NEW YORK – Suzy Favor Hamilton is a small town Wisconsin girl who became a three-time Olympian in women’s middle distance running. Then, something bizarre happened – the married mother became a high-priced Las Vegas escort. Suzy chronicles her life and struggle with bipolar disorder in her new book, “Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness.”
FOX411: You say our big change came after you and your husband celebrated your 20th wedding anniversary by hiring a hooker for a ménage a trois, and after that, you wanted to chase the high.
Suzy Favor Hamilton: After hiring the sex worker and that whole experience, something changed in me, I don’t know what it was at that time, but I kept telling my husband, “Don’t you feel this high?” He kind of laughed, “I don’t get it. It was great but I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But I was having this euphoric high. I didn’t know I was bipolar at the time. Looking back now I see what that high was.
FOX411: So was the adrenaline fix your main motivation or did money play a big part?
Hamilton: To back up for a second, two months before that threesome and jumping out of an airplane that same day I was misdiagnosed for depression and they gave me an antidepressant called Zoloft, and one of the side effects that it can bring on is hyper-sexuality, not in all cases but when you’re bipolar and you take Zoloft now you’re kind of getting this double whammy, so I was hypersexual at that time, and the threesome was so easy and the high I was feeling was also contributed to the drug, not blaming the drug for then what progressed in the six months, from the threesome to the six months becoming an escort in Vegas.
FOX411: Were you still on Zoloft during that entire six months?
Hamilton: The entire time. Zoloft made me feel incredible. I was on top of the world. I was elated. I had no inhibitions. I started to become delusional during that time. It was only until I outed by a tabloid that I discovered with doctor care that I was bipolar.
FOX411: Speaking of the Smoking Gun, the website that outed you, would you have kept going if you never got caught?
Hamilton: I don’t see what would have changed because I still would have been misdiagnosed. I still would have been on Zoloft. I didn’t want out of that world even though my husband knew about it, he was desperately trying to pull me out and he admits he enabled because he couldn’t speak out to anybody. He felt he couldn’t tell his parents. He couldn’t tell my parents, “By the way, your daughter is a sex worker in Vegas.”
FOX411: Your husband knew when you had sex with a male escort and another man recreationally, and was also aware when you began hooking. How was he okay with that?
Hamilton: Picking up men in Vegas, the gigolo that was part of the progression and at that time we were having marital problems and I was working for him which was a complete mistake, I should have never worked for my husband, and at that time when I was picking up random men in Vegas, we had discussed let’s have an open relationship, let’s try this out but yet it was more on my end, he wasn’t involved in any other relationship so that was the permission to go forward. But when I told him about the escorting and that I wanted to take this high to the next level. I told him it’s just going to be once or twice. I’m just going to sample it but when I jumped into that world, I was hooked immediately.
FOX411: Describe the day your secret life was discovered by the website?
Hamilton: I was at the Rock N’ Roll Marathon and I was staying at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, and this gentleman comes up to me as I’m about to get on the elevator and he says my name. I’m actually there as Suzy doing my event work and I thought it was just another runner asking for my autograph, and he told me at that moment who he wa,s and I had been warned about this guy previously that he might out me. I didn’t think it could ever happen. When he discussed I’m going to be putting your name, everything you’ve been doing out there I about died. I thought this could not be possibly happening to me. My life was over.
FOX411: Why did you decide to write a book detailing your escapades in such excruciating details, having a daughter, family and friends?
Hamilton: It’s so unfortunate in our society that people have to judge. I am an advocate now for the misunderstood because of the route I decided to go. Zoloft definitely played a big role in it.
FOX411: Are you going to sue Zoloft?
Hamilton: I don’t blame them though. I take full responsibility for what I did. I’m not a victim here. I didn’t know I was bipolar. It was the perfect storm so I don’t want to blame anyone for it, but I know it contributed to that experience without a doubt.
FOX411: Does having the diagnosis of bipolar disorder make you feel less responsible for your actions?
Hamilton: It doesn’t make me feel less responsible for those actions. Again, because I knew what I was doing, but I don’t feel shame because I don’t want to feel shame from having mental illness and I don’t shame the other women in that industry if this is the choice they want to do with their body, they have every right to make that decision. So, I’m not shaming them at all and I have friends in that industry to this day, and they’re good people.
FOX411: Would you ever go back to sex work?
Hamilton: Absolutely not. That world is not for me. The bipolar was ruining my life, but more than anything it was ruining my relationship with my husband and hurting the people around me. It’s not a healthy place for me.
Editor's Note: Hamilton mentioned Zoloft so often in this interview, we reached out to the drug's maker Pfizer, who provided this statement: "Millions of patients and their prescribers have chosen Zoloft for more than 20 years for the treatment of depression and other psychiatric conditions. Zoloft is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression and the product’s label states that prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder.Zoloft was first approved by the FDA in 1991 based on the agency’s review of the efficacy and safety data from more than 20 clinical studies involving more than 5,000 patients. There is extensive science supporting the safety and efficacy of Zoloft and the medicine carries accurate, science-based and FDA approved information on its benefits and risks.”