“I’D like to thank The ENQUIRER for getting me back together with my father again.”
In an amazingly candid exclusive interview, Wesley Chapman, 33, the son of TV “Bounty Hunter” Duane “Dog” Chapman, revealed how a shocking ENQUIRER expose of his father helped them to reunite after more than two decades.
But he confesses that the reunion with his famous dad hasn’t been easy.
WESLEY – the son of DOG and the second of his five wives, Anne Tegnell, said he had not seen his dad since he was just 1 year old – and Wesley said his mom put him into a children’s hospital for an extended stay when he was 6, and he wound up being raised by his maternal grandmother.
But everything changed in 2007 when we ran a bombshell exclusive revealing Dog’s racist rants on a taped phone conversation. The bounty hunter’s repeated use of the N-word led TV sponsors to drop him, and A&E pulled the plug on his show for four months.
“All of a sudden, my dad was everywhere, on every magazine cover and TV channel,” Wesley told The ENQUIRER.
“I realized then that I needed to find out about him. Am I like my dad or not?”
At the age of 27, Wesley caught up with Dog at a Los Angeles toy drive.
“We got into an elevator, looked at each other and said, ‘Hello,’” recalled Wesley. “He looked at (his fifth wife) Beth and said, ‘He’s my son.’
“That was it.”
Wesley said he hadn’t even known who his biological father was until he was 11. After divorcing Dog, his mother married a man who Wesley claims made his life miserable. He said he became suicidal and began lashing out.
But Wesley, now engaged to Jodie Jensen, overcame his stormy childhood and is a successful marketing entrepreneur and motivational expert based in California. He also has two children – daughter Chloe, 8, and 4-year-old son Peyton.
While Wesley appeared on three episodes of Dog’s now-canceled TV show, he intends to keep his dad’s family at arm’s length.
“Their family is a real dysfunctional mess,” he said. “It’s not the ideal Hollywood story – meeting your dad and everything’s better.
“I am the oddball in the Chapman family. I’m not a drinker or drug user. I never had to fight either of those addictions. I don’t think my dad realizes what his demons are.”
Still, Wesley seems to cherish his budding relationship with his dad.
“He’s done some really nice things for me,” said Wesley. “There are times when we don’t hear from him for six months, but he never forgets birthdays and is always texting and calling on the holidays.
“I’m hoping that someday, when the dust settles, my dad can just be my dad and not have that ‘Bounty Hunter’ persona get in the way.”