Hulk Hogan: I Still Love Linda
06/26/2008 AT 04:15 PM EDT
"I unconditionally love my wife, even though we're not together anymore," Hogan says. "The Linda that I know was a great mother and a great person."
Admitting that there had been problems in the marriage for a decade, Hogan, 54, concedes during an exclusive interview that letting cameras into their home for their hit VH1 show, Hogan Knows Best, may have been a mistake: "I just think the reality show amplified the problems that were already there."
Linda, 48, filed for divorce last November.
Hogan says his relationship with Brooke, 20, "was strained for a while" after Brooke learned that Hogan had a brief fling with one of her close friends, a woman in her 30s. "Brooke has gone through a range of emotions," Hogan says. "She was a little confused about who everybody was, and maybe had misinformation, but right now Brooke understands who I am, and who her mom is, and what's real and not real. She's doing real well now."
Hogan, who is currently filming his new reality show, Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling, set to air on CMT this fall, also spoke extensively about his son Nick, 17, who was sentenced to 8 months in jail last May for the car crash that critically injured his best friend, Iraq war vet John Graziano. After serving 28 days in a solitary confinement cell – because the sheriff's department was required to keep him separated from the adult prison population and had no other facility available – Nick is doing "better now," Hogan says. His son is now mingled in with other juveniles, and even has access to a TV.
"Nick understands thinking positive," Hogan says. "Every night when we talk he says, 'Man, Dad – we got through another day.' He's grateful. He knows what's in front of him. And (moving forward), we don't want any negative stuff around us.”
For more of Hulk Hogan's exclusive interview, including his explanation of those infamous jailhouse tapes, pick up the latest copy of PEOPLE—on newsstands now!