Carl Edwards said he "absolutely" disputes claims by Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard that the NASCAR driver was controlling and jealous during their yearlong relationship.
Edwards said Friday he was surprised by what his former girlfriend wrote in her 256-page memoir, including about a dozen pages about their time together.
"I don't know if I'm supposed to talk about the psychology of feelings and opinions when you have a relationship that doesn't work out, or if I'm supposed to talk about the strategies to sell books, or whatever," he said. "It's just weird. I don't even know how to address things that I don't even remember happening, so that's tough."
Beard, who became an Olympic gold medalist at 14, writes that she is now finally at peace as a happily married and proud mom. She wrote about years of struggling with depression, bulimia, drug abuse and toxic relationships before that.
"I didn't even realize that she had all those problems," Edwards said. "The hard part for me is to even talk about it because it just really caught me off guard. It's kind of sad in a way for me to read that. It made me feel a little bit sad for Amanda that she was going through all of that."
When someone told him "a long time ago" that Beard was going to write a book, Edwards said he thought, "Good for her, that's awesome."
He said any correspondence between the two since breaking up in 2006 had been good and that he considered them friends.
"I'm not going to bash her, I'm not going to say bad things about her because I didn't know all that stuff was going on," Edwards said.
Like Beard, Edwards has since married, in 2009 to Dr. Kate Downey. They have a 2-year daughter and 11-month-old son.
The 30-year-old swimmer who won seven Olympic medals is married to photographer Sacha Brown. They have a 2-year-old son.
"She's a mother, she's a wife, she's someone that I cared about," Edwards said. "Down the road, if she ever needs something from me, she's got it."