How a photo shoot sabotaged Lisa Guerrero’s ‘MNF’ dream

Lisa Guerrero had heard the phrase time and time again: “You are the luckiest woman in sports.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth for the former “Monday Night Football” reporter.

In a new excerpt from her memoir, “Warrior: My Path to Being Brave,” Guerrero — who has been candid about the suicidal thoughts she endured following her trying season on the broadcast — detailed how the lead-up to her 2003 debut went off the rails in the wake of a photo shoot.

“I’d done a photo shoot for ‘FHM,’ a men’s lifestyle magazine, which was scheduled to run at the beginning of the football season,” the 58-year-old Guerrero shared in an excerpt published Wednesday by Sports Illustrated. “This had been a strategic decision to promote my brand and raise my profile while I was at ‘Best Damn’ (‘The Best Damn Sports Show Period’). But when the media got wind of the photos of me clad in black-and-white lingerie, it reinforced their notion that I’d been hired on ‘Monday Night Football’ for all the wrong reasons.”

Lisa Guerrero appears on the sidelines in September 2003.
Sporting News via Getty Images

Guerrero alleged when the Disney execs found out about the shoot, “they were irate,” and claimed that she “wasn’t the image they wanted for their family-friendly broadcast.” Guerrero also felt the “Monday Night Football” executives “really didn’t know what they wanted [her] to be.”

“They feigned shock over the photo shoot … yet after hearing about it, the publicity department tried to negotiate for me to be on the ‘FHM’ cover,” she wrote.

Further, Guerrero alleged that promotional photos for “Monday Night Football” had been altered to feature a look from her past.

FHM magazine projects images of "Monday Night Football" reporter Lisa Guerrero.
FHM magazine projects images of “Monday Night Football” reporter Lisa Guerrero.

“I posed in a powder-blue blazer next to Al [Michaels] and John [Madden]. Yet the photos that made the cut, including on a Times Square billboard, weren’t from that official ABC photo shoot. Instead, without my permission, they superimposed a photo — in which I wore a gold-sequined tube top and a come-hither look — that was taken from a modeling gig I had done years earlier,” she stated.

Guerrero spent one season on the “Monday Night Football” team before she was let go. During that season, in which she was subjected to an onslaught of media ridicule, Guerrero suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage.

“People who knew what was going on with [my boss] Freddie [Gaudelli] and who read how I was being treated in the media already looked at me with such pity,” Guerrero said in an excerpt published by People last week.

Lisa Guerrero
Lisa Guerrero

“I was a shell of myself. And I felt such shame and embarrassment that the last thing I was going to say is, ‘Oh, and by the way, I just had a miscarriage.’ Most of my best friends will learn about it by reading the book,” she continued, adding the harrowing ordeal “was a culmination of the entire season of negativity and cruelty.”

In a statement to The Post, Gaudelli responded to the alleged assessment of how he treated Guerrero.

“I always tried to be Lisa’s biggest advocate, starting from the moment that I hired her,” Gaudelli said. “Her memory of that season and mine are quite different. This is the first time I’m learning of her pregnancy, and I’m sorry that she struggled through that difficult time without the full support of the team surrounding her.

“I unequivocally disagree with Lisa’s account of the nature of my interactions with her. That’s not how I recall our time together during her tenure at MNF, and it makes me very sad.”

Lisa Guerrero steps out in February 2020.
Lisa Guerrero steps out in February 2020.
Getty Images

In the years since her “Monday Night Football” experience, Guerrero’s star has continued to rise. Now at “Inside Edition,” Guerrero told The Post in 2021 how much her current role means to her.

“I wake up and pinch myself every day,” she said at the time. “I can’t believe I get to chase bad guys every day for a living. I get to make a difference in people’s lives and I get to make change happen. I get to be a victim’s advocate.”

“Warrior” was released on Tuesday.