Dennis Rodman checks into rehab after North Korea trip

Dennis Rodman reaches to take a bottle of vodka from his bodyguard outside a Pyongyang hotel on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 Dennis Rodman blamed drink for some of his blunders while in North Korea

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Former basketball star Dennis Rodman has checked into an alcohol rehabilitation centre, his agent has said, days after returning from a controversial North Korea trip.

Agent Daniel Prince said Rodman was in "pretty rough shape emotionally".

He had suffered from pressure to be a "super-human political figure" during his visit, Mr Prince said.

Rodman, who regards leader Kim Jong-un as a good friend, was criticised for a series of blunders in North Korea.

He appeared to suggest in one interview that an American man jailed in North Korea was to blame for his own incarceration.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) watches a basketball game in Pyongyang in undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 9 January 2014 Rodman (R) is the most high-profile American to meet Kim Jong-un (C)

He later apologised, saying he had been drinking before the interview.

And he was ridiculed after being filmed singing Happy Birthday to Mr Kim.

Dennis Rodman

  • Retired NBA professional who played for teams including the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons
  • Known for a bad-boy image, colourful hair, piercings and tattoos
  • Briefly married to US actress Carmen Electra; had a brief relationship with Madonna
  • Appeared in action films and television series, and has also been a professional wrestler
  • Has appeared in several reality shows, including one tackling celebrity alcohol abuse

"What was potentially a historic and monumental event turned into a nightmare for everyone concerned," said Mr Prince.

"Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally.

"He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused."

Rodman is the most high-profile American to meet the young leader.

US officials have repeatedly stated that Rodman is not representing the US government.

But he had been asked several times in the past whether he could use his relationship with Mr Kim to discuss jailed US citizen Kenneth Bae.

Rodman led the crowd in a rendition of Happy Birthday before the match

Mr Bae was sentenced to 15 years' hard labour in May 2013 for using a tourism business to plot sedition.

"Do you understand what he did in this country? I would love to speak on this," Rodman told CNN.

Mr Bae's sister described Rodman's comments as appalling and said she was concerned they would hurt efforts to free her brother. He subsequently apologised for the remarks.

North Korea has in the past used US detainees to extract diplomatic concessions.

The regime is widely criticised for ruinous economic policies, holding tens of thousands of its citizens in prison camps and continuing to develop nuclear weapons.

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