“Seinfeld”'s Michael Richards Says 'Anger Had a Hold of Me' Ahead of 'Exodus' from Hollywood: 'I Canceled Myself Out'

Richards said he needed to "get away from show business and see what the heck was going on inside" after his "racist rant" at a stand-up show in 2006

<p>Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty</p> Michael Richards

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty

Michael Richards

Michael Richards is sharing where he stands after being out of the public eye for 18 years.

In a rare TV interview, the Seinfeld alum, 74, sat down with Hoda Kotb on Today to discuss his new memoir Entrances and Exists, which was released on June 4.

Reflecting on his 2006 "racist rant" at the Los Angeles Laugh Factory, Richards said he had to take himself out of the spotlight to work on himself.

“Anger had a hold of me, and I canceled myself out,” he said. “Take an exodus. Get away from show business and see what the heck was going on inside of me to be so despicable that night, losing my cool and hurting.”

Related: Seinfeld's Michael Richards Says Racist Laugh Factory Rant Made Him Face His Insecurities: 'The Damage Was Inside of Me' (Exclusive)

Just two weeks after his exclusive cover story with PEOPLE, where he admitted “the damage was inside me,” Richards told Kotb that he is finally able to forgive himself.

“I have to move on, be very true-blue about that,” he said.

<p>NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty</p> (Left to right) Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld

NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

(Left to right) Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld

In 2018, Richards was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He told PEOPLE that he was going to die within eight months until he received life-saving surgery. Speaking to Kotb, he said it was then that he took an even deeper look at his past.

“I made it — I beat it — and that certainly motivated me to get into the book because I went through a big review of my life,” the actor explained.

In the past, he also never watched himself on Seinfeld because he was too critical of his performance. When his son Antonio was 9-years-old, he said they finally watched the series all the way through.

“I'm his dad and I’m kinda kooky around the house, so for him to see all that on television, the comedy of the show, was pretty amazing,” he admitted, going on to note that Antonio’s favorite character was Newman, played by Wayne Knight.

Related: Seinfeld's Michael Richards Reveals Prostate Cancer Battle: 'I Would Have Been Dead in 8 Months' Without Surgery (Exclusive)

Now that he is ready to return to the public, Richards said he hopes people can see that “I’m human” and “striving to be a better person.”

“There's a good, bad and an ugly,” he said, later adding: “The entrances and the exits — always ongoing, a coming and a going.”

He continued, “Just discovering myself along the way, it's really a pleasure. It's hard work though, in dealing with the living and the dying.”

<p>Allen Berezovsky/WireImage</p> Michael Richards

Allen Berezovsky/WireImage

Michael Richards

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

In his cover story with PEOPLE, Richards opened up about the root of his anger that prompted the 2006 outburst, explaining that he found out he was conceived as the result of a sexual assault, and his mother initially put him up for adoption before changing her mind.

“It is definitely something that I have had to look into over the years to discover how my anger arises out of a feeling of inferiority,” he said. “I have a temper, and it stems from that unwantedness, not being acceptable, not being understood, not being good enough to be liked or even loved.”

Related: Michael Richards Recalls Learning He Was the Result of a Sexual Assault: 'I Had to Come to Terms with My Conception' (Exclusive)

When he entered the acting industry, he confessed that his insecurities caused him to turn down major opportunities.

“I said no to the offer of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I didn’t feel deserving,” he said. “I said no to hosting Saturday Night Live twice because I didn’t feel good enough.”

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.