugs," Odom said in an interview with ABC News' Juju Chang. "It's really a story of triumph, and overcoming obstacles."

"And tragedy," Odom added. "Overcoming tragedy."

Odom, 40, said the roller coaster ride of his life -- reaching the highest of highs and lowest of lows -- began at just 12 years old when his mother died of cancer.

"You're looking to...fill that void, you know, with things," he said. "And, you know, some things I was trying to fill that void with were destructive."

Odom said that for a long time his drug of choice was cocaine, and he admitted the first time he tried it was during a sexual encounter.

"It's toxic," he said of the combination. "It was like unleashing of a demon."

"I was professional at hiding it," he added. "Khloe didn't know for a long time."

'I couldn't believe how I was treating that queen like that'

Khloe Kardashian and Odom wed in 2009 after a whirlwind, one-month romance. Marrying into the Keeping Up With the Kardashians family thrust his whole life into the spotlight.

"I mean, I loved it," he admitted. "A red carpet is rolled out for you everywhere you go...What's not to love about that?"

"And at that time, when we shot [Khloe and Lamar]...I was playing really good basketball," he added.

"I don't really think there's ever gonna be another NBA player to be on a number-one reality show, playing high-level basketball," he said.

And yet he says at the same time he was hiding his drug use and sex addiction from Kardashian, saying, "you don't want your wife to know that you're sniffing coke and ... having sex with other women."

The secrets, however, were getting harder to hide, and Odom recalls one drug-induced rage where he threatened to kill his wife.

"I'm pretty sure she had to be scared at that point in time," he said. "I'm thinking about it now, like, I couldn't believe how I was treating that queen like that."

Odom says he feels he owes "her and her family an apology. Big time."

"Her friends and family, they had to be embarrassed," he added.

Odom says at that point Kardashian kicked him out of the house.

The Kardashian family declined ABC News' request for comment.

'I'm a walking miracle'

After the split, Odom said he then went to Love Ranch, a Las Vegas brothel to escape it all.

"I was just thinking about trying to go have fun," he said.

After a four-day bender, he was found unresponsive, having suffered 12 seizures, six strokes and his heart stopping twice.

"My doctors from Cedars-Sinai said, like, I'm a walking miracle," he said.

Odom says he doesn't have any memory of taking drugs that day, let alone near-lethal doses.

After completing a month-long stint in rehab in 2016, Odom says these days he will still have an occasional social drink, but he can't remember the last time he has done cocaine.

Although, "I smoke marijuana to this day, just to help with some anxiety," he added.

He said he also had "three, maybe four or five, ketamine treatments," as part of his recovery program, saying, "I feel it's helped with my anxiety a little bit."

During his recovery, Odom says he has also returned to training, boxing for at least an hour every day as well as weight training and practicing basketball.

In his new memoir, Odom writes about someday seeing his mom again in heaven and telling her about his life.

When asked what he would say to her if she were here right now, Odom said it would be: "I guess I made it ... in some peoples' eyes."

"I stumbled onto Good Morning America, Ma," he added. "But I mean ... the ride was, was rocky, but ... I'm here."

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