WASHINGTON • Comedian Kevin Hart enjoyed pretty good press last month as he was publicising his new book and calling on fellow celebrities to donate loads of cash to relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey. But now the megawatt spotlight is back on him and some unsavoury storylines.
Late Saturday, Hart, 38, posted a somewhat cryptic video on Instagram saying he "made a bad error in judgment and put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did".
He said he had apologised to his two children and his second wife, Eniko Parrish, who is pregnant with the couple's first child together.
"I simply got to do better, but I'm also not going to allow a person to have financial gain over my mistakes," Hart said. "In this particular situation, that's what was attempted, and I said I'd rather fess up to my mistakes."
A representative for Hart said in a statement to People magazine that "someone tried to set Kevin up in a failed extortion attempt".
Soon after Hart's video went live, TMZ.com was out with a report that "a woman has allegedly demanded money from Kevin" with a video showing him and a woman engaged in "sexually suggestive" conduct.
The outlet followed up with a report that said an anonymous person demanded millions of dollars in exchange for keeping the video private. But it wrote that it is unclear whether the woman in the video or another person made the alleged demand.
This all followed a summer when celebrity gossip sites ran stories about Hart possibly cheating on his pregnant wife.
When the rumours died down, Parrish posted a tribute to Hart on their first wedding anniversary in August, which then caused a mini-controversy. "I love you every day," she wrote. "8 years together... 1 year married... Forever to go!"
Hart co-parents his two children with his first wife, Torrei Hart. They separated in 2010 and divorced in 2011 - so Parrish's timeline caused a stir. Parrish, in now-deleted comments on Instagram, wrote that "their marriage was broken way before I came in the picture. They were separated, living in separate homes ".
Hart has publicly addressed his history of cheating. "I was young on my first marriage," he told talk-show host Chelsea Handler last year. "I got married at the age of 22... I didn't really understand the definition of marriage... I can say I messed my first marriage up. I'm man enough to say that."
He added: "At the same time, that was when I was in the prime of my sexy, so don't blame me. That's when I was figuring it out."