So many of us hide who we truly are.
We bury our shame thinking that if anyone knew we would no longer be accepted.
But living this way keeps us from connecting with others.
It keeps us from truly experiencing life.
I kept my history of abuse hidden for a long time. It wasn’t until I told my story that I could become the person I am today.
You have to forgive yourself.
On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about shame with a person of great courage and integrity: Terry Crews.
Terry Crews is an actor, activist, artist, and former NFL football player. He plays “Terry” on Brooklyn 99 and is now a host on America’s Got Talent. Terry was included among the group of people named as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2017 for going public with stories of sexual assault.
Terry has a powerful way of talking about what it means to be a man. We all can benefit from hearing his story.
So get ready to learn all about guilt, shame, and toxic masculinity on Episode 760.
Lewis: This is episode number 760 with Terry Crews. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes a former athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today, now let the class begin.
Lewis B. Smede said “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Welcome to this inspiring episode we’ve got Terry Crews in the house I am so pump. I met Terry about a year and a half ago when I came out with the mask of masculinity book launch. And Terry and I got connected, we met for dinner and had an amazing conversation and I just said “Dude, I cannot wait to get you on the show because people need to hear your story.” Its mind blowing the things he’s been through and challenges he went through as a kid. What he did in football for those who didn’t know he’s a former NFL football player, he’s an actor, activist, an artist one of the most talented artist I’ve seen. I mean this guy commission artwork to make extra money when he was playing in the NFL and his art is world class. He is the host of America’s got talent, a star in the sitcom Brooklyn 99, he did one of the best commercial of the decade if you ask me as the old spice guy. I don’t know if you guys remember but he pretty much made the brand and blew it up with the commercials he did. He’s been in a bunch of movies Friday after next, white cheeks which was hilarious and so many more movies, shows and everything else in between. This guy has done it all and he is just getting started.
And in this interview we talked about how Terry reveals everything about his marriage and how he almost destroyed his relationship. We talked about toxic masculinity, we talked about the me too experience by Terry being harassed in Hollywood. We talked about keeping yourself [?] having other people keep accountable and forgiveness when people make mistakes including yourself. We talked going over the importance of shame vs guilt and we discussed the importance of supporting other people who are suffering.
Terry’s got a ton of energy and you’re gonna feel this in the episode. If you’re not a subscriber to the YouTube channel make sure to subscribe over on Youtube.com/lewishowes so you can see his passion and energy probably one of the best dress man I’ve ever met as well. This guy is a champion and is doing so much good for the world. I am so excited for this one make sure to share with your friends’ lewishowes.com/760 let’s spread this one far and wide and spread some positivity in the world to your friends.
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Again a big thank you to our sponsors and I am so excited about this one and make sure to share with your friends tag me tag @terrycrews over on Instagram while you’re listening, without further ado let’s dive in to the one the only Terry Crews.
Welcome back everyone to the school of greatness podcast we’ve got the iconic legendary Terry Crews in the house. So pumped about this we met about a year and a half ago after my book came out I think someone maybe told you what I was up to, we started connecting we had dinner and I just fell in love with you so even more than your persona on TV and movies and commercials. I was just like here’s a man of integrity, a man who’s speaking the truth and here’s a man who hasn’t had a perfect life from childhood but also has made a lot of mistakes as a man. And you talked about that in your book, publicly. What do you think has been the biggest mistake that was the hardest for you to forgive yourself that you did?
Terry: First of all being unfaithful to my wife. Let’s give you a little background on this whole thing my wife and I we were married 30 years now as of July it will be 30 years and I got married a day before my 21st birthday.
Lewis: Wow, you didn’t even know who you were.
Terry: Oh my God you know. Let me tell you man it’s weird because you don’t know why you do things and especially in my culture, I wanted to specifically talk about African-American culture. Therapy was looked at as something that made you go crazy and it was like the whole thing was I’m not crazy why would I go to the therapist? And what was so wild is my father was super abusive. He was very abusive to my mom and my family.
Lewis: Physically emotionally?
Terry: Everything man it’s just nothing was good to him until it was wreck. Like if you want to have fun he want to suck all the air out of the room and even to this day like if you’re 5 minutes having fun he comes in and it’s like “Oh my God it’s that narcissist that guy.” He does not like when anyone else is happy. So, that was one of the things I learned and he went to a therapist one time and when I was a kid the therapist killed himself, he literally jump off a bridge. And I was like “My father went to him and this guy is done” In my head like ‘you know what it doesn’t work.’ So, I said we got to fight it out, we just got to do it and make our way into our thing. When I was about maybe 9 years old I was exposed to pornography and I developed an addiction immediately, simply because you have numbing mechanism. I didn’t drink I wasn’t on drugs you know I was a sports guy but man porn was like, if I saw it was, and this is back when you have pornography in the grocery store. People were like still experimenting and was like playboy days and the whole thing, I remember my mother said to me to go get a milk and I got a playboy.
Lewis: It wasn’t wrapped up in plastic?
