Now, with those dark days in his rearview mirror and his fifth and likely final Olympics right around the corner in Rio, the greatest swimmer of all time is opening up to ESPN The Magazine about his past struggles with alcohol and suicidal thoughts.
Phelps cemented his place as an Olympic legend two years before checking into rehab in October 2014. He should have been on top of the world at the time, but instead he was drifting – drinking heavily and struggling to find his identity outside the pool.
“I thought the world would just be better off without me,” he told ESPN The Magazine for its July 18 Body Issue. “I figured that was the best thing to do – just end my life.”