Sarah Ferguson tells Oprah gross stupidity led to sting

Tue Jun 1, 2010 2:22pm EDT
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By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Britain's Sarah Ferguson said her own self-hatred, mounting debts and "gross stupidity" led her to fall for a videotaped sting by a journalist in which she appeared to offer to sell access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew.

"I've been a huge overtrusting, idiotic, stupid woman that went to look for the perfect situation, and that's all I can say really," the Duchess of York told Chicago-based talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Ferguson's appearance, aired on Tuesday, was her first interview since the video was posted on the website of the British tabloid News of the World last month and she used "The Oprah Winfrey Show" as many have done before -- to chastise herself very publicly for her actions.

In the video, played to Ferguson during her interview, Ferguson appears to ask for and accept $40,000 in cash in exchange for access to the prince, although she says that Andrew himself would never accept payment for access.

Then she asks for another 500,000 pounds ($735,000) -- what she told Winfrey was a "a long shot" and an amount she pulled "out of the sky."

"Poor love, I feel sorry for her. I feel really sorry for her. Sad, really," Ferguson, her eyes rimmed red, said while the tape played.

"You look at the devil in the face, which you do. Then you forgive, and you say, 'OK, I've made almost a mistake that will never be forgotten,' and forgive," added Ferguson, who is widely known as "Fergie."

The sting caused major embarrassment for the 50-year-old Ferguson. Her ex-husband the Duke of York, who is the second son of Queen Elizabeth and fourth in line to the throne, acts as Britain's special representative for international trade and investment. Ferguson apologized for her "serious lapse in judgment" in a statement after the sting video was posted on May 23.   Continued...

<p>Sarah Ferguson, Britain's Duchess of York, speaks during the opening ceremonies of the BookExpo America in New York May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>