Charlie Ebersol might be getting a lot of attention at the moment thanks to his new romance with Britney Spears – but it was overcoming hurdles in the past that put him in a position to even be in a relationship.
"My personal life is my personal life, but I will say this: If I had not gone through what I've gone through, I would not have been prepared to be in a relationship of any kind, much less in one with someone like Britney, who has the enormous heart that she does," he told People.
"I can't imagine. Everybody deserves to be loved. My hope is that lesson shines forth in this documentary, and in life."
Charlie, 31, was referring to the 4th annual NFL Characters Unite programme – produced by his entertainment business The Company – which shares deeply personal stories of overcoming prejudice, bullying and discrimination, with the goal of helping young people facing similar challenges.
It's something he can relate to. "I was bullied very badly in high school," Charlie revealed. "I was a very successful kid. I sold my first company at a young age. There was a lot of misplaced rage in high school towards me.
"My brothers and sisters identified it as bullying, but I didn't at the time. What was amazing to me was I started to feel I wasn't worthy of being loved… I ended up blocking this from my memory. It wasn't until I was saying to my brother (Willie, who directed NFL Characters Unite), 'I couldn't imagine ever being bullied', and he said, 'You lived this!' It all came back in a flood."
Charlie also spoke about surviving the horrific plane crash in November 2004 that killed his younger brother Teddy, and seriously injured Charlie and his father, Saturday Night Live co-creator Dick Ebersol, who he bravely pulled from the wreckage.
"My brother was 14 when he died in the crash, and I remember (NBA legend) Bill Walton coming up to me at the funeral and saying, 'You now carry the responsibility of two lives. How do you want that responsibility to live through you?' It was profound," Charlie revealed. "In the face of things like this, I still had to remember I was blessed.
"The mission of my company is to bring three things to the world through entertainment: joy, happiness and change. We must believe our precious time is being used to make a product worth more than anything else we could be doing. I had everything, but I had to work hard to find love."