The former New York Jets employee who allegedly received inappropriate photos and phone messages from Brett Favre said in an interview that aired Tuesday that she has never met the quarterback, isn't a "gold-digger" and hasn't financially benefited from the scandal.
|Jenn Sterger told "Good Morning America" she doesn't know how retired Jets QB Brett Favre received her phone number. (Lou Rocco/ABC/Associated Press)|
"I've never met him. We've never met," Jenn Sterger told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in her first public comments on the saga, adding that the closest she has been to Favre was when they passed each other in the tunnels at the Meadowlands. "There was never an introduction."
Part of the interview aired Tuesday on "Good Morning America," and other parts will be shown Tuesday night on "Nightline" and Wednesday morning on "GMA."
"I haven't made a dime off anything in this whole situation," Sterger said. "Not from the pictures. Not from Favre. I never wanted to sue anyone. That was never an intention of mine. I'm not a gold-digger. The only way I wanted to make my money this whole time was to just have a job."
Sterger said Favre was relentless in his pursuit of her.
"He was like that guy at the bar that just could not get the hint," she said.
"I didn't want anything to do with it. That's the thing," she said. "I didn't want anything to do with it in 2008, I (didn't) want anything to do with it in 2010. I still don't want anything to do with it now. The only reason I feel like I have to give this interview is ... for me. For my family. This has nothing to do with Brett Favre. It doesn't. I just want people to know me. And to know that I'm not a gold-digger. And I'm not a home-wrecker."
In December, the NFL concluded its investigation of Favre by fining him $50,000 for failing to cooperate with the process. The NFL said Commissioner Roger Goodell couldn't conclude Favre violated the league's personal-conduct policy based on the evidence available. Investigators were trying to determine if Favre sent inappropriate messages and below-the-belt photos to Sterger in 2008, when both worked for the Jets.
Sterger spoke with NFL officials during the investigation but has kept a low profile since. Her last on-air job with Versus network's show, "The Daily Line", disappeared in October after the show was canceled because of low ratings.
"You know, I was trying to go to work. Do my job," Sterger told ABC. "But how are you supposed to report on the news when you are the news? It was tough. It was embarrassing. It was humiliating. All I wanted to do was go to work. Do my job. That's all I wanted."
Sterger said she doesn't know how Favre got her phone number.
"I was approached one day at the beginning of the preseason games, by a man wearing a Jets badge, employee badge, who asked me, 'How would you feel if Brett Favre asked for your phone number? What would you say?'" Sterger said. "And I just looked at him, my usual smart-ass self, and I said, 'I'd say I like my job an awful lot. And I've been told I look remarkably like his wife.'"
Sterger said she initially didn't know who was reaching out to her.
"Whenever I would reply, it was more to try to figure out who I was interacting with," she said. "It was the same number, always. The texts, the pictures. The voicemails. There was no actual, 'Hey, Jenn. It's Brett.' "
It didn't take long to figure it out, however.
"It was all context clues ... They would always give me the pieces of the puzzle," Sterger said. "Forty years old. Gray hair. New to the team. That only fits a few guys on the team ... No, only one guy on the team. I always noticed that he was looking at me in the tunnel. I just had that gut feeling. I really did."
Favre spent one season with the Jets in 2008. In January, the longtime Green Bay Packers quarterback filed his retirement papers with the NFL after playing the past two seasons of his 20-year career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Sterger said she consulted several unnamed people for advice.
"And every single one of them gave me the exact same answer. They said, 'Jenn, do you like your job? Well, if you like your job, and you want to keep it, I'd suggest you just be quiet. Do your job,' " she said.
She kept doing her job, and kept putting off Favre, she said.
"It's staving him off," Sterger said. "It's 'I'm busy. I'll talk to you later. I'm busy. I'm busy.' "
She said the situation reached a point of no return once she started receiving what she said were nude photos of Favre. At that point, she said she realized "just how serious it is and that this isn't going to go away."
When asked how the messages and photos could get leaked to the website Deadspin.com nearly two years later, Sterger grew emotional and said, "I shared them with individuals when I was asking for advice" and that she felt betrayed.
"I didn't want it to get out. I had dealt with it the best way I knew how. And it had gone away. And I had moved on," she said. "I was already employed somewhere else. I had a great job. And it was over. The story comes out, and it's humiliating. It's like someone punches you in the stomach."
Favre has admitted leaving voicemails but said he didn't send photos of himself.
Does Sterger believe the quarterback owes her an apology?
"I don't really care if he gives me one (apology) or not. I just want to move on," she said. "I really didn't do anything wrong. If I owe anyone an apology, I feel bad for my parents, I'm sorry they had to go through this. I'm sorry the families involved had to go through this. Those are the only ones who have to be apologized to.
"It's never been my intention to ever play a victim in this whole thing."
Sterger is trying to rebuild her career. She split with former manager Phil Reese and has signed as a client with high-powered New York PR firm Susan Blond, Inc., according to agency spokesman Perry Krasnove.
"I just want my life back," Sterger said. "That's all I'm asking for. Just to be able to go back to work. To be able to go back to enjoying what I do. Entertaining people. Making people laugh. The hardest part about this whole thing is that I am a ridiculous person. I love to entertain people, and to say crazy things. And I'm pretty unapologetic about it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.