updated 03/28/2011 AT 9:45 AM ET
•originally published 03/28/2011 AT 1:00 PM ET
Jesse James has been called a lot of things – chopper king, TV star, (very) bad boy – but nobody expected his latest title: author. With his memoir, American Outlaw, hitting stores May 3, James promises readers a raw and wild ride.
“I’ve lived a pretty crazy life,” James, 41, tells PEOPLE of his hardscrabble journey that spans a volatile upbringing, addiction struggles, failed marriages, artistic success and fame and the salvation of fatherhood.
“My life has been defined by many things and not just the events of the last year,” says James, whose marriage to Sandra Bullock ended in divorce last spring. “I just wanted [the memoir] to be a good story, a page-turner and hopefully people will see it as that.”
Something else he wanted? To get his real story out there. “People claim to know everything about me, when they actually know nothing,” he says. “But once you read this, you will know everything – the whole story, right here.”