NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian David Letterman said on Monday his wife has been “horribly hurt” by revelations of his sexual affairs exposed in an extortion plot against him and he apologized to staff of his popular late-night talk show.
The host of “Late Show with David Letterman” said in the taping of his Monday show that he will try to patch things up with Regina, whom he married in March after dating for more than 20 years. The two have a 5-year-old son, Harry.
“She has been horribly hurt by my behavior, and when something happens like that, if you hurt a person and it’s your responsibility, you try to fix it,” Letterman told audiences, according to a statement from his company, Worldwide Pants.
“And at that point, there’s only two things that can happen: either you’re going to make some progress and get it fixed, or you’re going to fall short and perhaps not get it fixed, so let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me.”
He said he was “terribly sorry that I put the staff in that position. Inadvertently, I just wasn’t thinking ahead ... my thanks to the staff for, once again, putting up with something stupid I’ve gotten myself involved in.”
On Thursday, Letterman told audiences he had been victimized in an extortion plot by a man who threatened to write a screenplay or book about “all the terrible stuff” Letterman had done. The talk show host then admitted to having had sexual affairs with women employed by his show.
One day later, Robert “Joe” Halderman, a producer for CBS news program “48 Hours,” was indicted on a charge of grand larceny for seeking $2 million in hush money from Letterman. Halderman faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
On Monday, Halderman’s attorney Gerald Shargel took to U.S. morning talk shows to proclaim his client’s innocence and say that Letterman’s version of the story was only one side.
“David Letterman didn’t give his (Halderman’s) side of the story, David Letterman gave what he wanted the public to know,” Shargel said on NBC’s “Today” show.
“He wanted to get out ahead of the story, and that’s exactly what he did,” Shargel said of Letterman.
Shargel said it was unlikely that Halderman would have sought to extort Letterman by taking a $2 million check, because that is not how extortionists normally operate.
He declined to detail what may be his client’s defense, but added that the veteran journalist has reported on crime stories for years. “He knows all about cops and wiretaps. And to suggest that he was trapped in an extortion plot is preposterous,” the attorney said.
Shargel said he looked forward to questioning Letterman on the witness stand.
Court documents show Halderman owed an ex-wife $6,800 a month in child and spousal support, and authorities have said he is deep in debt.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Mohammad Zargham