Terry: Oh no right there next to people. It was like and I remember just going what?! That’s the kind of toxic that was engrained in me from a young age but also my mother was addicted to religion. You got to understand Lewis when I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to play sports, I wasn’t allowed to go to movies, dance the only thing we do was go to church. So, you’re talking about I had 2 people that were opposite extremes in the house and I was stuck in the middle and what was crazy was that I had to please both of them at all times. So I was the good kid, I mean it was like my father would come in you just stay out of his way and get everything right and make sure you hang your clothes because he hates when you don’t hang your clothes, I mean that kind of panic.
Lewis: You had to please him constantly.
Terry: That was the thing like I never got a look of like ‘man I love this kid’ listen I would never forget man I remember when he was drunk and he was just sitting there doing his things and looked at me. I was a kid and I remember I walked up and kiss him on the cheek because I was like ‘this is my dad and I want to show him I love him’ he looked at me like he looked at me with such disgust and distain. I said I would never do that again I felt so much shame, I’ll never forget it to this day. I’m 50 years old and that looked he gave you was like what is wrong with you? And I was like I’ll never do that again. And then the religious aspect because I never could really please my mother because the big thing with her was that you have to save. Now, the church I went to you got to get save all the time, you got to be save every week. And it was like “okay give your life to Jesus” you knew that one thing that blew everybody was back in the day the whole concept was to [?] that God is gonna back and take all of his saints and all the sinners are gonna be left.
When I was 9 he didn’t really explained the thing to me because they said “Anybody who’s left here their head is gonna get cut off” and this is how they said it and they’re gonna be blading on the streets. Let me tell you something they would tell us this, so here’s the deal I always have nightmares as a kid. I literally wet the bed when I was 14 years old because of the violence that was happening but also just panic feeling of I’m never good enough, I’m never going to make it and you know. So you had this pressure and I remember just feeling like I was spinning and what would happen is when musical play and people sprinting, my friend will be sitting next to me and he will be jumping up and down and everybody is running around literally sprinting and I was like “Oh my God, I want this how do I get this?” and the preacher got up there and he said “You know what? If you don’t feel nothing you must not have nothing.” This is something I would never forget. So, I was instantly wrong I would go home like I don’t feel it, I’m not feeling like jumping. And then I found out later that these people are manufacturing all these stuff. The pastor told us that later I found out drugs and had girlfriends all over the church and then I find, it was like this lie that I was living. But this was the thing to escape pornography.
Lewis: Right that helped you numb the pain.
Terry: I tell you it was no wrong in porn. That was back in the day when cable started so they had this playboy channel and you can back then you can actually, they would scramble it but if you held the channel you remember. If you held it in between its crystal clear. I mean it was like porn every night and it became a stronghold but I never told my wife and I thought, this was the thing when I met my wife in church and she’s the best woman I’ve ever seen in my life and I was like “I can’t believe that a woman like this would love.”
Lewis: Well she didn’t know about it.
Terry: I told her as much as I felt she could tolerate. I remember just telling “You know I used to watch this porn and it was crazy.” And she was like really? And yeah I don’t do that anymore. And this was the thing I thought get married it’s gonna be gone.
Lewis: What’s gonna be gone the porn addiction?
Terry: The porn addiction. I thought all I need is a real woman and I’ll be fine. See that’s the problem I just need to cover it all up but I never dealt with it and what happened was we spent during our 1st year of marriage, I mean literally months later I was back and I remember because back in the day you didn’t have internet.
Terry: Stuff like that and I went through so much shame. Lewis, I remember every time I said I would never do this again.
Lewis: 2 days later back at it.
Terry: And then I just said “You know what everybody is lying” You can’t even get rectified everyone is like this. So everyone has a double life, I get it now you just have to get the image you understand what I mean? So, I was just like all right the image is all I need to keep and of course we can’t really be that good, so as long as you keep your image you’ll be fine and I did that for the next 20 years.
Terry: Now, what happened was I was in Vancouver and it was my first time working I had spent 7 years in the NFL and my wife went to the NFL with me. Because again with this kind of pleasing kind of attitude you can go really far, you can get really successful doing this stuff you become a machine. I was the work out king, the business king, I was gonna do whatever I put my head to because you’re motivated by your kick into your future. Like everything is like you beat yourself up and you don’t take no for an answer and you are now so competitive, so like my whole mindset was like I’m going to destroy everyone. I mean but I would smile and friendly.
Lewis: But you were competing against.
Terry: It was a ploy and this was the thing I finally started acting and my first job I was in Vancouver and I knew I was no good, like because you feel like a farce it was a [?] syndrome times a hundred. My first movie that I auditioned for and god was a big Schwarzenegger movie and I was in there and I would go back and it was so bad, I remember they told me “We’re not going to use your for a couple of weeks you can actually fly back.” I want to go and prove that I was going to be the best actor of all time. So, I’m up there and I’m in a tailspin, I’m lonely and hungry, I’m angry and tired.
