Michael Richards says his struggles with anger stem from 'unwantedness,' being a result of sexual assault

"I have a temper, and it stems from that unwantedness," the former "Seinfeld" star said.

Michael Richards may be a funny man, but his origins are quite tragic.

He reveals in his new memoir, Entrances and Exits, out June 4, that he was conceived during his mother's sexual assault, in which he chalks up many of his anger issues of feeling unwanted since before his birth.

Richards' mother lied to him for years about his father, first telling him that his dad died in the war, before amending her story and saying he died in a car crash. In the late 1980s, Richards finally got his mother to admit that his father was still alive. He hired a private investigator and located a man with the name on his birth certificate — but it was obvious the man was not his father.

Related: Seinfeld star Michael Richards still doesn’t expect forgiveness for racist rant: ‘I’m not looking for a comeback’

This led Richards to confront his mother, who confessed that she had been raped and did not even know the name of the man responsible. She was only 26 years old at the time, and it was 1948, meaning abortion was both illegal and exceedingly dangerous. She did consider it, as well as adoption, and Richards writes in his memoir that she did not bring him home from the hospital following his birth. But she changed her mind and kept him, inventing a story about being a war widow and making up a name to put on the birth certificate.

<p>Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty</p> Michael Richards

Alberto Rodriguez/Variety via Getty

Michael Richards

"I had to come to terms with knowing I was unwanted or that my mother wanted to get rid of me," Richards told PEOPLE. "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. 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."

Richards also detailed how this inferiority complex seeped into his career, often leading him to turn down opportunities because of his low sense of self-worth. "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."

Related: Seinfeld star Michael Richards reveals cancer battle, 'probably would have been dead' in months without surgery

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Even with all the success and accolades of Seinfeld, Richards struggled to believe the adoration coming his way. In fact, he told PEOPLE the show's popularity and the ever-increasing stakes were overwhelming, only feeding his insecurity.

"I'd think, 'I don’t like myself as much as they like me,'" he noted. "'They wouldn’t like me if they knew the real me, the person behind the character that they’re laughing at.'"

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