Washington, Mar 13 (ANI): Olympic golden boy Michael Phelps has for the first time opened up about his controversial marijuana pics, insisting that the episode was a 'bad mistake'.
In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, the 23-year-old swimming sensation admitted to making a mistake and exercising "awful judgment" by partying among pot smokers in November last year.
"I had no idea really what to do," E! Online quoted Phelps as referring to the moment when he learned that a photograph of him holding a bong surfaced in a British tabloid on January 31.
"I knew that I'd made a mistake and made a bad judgment.
"And...I know that when you do make a mistake...you're responsible for all of the consequences. And I was willing to, you know, accept the fact that I did make a mistake," he added.
US Swimming has suspended Phelps for three months, and he has also lost his Kellogg's endorsement deal.
He said that the hardest part of the ordeal was knowing he had hurt and disappointed, not only his fans, but the people closest to him, as well.
Talking about the house party at the University of South Carolina, where he was snapped smoking a bong, Phelps said he knew most of the guests at the party and there were only six or seven people there altogether.
"It was just a small group and we were just sitting around and celebrating," he said.
"People think, you know, it's funny at times" to take an impromptu cell phone picture. I'll say that there are a lot of people out there who want to take advantage of any situation they have...I trusted my friends who were there, who they were.
"And clearly they weren't [trustworthy] people...Sometimes you learn the hard way," he added. (ANI)