The Cardiff-born player said: "If you judge me the way I am on the pitch then perhaps you are going to think I'm a bad person but that's superficial.
"At the end of the day I go home to a great wife and three lovely kids and that is what is important to me. This is a good move. I didn't want to come out of Liverpool, the team I supported as a kid, and have nothing else to aim for.
"I'm 28 now and I don't believe I'm at my peak yet. I want to have a right go now and just really put my name up there. People have known I can play but they've also been aware of the other stuff and sometimes that has overshadowed the football.
"I know now that will always be there, I'll always have that because of what has gone on before but now I want to cement my name, if you like, so that when West Ham fans look back they will say 'what a good player he was' and not anything else.
"I've made mistakes, of course I have, particularly as a young kid. These days though, it's a lot more difficult, the way the world is.
"I'm sure you can remember the time when the football journalists and the players went out together for a drink. Could that happen now? I doubt it.
"It's sad really because the way it's gone is not the way I want to see it. I've been involved in a bit but then so have others, including Wayne Rooney and even John Terry, who is England captain. It's the way of the world unfortunately."
This summer, he went to Sierra Leone to help spearhead a new football academy initiative in the troubled country. He intends to return with support, both financial and otherwise, from fellow professionals.