"I am a heterosexual," says Ted Haggard. He is speaking out about the controversy surrounding his wife saying he's been "cured" of "homosexual compulsions," a claim being met with some mockery.
"A lot of people won't believe you now," says INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret.
"Oh I know, I read it every day on Twitter, they say, 'You're in denial, you're really gay,' most of it is foul language," Haggard says.
He was one of the most powerful preachers in America, leader of 30 million evangelicals worldwide. He lost everything when a male prostitute revealed that Haggard had paid him for sex and drugs for three years.
"He put himself in front of millions of people and told them how they should act in life, how they should be a good Christian, he set these standards and he hasn't lived up to them," says Mike Jones, the man who exposed Haggard's secret life.
But Haggard tells INSIDE EDITION, "I'm grateful the scandal happened...I think if he hadn't done what he did, those allegations, though exaggerated, they probably rescued me from drug addiction."
Haggard and his wife Gayle are promoting her new book, Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour. Gayle appeared on Larry King Live, saying their relationship is now stronger than ever.
"Was it hard to lie down with him, knowing he had had a gay experience?" asked Larry King.
"When I got into bed it was quiet and suddenly he reached out his hand, and when he did that was my point of decision and I decided to take his hand," Gayle said.
"Think of that," says Haggard. "Here this woman had been married to me for 30 years, she had just learned that I had been unfaithful, and she decided to accept me just the way I was."
Haggard says he was molested when he was eight years old and that led to self-doubts about his sexual identity. He says intense therapy has helped him work through his issues: "I was very honest with my counselors. None of them has said I was a homosexual or a bisexual. At first they said, 'You are a heterosexual with homosexual attachments.' "
"Isn't that just semantics?" asks Jim Moret.
"No, what it means is, since my first sexual experience was a homosexual experience in the second grade, where a man was with me, that sexualized me in that direction," Haggard explained.
Haggard's Denver-based mega-church fired him in the wake of the scandal. The couple hopes Gayle's new book will help them to restore their name in the evangelical community.
"How would you minister differently?" Moret asks him.
"Lots more compassion, lots more kindness. I would want the type of church that would be focused on giving people a break," Haggard says.