Lewis: You’re not working.
Terry: I decide and I’ve been watching pornography, I decide for the first time to go to a massage spa and I heard about things. I went there and was on table and I was like when it was over I remember going back to my room I was like I crossed the line. Even thinking about it now that was so dark you know what I mean. I remember going back to the room and I was like “Why did I do that?” You know it’s funny because once you caught out there and the big trick is this is going to give you something, this is going to do something for you and then you realized you’ve been doop and I was in that room and I was like “Man, how can I do this?” I literally said I am going to die with this and I never told her. And what was weird is it affected everything I did.
Lewis: How so?
Terry: I would go home and my wife you know we see something a movie about cheating or whatever.
Lewis: And you feel something in your heart.
Terry: Anything she would question me I would start an argument so she wouldn’t get that deep. And it was projection lots of anger and the [?] never stop because now exposed. And here’s the thing she never knew who I really was and I felt like ‘my God if I ever tell her I show her she’s gone.’ So it was a farce.
Lewis: So the fear of losing the best thing you ever had your family, relationship, your marriage if you told her but you have to hold the pain in and all the shame in and you felt like you can never tell her. So it’s like either way you lose.
Terry: It was all lost. So I decided to fake it, but then it all came crashing down. I never went again to a massage parlor but again pornography there was like this places you can go and I was just like, well it wasn’t as bad as what I did before. So, again you rationalize and or then you start an argument with her, just all these kind of like justification. So, you feel like I’m not as bad as him and do she knew the whole time, because every time you do it it’s like you put new brick in between your relationship. There’s a new seal off and this is one thing I discovered: Intimacy is what a man is looking for, I mean we need intimacy and what intimacy when you can see me for who I really am and accept me and love me for who I am. But as guys if we never show who we really are how are you ever gonna get intimacy?
It’s like you’re literally yelling from behind a wall saying “How do I look honey?”
Terry: And she’s like I can’t see you but you’re like thank you all right thanks. If you show who you really are now you can deal. But I had a wall and she was just like, it was this night we call it D-day it was really we were going on anniversary of it because it was on February 4th 2010.
Lewis: Coming up.
Terry: It’s coming up and I remember the super bowl is coming up and I remember it was a snowstorm in New York City, I was in New York and she was in L.A.
Lewis: So you have been together for how long now?
Terry: We have been together for 20 years.
Lewis: 20 years. She didn’t know who you were?
Terry: Did not know. Again, she had suspicion and again I was covering tracks and but man she was like “What is it that I don’t know about you Terry Crews?” Another thing I have to say is that I was successful, I was very successful.
Lewis: You’re rising, achieving.
Terry: Already been through the NFL, already done these movies and TV shows and this kind of thing and commercials. And this is one thing that I tell people all the time is that success is the warmest place to hide. It’s so warming because first of all the image is the most important thing, so if the image is good people will automatically like ‘he’s good’ but inside I knew what I was doing, I knew that my crap haven’t been exposed and she knew. So finally she came to me that night and I was at the Mercer Hotel, I never forget it man and in fact I never stayed at a Mercer since then simply because of that reminder of such a dark place I actually have to redeem that place.
Lewis: Go there and pretend.
Terry: You know what I mean and redeem it but what’s so crazy is that she said “Terry what is it I don’t know about you Terry Crews?” because we have been arguing all night and I remember just hanging up and then I laid there in the bed and I was like ‘you know what keep the lie don’t tell her’ and something told me man it was like the universe, it was God or Jesus or whatever runs the world said to me “Terry Crews if you don’t tell her I’m going to leave.” Now, I was just it was like I’ve been dealing with you forever and giving you a shot to really be honest and you know what I am done with you. And I felt so alone it was man, Lewis I can’t even describe. Again, it was snowstorm going on and everything was dark and I never felt that darkness anything like that ever again. The only thing I can pair it to was 10 years earlier when I was in Vancouver. It was like the whole thing came back in full circle, I mean years later right, I called her up and we talked again and I told her Lewis I’ll never forget the gust on the other end of the line. She said Terry don’t come home you don’t have a home to come to, my life was over. That right there and this is a strange thing it was like total relief. Again, I still didn’t want to give it up and I said “Girl I’m going to start over because I am successful, I already have.” Here’s the thing Lewis Hollywood doesn’t care if you lose your family, like now we can book you for more movies.
Lewis: You have more time.
Terry: Now you have way more time and I was like ‘okay I’m good’ and again that voice was like “Okay, Terry it’s still you, it’s still you’re problem. You now have no family all you have is your image that’s fake.”
Lewis: And some success and money.
Terry: And he said Terry you have to hold yourself accountable. And it sunk in on me that I knew and then I called a friend because I was dark and my wife left and she’s done with me, he said “Terry look I guarantee you your wife will come back but you have a problem and you have to get better for you.” And that’s it. And so I was like I see it and it was like a crack egg this whole life. Like one thing I realized is that certain times in a man’s life it’s either he’s a fool, a victim or a king. And when you’re a fool you’re like you goof it all up but you think there are no consequences for your actions but there are always consequences for every act you do everything good or bad. But then when mess your whole life up being a fool you become a victim, you know why I did that because I was black and I grew up all that religion. And let me tell you the table is always full of excuses because they’re valid and a lot of people against you and you can say “oh my God this table is like” and this is the reason why I am like this.
