Asia

Dennis Rodman checks into rehab after North Korea trip

  • 19 January 2014
  • From the section Asia
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

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.

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.

"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.

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.

More on this story