10/13/2011 at 02:00 PM EDT
Christopher Chaney considers it somewhat of a blessing in disguise that he was arrested on Wednesday
for hacking into celebrity cell phones and email accounts.
In a new interview, Chaney, 35, says he became "addicted to seeing the behind-the-scenes" lives of the stars and that he felt "almost relieved months ago" when authorities seized his computer.
"It started as a curiosity," he told
a local news station in Jacksonville, Fla. "It happened and snowballed. ... I didn't know how to stop doing it."
Chaney, who most notoriously leaked nude photos
online of Scarlett Johansson
from her cell phone in September, regrets his actions.
"I deeply apologize," he says. "I know what I did was probably one of the worst invasions of privacy someone could experience. These people don't have privacy to begin with, and I was in that tiny little sliver of privacy they do have."
Chaney allegedly hacked into accounts on computers and other devices of more than 50 people besides Johansson, including Mila Kunis
and Christina Aguilera
Charged with 26 counts of computer hacking, aggravated identity theft and wiretapping, Chaney faces a maximum penalty of 121 years in federal prison if convicted. The aggravated identity theft charge alone carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence.