Lewis Hamilton felt "very, very low" for "a long time" after being hit by a public backlash over comments he made about his nephew.
The 33-year-old racing driver came under fire in December for mocking his four-year-old family member for wearing a princess dress, prompting him to quickly delete the Instagram post and he's admitted he didn't think he would "make it through" the outrage.
He told GQ magazine: "A lot of the getting back up from the things I have experienced has been so tough that I didn't think I would make it through, particularly with [what happened]."
Asked if he was depressed, he added: "I mean ... It was a very, very low moment. I'll just say that. For a long time."
Though he has "regrets" about things he's done in the past, Lewis wouldn't change them as they've made him the person he is today.
He said: "I've been through quite a lot [of criticism]. Although there are things I regret in my life, I wouldn't go back and change them, because if I did I wouldn't be the man I am today. I wouldn't have the mindset I have today.
"I wouldn't have grown if I hadn't fallen and stumbled and gotten back up."
When he posted the video, Lewis insists he didn't realise it would upset people and removed it as soon as he saw comments that people were offended.
He said: "I still hold regret for it today but ultimately, I think it's important in life for people to be accountable for their actions and particularly their words and I was.
"I feel like it was the right thing.
"I was just at home with my family and I was joking around with my nephew.
"I didn't even realise what I'd done, in the loving environment that I was in.
"And as soon as I realised, I removed it. I was like, 'Oh my God, what have you done?' I got on my phone and started writing an apology because I'd seen a couple of comments.
"I'd never in a million years want people to think that I feel that way because I don't. One of my best friends is from the gay community."
And the sportsman couldn't be prouder of his nephew.
He said: "I love my nephew and I think it's such a powerful thing that, at four years old, he is so free. I really, really do.
"Damn it, when I was four years old, in the eighties, it wouldn't have been the same. I have zero problem with it."
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