- In 2008, Michael David Barrett took videos of Erin through her hotel keyhole
- The broadcaster, 45, has reflected on the moment she found out to Hoda Kotb
- She was so upset that when she called her dad, he thought she was in a crash
Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews broke down in tears as she opened up about her hellish experience with a stalker – as well as the gut-wrenching moment she had to tell her parents that he’d been secretly recording nude footage of her.
Throughout 2008 and 2009, a man named Michael David Barrett followed Erin, now 45, across the globe, booking hotel rooms that were next to hers and taping secret, intimate videos of the TV personality through the keyhole.
He then uploaded the clips onto the web – which ultimately landed him in prison and resulted in Erin suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
During their chat, Erin explained that when the footage first began to trickle onto the internet, many thought she had voluntarily shared it herself.
‘People thought it was a scandal, but I was the square in high school. I don’t do those things,’ she explained.
She recalled first finding out about it after a friend called her and told her, and at first she thought it was fake.
‘He said, “There’s this video. ‘I said, “No there’s not, I don’t do that stuff. I’m single, I don’t even have that going on in my life,”‘ she revealed. ‘And he was like, “Erin, it’s you.”‘
Erin said she called her parents immediately after watching the video – and she was so emotional that her father thought she had been in an accident.
She told Hoda as her eyes welled up, ‘My dad says he thought I had been in a car accident because I was just screaming.’
In the aftermath, Erin said that she had a hard time coming to terms with what had happened, and that looking back now she’s so thankful that her ‘incredible’ parents stuck by her side.
‘I feel so bad, my parents were just incredible. I was in my 30s when that happened and I resorted to acting like a 15-year-old in terms of not wanting to deal with it,’ she admitted. ‘But my parents were really on the forefront.’
Michael, a former insurance salesman from Illinois, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail after he plead guilty to a number of stalking charges in 2009.
During the trial, he admitted to renting hotel rooms next to hers on three different occasions, and altering hotel peepholes and shooting videos of her on his mobile phone two of those times – once in Columbus, Ohio, in February 2008 and again seven months later in Nashville, Tennessee.
Prosecutors accused him of contacting a total of 14 hotels to try to get information on Erin’s reservations.
It was also revealed during the court case that he tried to sell the footage to TMZ, but the publication denied.
He then posted the videos himself online, where they quickly went viral, receiving more than 17 million views.
Erin, originally from Lewiston, Maine, rose to fame in 2004 after she became an ESPN correspondent, where she worked for eight years before she moved to Fox Sports. She’s also known for co-hosting Dancing with the Stars from 2014 to 2019.
Michael was released from prison in 2012 after 20 months behind bars. Erin went on to sue the Marriott hotel in Nashville and several other defendants claiming negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy in 2016, asking for $75 million in damages.
Her lawsuit alleged that hotel management confirmed to Michael where she was staying, disclosed her room number without permission, and then allowed the stalker to stay in adjacent rooms.
When she took the stand, Erin spoke further about her initial reaction to seeing the footage to the jury, as she sobbed.
She said that she was so upset that the hotel she was in called to check on her because someone became concerned she might be in trouble after they overheard her screaming on the phone while speaking to her parents.
She also revealed that she vomited when FBI agents made her re-watch it ahead of the trial. She was rewarded $55 million in 2016 as a result of the lawsuit.