Lewis: And you always stayed down.
Terry: Always. But the king stage when you realized you have to accept whatever you are letting in your life good or bad. As a king you can tell people to get out of your court. As a king you don’t have to accept any of those excuses. As a king you have to know that you are responsible for your life good and bad you did that. So, as a king somethings not right it’s your responsibility to change it. It was like I had to go to rehab, I went to rehab it was this place called psychological and counseling services it was in Arizona in Phoenix.
Lewis: How long have you go for?
Terry: You go for a full week it’s like an intensive where you don’t do anything, you’re there for like 16 hours a day.
Terry: Yeah this was 2010. So and my wife said she thought I would never ever do anything like that because, listen we have been going to like therapy but when you’re not honest it doesn’t work. I went in there and I was like this ain’t me the first couple hours then all of a sudden I was like “This is me this is the problem.” I was in tears I was like toxic like when you can finally turn the thing around and see yourself as ugly as you were, I was just so guilty. Let me tell you it wasn’t shame it was guilt. There’s a big difference.
Lewis: What’s the difference?
Terry: Shame says you are bad. Guilt says you did something wrong. I was feeling shame since I was a kid and this is thing when you are ashamed person and when you try to motivate people through shame what you’re doing is constantly telling them you are a bad person, you are like this. So you know what happens is no matter where you go you go back to I am messed up. But when you realize it’s not that I’m messed up it’s that I made a messed up choice.
Terry: That change the framework for me and it didn’t excuse anything now mind you it did not. The thing is like a court room for you to actually be guilty you have to say it. If you never admit guilt it will never be presented you have to say I am guilty, I did the crime and it allows everyone to see you as you truly are and I went to the process of guilt, making sure I was guilty, I put my family through this but now let me correct this. But shame you can’t correct. Shame is uncorrectable you, what happens is shaming is just covered shame is something you just put you know put leaves on the body you know what I mean. It’s like there’s no way you can really, shame is one of those things you just have to like color it, image cover shame but when you are dealing with guilt. Now you have to be accountable it’s all kind of things you have to come back and forgive people you do, you have to ask forgiveness for what you did to other people.
Let me tell you and I have to say this the forgiveness that my wife showed me was what I say a car caring lesson for any person ever, because and I understand why people get divorce. First of all I should be, but this woman this is the intimacy that I always wanted because she saw me for who I was for real and she said “Terry I love you anyway.”
Terry: That’s all you want. That’s all I ever wanted. All I ever wanted was to be seen for who I was and I was like, I thought she wouldn’t comeback but she did, she said “But Terry I love you.” Man that blew me away because I was living this man life and here I am you see me as nothing I am like, I feel like I’m dirt and she was like “I love you” and man that change everything. It was like the thing that I needed that I was running from the whole time Lewis, I was running from it the whole time and I vowed after that I said “My God I can correct this, this is fixable.” And this is what I learned through counseling and I continued to this day, I mean it’s been 10 years of constant work, constant of just ‘hey man I can fix this.’ And this is why when I talked about toxic masculinity I’m talking about me, I’m not in the game I’m talking about me. First of all people clown me about all men, I would have been the guy who did that stuff.
So, I’m never ever pointing the fingers at another man as if you need to get it together brother, I’m not spreading shame but I am saying that we need to say we are guilty, we need to say what it is that we did wrong and this is the only, the only way I can really because right now in our society we have big thing about apologies. The only way I can really put this thing down is when it’s like driving drunk, you hit somebody in a car you get out of the car and “Hey man sorry” and then you get back in the car and drive away. First of all that is today’s version of apology but we’re talking about accountability is totally different. Accountability is that you stay there with that person, accountability is the police come you’ve been driving drunk you’ve been arrested, accountability you lost your license, accountability is you paying fines and paying for the person you hit and you are paying for their recover.
Lewis: You might be in jail for some time you might.
Terry: Listen you’ll be cleaning up on the side of the freeway for about 6 months. That’s accountability you pay the price and accountability says now we can get back to even here, now it’s about amends and that’s where I have dedicated my life to doing. It’s funny because when I look at even the massage parlor that I went to, I became an ambassador for the [?] project, which deals with sex trafficking. It talked about how many of the women involved in that whole thing are not free, they’re not free. They are there basically in [?] of service and they are basically trying to pay off debts to get out from some pimp or from someone who got them and I played that whole thing on my head because I did that, I got to correct this. So, I became an ambassador for project to stop human slavery today, the fact that at every opportunity whatever I can see I’m really trying to tell my story in order to just bring life. This masculinity thing is to a point where I can understand the Taliban. In the African-American culture we have a black Taliban, it’s like if you don’t do the right way you’re out.
