Source: Jesse James 'Sick of People Thinking He's a Monster'

Source: Jesse James 'Sick of People Thinking He's a Monster'
Jesse James
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

05/28/2010 AT 10:20 AM EDT

If Jesse James appeared to be nervous and uncomfortable during his Nightline interview, it's because he was, says a source close to Sandra Bullock's estranged husband.

"While Jesse seemed very anxious and stressed out about the interview, it was still very important for him to do," the source tells PEOPLE.

James, 41, who broke down in tears during the interview while discussing everything from his failed marriage to his abuse as a child at the hands of his father, felt the need to publicly tell his side of the story to clear his name, says the source.

"He is sick of people thinking of him as a monster," says the source, who adds that friends and employees at James's Long Beach, Calif., bike shop, West Coast Choppers, "are impressed [by] how Jesse handled the interview."

Whether or not the sit-down changes the public's views on James, the source says the interview will hopefully "make Jesse seem more human."

"Jesse feels that he needs to get some credit for admitting his faults," says the source, "and for trying to make a life change."


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