Peter Cook: I Am Still the Person Christie 'Raved' About

Peter Cook: I Am Still the Person Christie 'Raved' About
Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov; Lisa Wagner/Splash News Online

10/11/2008 AT 09:00 AM EDT

Christie Brinkley's ex-husband Peter Cook has finally spoken out since the couple's bitter divorce – and while he owns up to having made a mistake, he maintains he had reasons for his behavior.

“It was my failing,” he admitted to Barbara Walters in an interview with 20/20 that aired Friday. “I was a great father, a great husband, and I failed as a human being… I made a mistake.”

But Cook maintained that he had reasons for his behavior: “I was seeking a connection I could not find in my own marriage,” he said of his relationship with then-teenager Diana Bianchi. “I took the cowardice way out and had an affair instead of approaching my wife and saying, “Ya know what? I’m not happy.”

When asked whether he wanted Brinkley to see the interview, Cook responded: “I hope that she goes back and remembers….that I am the person that she wrote the poems about, that she raved about in magazine articles. I am that person today, that I was then.”

Cook went on to say he went through the public divorce proceedings for his children’s sake. “I think it’s critical for them to have their father in their lives,” he said, tearing up. “I’ll always be able to turn to my children and say, “I did everything, I spent every penny I had…I sacrificed my reputation, took beatings I didn’t need to take…I wanted to be in their lives.”

In the wake of the revealing interview, Brinkley requested a temporary restraining order barring Cook from seeing the couple’s children this weekend, which was denied. But Cook's attorney James Winkler said his client agreed to take the children out of the area on a trip and to not expose them to the interview.

Brinkley’s lawyer, Robert Stephan Cohen, issued a statement shortly after the interview aired.

“Mr. Cook has chosen to breach the confidentiality agreement in the divorce settlement, a provision agreed upon in court to protect the children and allow them to put this ordeal behind them. This is a tragedy. Ms. Brinkley plans to explore her legal options.” • Reporting by SHARON COTLIAR

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