Terry: If you’re not this kind of black man you are instantly, this is something white people don’t know but there is a sector that is so pro-black Taliban, I call them the ankh right that they actually lined up with white racist.
Lewis: Oh my God.
Terry: And they go attack black people and it blows your mind and this is Taliban but this is toxic as it comes. And I remember being like attitude and stuff. I remember my wife we have arguments about you know “that girl she got to watch what she’s wearing” “Terry it doesn’t matter what she’s wearing nobody should be able to touch her without her permission.” I was like “Yeah but she” it doesn’t matter because I was in a framework in a mindset. Let me tell you when you come out and this wild because it’s almost like falling off a cliff you fall and you just hit the ledge and think you’re in the bottom.
It’s like things are revealed and things are look in 2017 my wife and I was just partying and this [?] who was way more ahead his name was Adam Bennet, literally represented Michael B. Jordan, Silver Stallone all the super big star Adam Sandler, it was actually Sandler’s party. And this guy comes over to me looking his tongue out and doing all these crazy stuff. Let me tell you something once you’re out of that you know what toxic masculinity looks like and I have to say the term toxic masculinity has been overused, it’s an abuse of power. Anywhere where you see this kind of stuff where you see an abusive power we’re talking about this kind of problems. Now, I know drunk and I know drugs I grew up in Flint Michigan I know crack epidemic, I know people who are high as hell. He was high on something, I don’t know what it was he was out of his mind.
Lewis: And you’re with your wife?
Terry: I’m with my wife and he comes over to me and gropes me in my genital, I mean not even, he just grabs a handful and he’s laughing and comes back again. I grab his hand restrain him and push him back, I mean he literally fall into other people, and I can’t believe I mean this is my agency this is the people that I paid millions of dollars to. So, my wife has seen me before in my toxic days.
Lewis: Get aggressive.
Terry: She seen me throw people over her head, she seen people get beat down in the street and she was like years later, you know this was the therapy time and the comeback time she said “Terry you cannot let anyone pull you to any sort of altercation because you’re gonna lose everything.” She would always tell me always.
Lewis: Can’t react can’t respond.
Terry: Because this is also part of my therapy, I had anger I had big anger.
Lewis: One of the fights.
Terry: I said “Man, that’s how I got to the NFL” 7 years in the NFL is a fight that’s all you do, if you got 2 good parents you probably won’t make it to the NFL.
Lewis: Too soft.
Terry: Yeah, you’re too soft too comfortable. My holy skills my ability to take tremendous amounts of pain that was the deal because I was angry, it’s like jail anger. NFL players you put us in any prison we’ll run it because I can go to prison now and I know I could be [?], because that pain was something that you like ‘man don’t touch me you enjoyed the fight.’
Lewis: You want to fight.
Terry: Yeah, you look for it. You’re like you bring it and she was like “Now you’re different we have to work this.” And I didn’t question why would I want to just snap on somebody, why would I love to put somebody’s face in the [?], why can’t I walk away? Let me tell you man that was the biggest test I ever had because I grab her hand, because I was gonna kill this dude. Listen what people even fathom is the aftermath of this kind of actions.
Lewis: I know.
Terry: Because imagine if I just ‘powed and he fell and died’
Lewis: Your career is over, life is over
Terry: And he not have been there to tell the story. I got in the car I got my hands on the steering wheel and I literally I had everything I had to drive away. My wife was like so proud of me. Now, next day I go right into agency and I’m like “Hey man” The guy calls me up and said sorry he was drunk. Instantly I knew he was lying because when you tell me you’re drunk I know you’re lying. So now you’re not dealing with this thing, now you’re not willing to say you’re guilty.
Lewis: You’re making an excuse.
Terry: I’m on the ground you got back in the car drove off you just made an excuse. So, I go up I talk to my agent “Dude, you got to do something about this.” I got zero. I waited it was like 8 months later nobody is doing nothing and I couldn’t believe that I was like “Baby nobody is making a move this is ridiculous.” And all of a sudden [?] and these guys all of them are going on this girls. I just got so angry that I couldn’t believe this happen to me, I waited for them to make it right.
First of all you talk about a [?] system, I mean woman that come through. There is nothing I could say but when that happened I back those women up right away through 16 tweets. My wife didn’t know, publicist didn’t know the whole nobody knew, I was on a set at Brooklyn 99 and I did those tweets and I knew I was like ‘If I have remain silent I would have look like a fraud’ those women are being sent out in the fire like they were just out there and these guys were just lambasting them and I said “I got to support you” their courage gave me my courage because I know what it is. So finally when I did these tweets and remember I didn’t put a name, I did not say a name at all and they instantly called me “Hey Terry you all right? We saw your tweets” Because I didn’t name anybody in those tweets it could have been anybody. He knew and stop playing this fucking game with me and I was like “Dude, are you serious?” The great Aria Manuel president of William Morris the man and he’s like “I am going to grant you a meeting with me” that’s what he said.
