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Michael Phelps is speaking up about that infamous photo of him "allegedly" smoking marijuana.

In an interview with The Today Show‘s Matt Lauer airing March 13 and March 15, Phelps admits that what he did was "bad judgement" and "a mistake."

"It was– really, you know, the people I hurt, you know, is my family, clearly. My friends," he says.  "The close people around me.  And  most importantly, the fans.  And– and, you know, I realize that that hurt a lot of people."

When asked to recall the events leading up to the photo being taken Phelps says, "I mean, we were just celebrating, honestly.  And– you know, there was probably two or three people there I didn’t know.  It was a very small group.  Six or seven people probably total in the whole house.  Like nothing major.  You know, not like a giant college house party.  It was nothing like that.  It was just a small group and we were just sitting around and celebrating."

MORE PICS OF MICHAEL PHELPS:
<a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/pixandvids/gallery/8368/1&quot; target="_blank"><img src="http://d-images.okmagazine.com/img/photos/large/14585.gif&quot; width="74" height="100"/></a> <a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/pixandvids/gallery/8368/2&quot; target="_blank"><img src="http://d-images.okmagazine.com/img/photos/large/14584.gif&quot; width="74" height="100"/></a> <a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/pixandvids/gallery/8368/3&quot; target="_blank"><img src="http://d-images.okmagazine.com/img/photos/large/14583.gif&quot; width="74" height="100"/></a> <a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/pixandvids/gallery/8368/4&quot; target="_blank"><img src="http://d-images.okmagazine.com/img/photos/large/14582.gif&quot; width="74" height="100"/></a> <a href="http://www.okmagazine.com/pixandvids/gallery/8368/5&quot; target="_blank"><img src="http://d-images.okmagazine.com/img/photos/large/14581.gif&quot; width="74" height="100"/></a>

Phelps says he found out about the photo around the same time that the rest of America did. But he explains that while he knows he made a mistake, it wasn’t the handful of lost endorsements that first caused him the biggest worry.

"It’s not about money to me.  So, you know, the — the contract side of things, yeah, I was disappointed," he says. "But, you know, I think the biggest thing is– is who I hurt the most.  Like, if I lost money, okay.  It’s not an issue with me."

In the age of camera phones and the readily accessible internet, did Michael ever think that maybe someone at the party might snap a picture and take advantage of the situation?

"I trusted my friends who were there about who they were," he says. "And clearly they weren’t trusted people… Sometimes you learn the hard way."

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