It has since been revealed that Ramsey was convicted of domestic abuse years ago for beating his wife, and served time in prison. Since being released in 2003, he said he has tried to reform and has had no further trouble with the law. He and his wife have since divorced.
"No more stupidity," Ramsey told "Nightline." "She deserved better."
But in the case of helping free four captives Monday, "hero" is a title Ramsey only accepts reluctantly.
"In their heart, I'm a hero from the streets and from just living off this great land of ours," he said. "I only did what I had to do."
As for the $25,000 reward police promised for the girls' safe return, Ramsey said it should go to the three kidnap victims, especially Amanda Berry, who on Monday took the absence of her alleged tormentor as an opportunity to scream for help.
"All you got to do is make that check out to Amanda Berry," he said, "You make them out to Gina DeJesus. What else you got? You go give that to Michelle."
ABC News' Russell Goldman and Leezel Tanglao contributed to this report.