Lewis: Grant you a meeting?
Terry: He said would you like it to be at my home or we can meet at the 4 seasons? I was like I am not going to your house, let’s meet at the hotel. So, he comes in and I said look I put out a letter he wrote that said “Mel Gibson should be blacklisted from Hollywood” Why? Because of anti-Semitic remarks. What I did I took that same letter I cross out Mel Gibson and put Adam Bennet his agent, cross out anti-Semitic remarks and I put sexual assault and I said read that and you know what you have to do. He said it’s different, so what’s different about it? First of all anti-Semitic remarks as reprehensible as they maybe are now legal, sexual assault is a crime punishable by law. What he did to me he go to jail for. He was like “Look okay he’s gonna lose his title and we’re gonna suspend him for 30 days, is that good enough for you?” I said “Why are you asking me what’s good enough for me?” First of all it’s not my job to tell you how to police your people. I said “Dude he has to go, you cannot do this to a client and go back to work. I am not accepting nothing unless his dismissal.” And he said “Do what you got to do Terry” and that started a year saga of courtrooms and then they went public and said that I basically tried to take advantage of the me too movement and piggy back on this movement that real women have been really molested, and they protected him they stood by him. We went into all this hoopla and finally it all had to come because more people started coming for him.
More people and they were just kept and listen I have big time stars and they said “Terry they told me not to work with you.” They were planting, they have stories planted about me and prostitutes and Monaco ready to go all the press, and that was my 2nd honeymoon and I was like. So what I did I just went in I put all their stuff and put it out myself, and I went vocal, I went public this kind of thing you got to callout a heckler. When these people want to abuse, they pray for your silence, silence is violence man they pray you never tell. But what I need I was on a tour: I went on Dr. Phil, I went on Kelly I was on every talk show everywhere naming names and they were like to the point they couldn’t stand it, I mean their own clients had to be like “What’s going on here man?” And then he resign, they gave me my money back because I never wanted any money, I didn’t want any dime he has to go. But they were actually talking about “What does he want?” They sent lawyers to do, I walked out I was like ‘I’m not playing this game.’
He agreed to leave and there you go they gave me my money back but at the same time I had to think I spent $400,000 of my own money, what does a young girl have to do?
Lewis: Who doesn’t have the fund or the resource or platform.
Terry: Young girl wants to be in Hollywood get off the bus she gets molested, she gets rape by her agent nonetheless, what is she gonna do?
Lewis: Not much.
Terry: Nothing. And I said damn it this has got to stop. This is the thing where we as man it’s our job, and this is how I understand the boundaries Lewis. I’m not here to talk about white men, I’m talking about me. Listen black men need to hold other black men accountable, men need to hold other men accountable, Americans need to hold other Americans accountable. You see how that boundaries keep working? It might grow but what about because I talk about my community. Catholics needs to hold other Catholics accountable you understand what I mean.
Terry: What happened is it’s the people your next to, it’s your community. Hey man if you live in Greenwich, Connecticut you have to hold other citizens of Greenwich, Connecticut accountable. And now this is what they, what about toxic femininity? And I heard that all time and I leave that so some woman can have her own conference on that.
Lewis: I’m curious about what do you think about forgiveness through toxic masculinity when someone has done something to you that you feel is wrong and is wrong, whether it’s illegal or not you feel is wrong. Just in the way your wife forgave because you took accountability, you took certain actions maybe or maybe not she wanted to forgive you but she did and you’re here now together. What’s your view on forgiving toxic men or toxic actions that men have taken in the past but are working to improve? And I don’t know anything about the agent or what he’s doing right now, but how do you in your own heart feel about forgiveness where people have done something wrong to you.
Terry: First of all forgiveness is a requirement. I remember when Donald Sterling did all his thing, I went on a press-tour I was doing a press-tour for blended and that whole Donald Sterling was going on and I said “We need to forgive Donald Sterling” you can look it up on YouTube right now. And black people were like ‘Hell No!’ but I said the big thing about forgiveness is that it’s not for him or them it’s for you. Now, forgiveness and accountability go hand in hand. See what people think is forgiveness means now I’m free, no it doesn’t, in fact holding you accountable is a part of forgiveness. I forgive you I let you go I’m filing this lawsuit.
My youngest memory is that my father hitting my mother in the face and knocking her out. I have to forgive him but the thing is forgiveness is great but he expected that everything is good, no you can’t come in my house and ruin my house. I actually forgave him and then block his number.
Terry: But that’s where we get it mix up because what happens is when a smooth toxic guy knows how to manipulate that. Now, forgiveness is like ‘I forgive you go your way.’ That’s the best kind of forgiveness ever man.
Lewis: Unless maybe you know would you ever bring someone back in your life if they showed accountability for a while and you felt like sincere and true. Again just like what your wife has done where you took the actions, you were sincere.
Terry: I have to say this because I have a really good friend who I could say betray me and he literally worked his back, and now we’re back again.
