Kiss singer Paul Stanley says he was drawn to fame because of a birth defect.
During a conversation with Dan Rather on The Big Interview, set to air April 23, Stanley said he pursued fame to compensate for his insecurities.
"I had what's called a microtia, which is basically not having an ear," he told Rather. "I wasn't very socially adept, and when you have something physical that sets you apart from people, it makes you the target of unrelenting scrutiny and sometimes ridicule."
Microtia is a birth defect of a baby's ear that happens when the external ear is small and not formed properly, according to the CDC. It usually affects how the ear looks, but not the ability to hear, though Stanley said he was born deaf on his left side.
Researchers have a hard time estimating how many babies in the US are affected since there are varying severities of the condition, according to the CDC, but recent birth defects tracking systems have estimated that microtia occurs in less than 1 in 10,000 live births to about 5 in 10,000 live births.
The musician said his success with Kiss and subsequent rise to fame was "a way to push it in people's faces and say, 'You see, you should have been nice to me!'" Ultimately, he found that being famous didn't solve all of his problems or change anything.
"At that point in your life when you become famous it's either a disappointment because it's not a remedy, and you either put a needle in your arm, a gun in your mouth or you live life as a victim, and I'm not cut out for that," he said.
This realization led him to turn to "self-exploration" and working becoming a better person.
"I was blessed to be a part of an idea to become the band we never saw, and that led me on a course that I'm still on today. Where it's taking me, God only knows," he told Rather.
Stanley and the rest of Kiss kicked off a three-year farewell tour, "KISS End of the Road World Tour," earlier this year.
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