Sway Calloway: After a 14-month ordeal 15 months, six-week trial it's finally over. How do you feel?
Sean "Puffy" Combs: Man, I just feel blessed. [That's] the first word that comes to mind. I was in a situation where the only way I could come out of it was by putting my faith in God. No matter how good my lawyers were, no matter how much celebrity I had, everything was just stacked up against me. I was innocent, but all the things that were coming out was just ... it just felt like .... oh, man, my worst nightmare. All the things personally [that] I was going through at the same time. God just really blessed me and got me sitting here with you today. All the support from the fans, all the MTV viewers and the fans and just the people of New York, even all over the world, just all the prayers really helped me in a hard, trying situation. It's been like a year and a half, life being on hold, just waiting to get this over with.
I feel good. I'm glad the truth is out. I'm glad everyone knows I'm innocent, not guilty. But then also it's a bittersweet situation, because the situation took a lot out of people's lives, a lot of time out of people. A situation where you have Shyne, a young artist on the label, he's now incarcerated, and also a situation where I feel he didn't want to hurt anybody, try to hurt anybody whatsoever. Just not a good night, let's put it that way. Then you have people that are victims that are hurt. It's bittersweet, and then it's also to a point of being tired, being on MTV everyday, "The Puffy Trial," boom like, you don't got a video, but you got the Puffy trial up there.
Sway: We have to tell the facts.
Combs: No, no, I understand that, but I'm just being honest with you. It's like some of the time, it gets to the point where I'm at right now. It just gets draining on a person being in the papers every day. So I was like, I'm gonna come back here. I want to talk to all the people, the fans. I want to let them know how much I appreciate all their support. How the situation has really been a life-changing experience. It's been a humbling experience, and I'm just blessed to be here.
Sway: Let me ask you this, because I'm looking at you physically, and it's obvious it looks like you've lost some weight through this whole process.
Combs: Yeah, I lost some weight.
Sway: I can't even fathom what it would be like, sitting in that courtroom and waiting for the jury to announce the verdict, knowing that that verdict is the difference between years in prison and freedom. What went through your mind as you waited for the verdict?
Combs: As far as the stress level of everything, I always had a confidence [from] being innocent, or only accused of a crime. You have a deep confidence, 'cause you know you didn't do it. But then also it's the scariest thing, because you envision, like, well, what if something goes wrong? I'm gonna be doing some time for something that I didn't do. That's like the worst thing you can imagine, but you always go back to that point of the truth, and that kind of gives you peace, [and] of course just having faith, just releasing it to God and having faith. That stressed me out, but it had me feel scared emotionally too scared but then [I was] also at peace of knowing the truth. It's hard to explain. It's something I wouldn't wish [anyone] goes through and hopefully people, fans, young kids even though I'm innocent, kids will know that. Don't get yourself in certain circumstances or instances, because it's not a good feeling to be sitting in that chair where you've got 12 people that are in control of your life. You have an opportunity to be in control of your life for yourself by the decisions that you make.
Sway: Did you feel that the media covered the trial fairly?
Combs: Oh yeah. I don't really think they covered what was going on in the courtroom, though. When you got the story the next day, a lot of the time it was sensationalized. And there was some journalist that did cover it well, but some of the more sensational newspapers sensationalized it, like there was something else that went on. They would just try to put all the bad stuff out there to try to make it look like it was the worst situation. But then you had a lot of journalists that did report it fairly and had journalistic integrity, and it was a situation that ... I just didn't think it was going to be that big. I just didn't think it was gonna be that big of a deal on an alleged gun possession.
Sway: You're household now, so that kinda comes with the territory.Combs: I mean, I was bugging when I saw them stop CNN. They just stopped the regular scheduled program, and when I saw the tape two days later, I was like, this is really something. For them to stop CNN ... I was getting calls from Australia and Africa. But I'm glad it turned out right and I'm glad people aren't ... I'm glad the truth is out there.
Sway: This whole incident was like a soap opera a drama, if you will and it had its high and low points. What were some of the darkest, lowest points of this whole incident for you?
Combs: I would have to say around the holiday. Around the holidays, and the weeks after. It was a real dark time. There were some real dark times. There was time where I was losing a lot of weight, where I wasn't doing a lot of eating, it was just like straight-up, oh boy. I was really having to reevaluate why this was going on. I couldn't. I had to just look inside myself and do something. I was like, wow, this is real deep right here, and I don't want to go through this again. Whatever, whatever's going on, I just want to get through this and I don't ever want to feel this pain again.
Sway: And how did it affect you personally?
Combs: It affected me to a point where I've got to take a break, to be honest. I'm not even going to lie. Mentally there's so much between the trial and the case and the Jennifer [Lopez] stuff and the stuff with my kids and the business stuff and then the scrutiny of the media and being in the public eye, being in the papers everyday, being in the news everyday. It's a lot, so I just need to ... I'm gonna take what they call a leave of absence. A leave of absence, just to be Sean. To be Sean Combs for a couple of days and just evaluate everything that has happened. Just so I could learn from everything and make the right decisions going forward and I could figure out what I want to do in the future, as far as if I want to be a record chairman, if I want to be a movie star, if I wanna retire early and do whatever. That's not my train of thinking as far as retiring early, but it's just that [I need] time to figure out what level of position I want to play in the whole game of life, the whole world of entertainment.
Responding to Shyne, taking responsibility, and changing his name ... NEXT>>