Terry: I’m telling you it’s so amazing my wife will tell you, we went through the whole thing straight the trail and I was like “What?” and he was really apologetic, really sorry and he was really accountable. Now, in fact because of what we went through.
Lewis: Closer than even more.
Terry: Right. We are closer than ever and we talked about this stuff and this is before with the image and the things he was covering and now there’s nothing there, now we’re closer. Let me tell you my wife and I way closer than we were before and I mean, man I can look at her eyes and she looks at mine and we go. Now, listen I would say there’s a way to not go through what we went through.
Lewis: Don’t struggle.
Terry: I would never ever recommend because let me tell you it was hell to come back. I mean there were times when I would come home and she be in the kitchen crying, just standing there and I knew there’s nothing worse than knowing you did that. I wouldn’t even have to ask I would just come over and give her a hug and wanted one and we just hug and this is about empathy man. Again, with this apology thing you know people feel like ‘well I said it once and I’ll have to apologize again’ that’s saying you’ll never been wrong, you always have to be open and forgiveness is necessary. I have to forgive in the morning and in the night.
Lewis: How do you forgive yourself for 20+ years or whatever it is of doing things that you felt like you betrayed yourself for and other people?
Terry: That came from doing a lot of reading Berne Brown.
Lewis: She’s amazing.
Terry: I mean her dealings with shame dude it just, it literally told me ‘wait a minute man you are not evil.’ You see what I mean because that’s, the way you forgive yourself because you can’t forgive yourself as long as you think of yourself as evil. You can’t it is impossible. But when you realize you did something wrong, I did bad things, I don’t do them anymore now you can forgive yourself. Now you can start with I don’t do that anymore. I don’t watch porn anymore, I don’t do these things anymore and in fact I’m against these things, in fact I am correcting these things because of my vulnerability and because of my transparency it’s like I am having a therapy session right now.
Terry: As we talk and it reminds me of like “Terry hey man you’re making right moves now, you’re doing the right thing now.” And it’s so funny because you can relate it to almost like food, people eat emotionally you eat when you feel bad. And then all of a sudden the bigger you get the worse you feel and this is who I am and then all of a sudden you are on an unhealthy state and you just decide this is me and this is where I am. I have never fat shame but everyone has an ideal weight, there’s an ideal weight for you that’s healthy and if you don’t know it then probably. And that’s the way I’m gaging my thing you know and I look at this thing as “Hey man when you look at your own life and it’s constant correction, constant like do it right.” I’ve been so mindful lately because there are times when I am sitting around and like I’m irritated, why am I irritated by something and then I realize there was something I said or something, before I get to any interview I have to check my own heart. At times I maybe mad at my wife and I take it out on somebody in interview.
The knowledge that I am capable of unspeakable evil means I can counteract it, but when you just think “I would never do something like that” don’t ever say anything like that. The whole country of Germany thought we would never do that. There was a time when I was a kid we were riding on the back of flatbed trucks on a freeway at 70 m/h and wave at cops and the cops would wave back, until kids started dying on a freeway. There was a time where everybody just accepted you can drive a flatbed truck on a freeway.
Terry: And those things we think we know but we’re just right now of the cusp of realizing who we are. Look at any 80’s comedy it’s cringe worthy dude.
Lewis: It’s bad.
Terry: It hurts but you laugh back in the day, we were all like laughing and you look at it now and like ‘Oh my God I can’t believe I laugh at that.’
Lewis: I want to respect your time because I know you got to leave, I love your stories and I have like so many questions that I have never even. Next year we’re gonna come back. I want to ask you a few final questions and I’m gonna ask you to keep them brief so I can respect your time. One question is what is it about your wife that you’re most grateful for?
Terry: You know what I guess the thing I am most grateful for is her friendship. Even if we would have been divorced she still would have been my friend, like she still cared. There’s nothing like a having a person on earth that wants to see you win in every way.
Lewis: Straightening your jacket.
Terry: You know what I mean. This is why you don’t have eyes at the back of your head because you need somebody to watch you and to check you and to make sure you are right, she’s my friend dude. That is the ultimate.
Lewis: This is a question that I ask everyone at the end called the 3 truths. You’ve got a lot of truth and imagine it’s your last day on earth many years from now, you get to pick the day, year but at one point you got to go let’s just say hypothetical and you’ve done everything you want to do. You’ve achieve every dream and have the most incredible marriage, everything you want to has happened and the impact you want to make in the world has happened.
Terry: That’s a great day.
Lewis: But for whatever reason all your works and your interviews and content and your movies you got to take them all with you, so no one has access to them anymore, they just have memories of you. And you get to write down on a piece of paper 3 things you know to be true about all your experiences in life, all your lessons, the challenges and love and this is what the world would remember you by this 3 truths. What would you say are your 3 lessons or 3 truths?
Terry: Wow. Number 1 is accountability, I would like to know that I taught, I gave people an example of what being accountable looks like and as a value that is extremely important to me.
