Friday Night Lights author H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger appeared on Megyn Kelly TODAY on Tuesday, where he opened up about his shopping addiction on camera for the first time.
“At the rate I was going and am going, I’ll be broke,” Bissinger, 63, told Kelly of his shopping addiction, which he previously discussed in an essay for GQ magazine in 2013.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author claims to have spent “well over $1 million” to date on designer clothing from brands likes Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, his preferred brand. Of particular interest to Bissinger is leather clothing, which he says stems from a leather fetish he has had since childhood. However, he only began exploring his preference for leather around 2010, when his wife took a job overseas in Abu Dhabi and his son, Caleb, moved out.
“When you’re alone, the mice will play, so to speak,” the former Inquirer reporter said.
Bissinger told Kelly he began ordering designer leather clothing online, and received up to three packages every other day, ballooning his collection to more than 100 pairs of leather pants and 150 leather jackets. As he said on the show, the UPS driver probably knew about his shopping addiction before anyone else.
“UPS guys are fairly discreet,” he said. “If you ever get a leather fetish and a shopping addiction, stick with UPS. The Postal Service is not as good.”
Over time, Bissinger says he became “physically excited” when boxes would arrive, and “the UPS really did begin to look at me weirdly” due to the “sexual component” of Bissinger’s addiction.
Ultimately, he says a wakeup call came in 2015, when he was working on a piece about Caitlyn Jenner for Vanity Fair. During his reporting of that piece, Bissinger says, Jenner’s outlook touched him, and he didn’t want to “die not having experienced my true self.”
“I’m scared straight,” he said. “You reach the moment in your life that you’re going to do irreparable harm. To go broke is terrifying. To not take care of my kids is terrifying.”
Bissinger is seeing a therapist, and previously went to rehab following the publication of his personal essay for GQ in 2013. Following his stay in rehab, he put much of his designer clothing in a storage locker, but many pieces have since made their way back into his home.
Bissinger also told Kelly that he has burned through much of his money from 2016’s The Secrets of My Life, Jenner’s memoir, which he co-wrote. Bissinger and his wife have since split their assets due to his shopping addiction, as he told Kelly.
“It’s easy to blow through,” he said. “When we were doing this segment, I opened up one of those bags, and it was a mink stole that was really pretty at the time, and still had the tag on it. It was $18,000.”
Now, Bissinger says, he decided to go on camera to discuss the addiction in order to keep himself honest.
“I don’t know how many of you I’ll ever see again,” he told the studio audience, “but you know a lot about me know. I feel embarrassment, I feel a little bit of shame, but I think that’s OK.”