Gary Glitter broke down in tears in court as he explained how financial problems and being in a "bad place" resulted in him downloading sexually explicit images of children.
The former glam rock singer, who is currently on trial accused of a string of child sex offences, told the court how he was "very sorry", after he was found to have 4,000 child pornography images on his laptop in 1997.
Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) was jailed for four months after police discovered the images after he dropped off his computer for repair at a PC World in Bristol.
The singer sobbed uncontrollably in Southwark Crown Court when admitting he subscribed to the websites, adding his financial problems, battle with drink and drugs and "curiosity" were to blame.
Glitter denies 10 charges relating to three girls between 1975 and 1980.
When asked by prosecutor John Price why he had the images, Glitter replied: "I was in a very bad place in myself at that time and I had a lot of serious decisions to make about my future."
He added that he had "invested £200,000" of his own money in his career, and he was starting to feel the pressure as the fans demanded new material. He previously co-wrote most of his most famous songs with producer Mike Leander, before his death in 1996.
He added: "So I was trying out different writers, I had invested the money in studio time. By the time I had taken my computer, to PC World, I then had other allegations now and also the lawyers' fees and lawyers' bills were tremendous and I had also missed my girlfriend who lived in Cuba. I couldn't get her out of Cuba."
Glitter then broke down in tears again and added: "I still can't get her out of Cuba."
Glitter told judge Alistair McCreath how his conviction for child pornography had been "devastating" for him.
He said: "I was drinking heavily, I was doing drugs, and the other thing of course is that I had to find this money to pay for the legal costs and studio, and I was asked by my management to seriously do the one thing which was absolutely terrible – which was to sell my songs. To sell my songs to Universal Pictures, and I regret it.
"I was just in a bad place. I went to prison, I came out. I was remorseful and I am remorseful. I am so sorry. It changed my life forever. I lost my honour, I lost my family."
He added he has "no interest in looking at this awful porn now" and previously doing so had "destroyed his life".
"It's destroyed my family's life and most likely it would have destroyed all those poor victims lives - I have total empathy for those poor children," he added.
Glitter denies all the charges against him.
The trial continues.