The other truth is love. I mean love I say this before and I’ll say it again it’s impossible to love someone and control them at the same time. Most of these bad things we’re talking about are attempts from people in power to control the people. So, that’s where every abuse occurs because you are trying to control what people think. I was trying to control my wife by not telling her the truth, but love gives you all the option and then you get to pick. And if my wife loves me, like if I kept her in a cage in the basement that’s control that’s not love. But when she can come and go freely and comes home because she wants to be that’s love.
The third thing I would say creativity. You can do it all. My thing is, I never saw, once I crack that head on the inside of me like the image and who I was become one person I can do anything. There was no rule go host, act, create a line, do whatever there’s no rules to tell you. Creativity works like do whatever you want whatever your vision sees and in fact as far as you can take it. To me those 3 things that’s what I want when you see all the stuff that he went for and he tried, this is a kid from Flint Michigan men, I never was supposed to get this. People are still shock that I am here, I shock myself but it’s through creativity.
Lewis: Those are great truths. Before I ask the final question I want to acknowledge you Terry for your incredible heart. A lot of people see you as this big strong guy and you’re probably the most attractive man I’ve met but you’re physically fit. Your physical strength is impressive but your heart strength is really what’s inspiring to me and I think to so many people that you are willing to continue to use your platform for a place of service and impact. I think that’s for me a true measure of a man someone who’s in service and I honor and recognize that and acknowledge you for all you do to be accountable for yourself. You know I know we’ve talked before I’ve made tons of mistake in my life and I’m not perfect and I’m constantly honing that accountability personally and that for you to lead the way is really inspiring to me and so many men and women in the world. So, I acknowledge you my man I hope we get to do more interviews in the future and dive in because we didn’t ever talked about your art and creativity.
Terry: Yeah, I got a whole deal on that.
Lewis: Terry is one of the best artist I’ve ever met but right now you can get the book ‘manhood’ make sure to go pick this up. Get it for yourself, get it for a man in your life and for woman if you’re living with a man how to understand men better. This is a great book check this out and you’re on Brooklyn 99, is that on right now? You’re filming right now?
Terry: We’re filming now and it’s out and I’m hosting America’s Got Talent.
Lewis: That’s huge men congrats on that. I’ve been watching your stories and everything it is so inspiring.
Terry: It’s so great men.
Lewis: You are the perfect, you are like it’s unbelievable. How else can we support you right now?
Terry: @TerryCrews on Instagram and twitter and Facebook. And you know I am always doing stuff, oh I have a children’s book coming out illustrated.
Lewis: Coming out?
Terry: It’s literally coming out next month we are getting the whole thing together its self-publish and called ‘Come Find Me’ and it’s an augmented reality book where it’s a first time reader and in Portuguese, English, and Spanish and you open it up and you have an app, you can put the phone on your iPad on the pictures and the characters will pop out right on the book. We are going all out.
Lewis: Where can pre-order that?
Terry: Comefindmebook.com it’s literally coming out next month. So, we’re lining it all up and it’s my first children’s book. Here’s the thing what broke my heart more than anything was when Bill Cosby went down. I grew up on Little Bill, Fat Albert and I said now that wiped out the whole legacy. I knew something had to replace that and I created this book and it’s 2 characters Marcus and Anthony, 2 little African-American boys who are based on real people when I co-wrote it with my friend Ken Harvey. He’s a pro football player and his kids are all grown, they have master’s degree and wonderful kid but they are based on them as they were little kids.
Lewis: That’s cool man. Final question what’s your definition of greatness?
Terry: My definition of greatness is vulnerability because you have no courage without vulnerability and there’s no way you can be great until you can hear it and be vulnerable. So that’s my definition.
Lewis: Terry Crews you’re a legend man.
And there you have it my friends I hope you enjoyed this one such a powerful interview. I only asked like 4 or 5 questions and Terry went and share stories like a mad man I love it. His passion, his enthusiasm, his ability to connect, and his creativity the guy has done so much over his career and he is just getting started. Make sure to follow him over on Instagram, make sure to follow shows Brooklyn 99, America’s Got Talent. Make sure that you enjoyed this tag him on your Instagram stories to let him see that you’re listening to this episode as well. And the link to send to your friends is lewishowes.com/760.
Again, a big thank you to our sponsor smile direct club. If you want to increase your confidence with your smile you can get invisible aligners that worked gently and discreetly to gradually guide your teeth into alignment. And smile direct club has an exclusive offer for our listeners get $150 off your invisible aligners at smiledirectclub.com/podcast and make sure to use the offer code greatness to get that discount. Again $150 off at smiledirectclub.com/podcast offer code greatness.
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Again I hope you guys enjoyed this one and remember it doesn’t matter what you’ve gone through in your past, it doesn’t matter what you’re going through right now you can always make a decision in this moment to change your life forever; to do something powerful in your life, to take one step in a different direction towards the vision of your dreams. I believe in you, I’ve got your back and as always you know what time it is, it’s time to go out there and do something great.
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