Ryan Lochte considered suicide after his dramatic story of an armed robber putting a cocked gun to his head during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio was proved false.
Swimmer Lochte made headlines when he claimed he and three of his United States team-mates - Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen - alleged they were robbed at gunpoint at a petrol station after attending a party.
The 32-year-old subsequently conceded he had "over-exaggerated" his story and apologised for his "immature behaviour", but he was charged with making a false statement and dropped by major sponsors.
Lochte claims the fallout from the scandal left him considering taking his own life.
"After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world," Lochte told ESPN the Magazine.
"There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking: 'If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.'
"I was about to hang up my entire life," Lochte said after nodding when asked to clarify if that meant he contemplated suicide.
He added: "You can be at the all-time high and then the next second the all-time low.
"I love being at the Olympics, but I'm the opposite of what you'd expect. It's been that way my whole life. I don't fit in."
Lochte took his tally of Olympic medals to 12 in Brazil last August but was suspended for 10 months by the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming.
His ban will be up at the end of June.