"I was attacking the guy, and he was justifiably furious with me," Stern says
Radio host Howard Stern is no stranger to controversy and has conducted thousands of interviews over the course of his decades-long career — but there are a few moments he looks back on with regret.
In his upcoming book, Howard Stern Comes Again, Stern details the one interview that he regrets to this day.
“Possibly my biggest regret was my interview with Robin Williams,” he writes of the late actor. “I was attacking the guy, and he was justifiably furious with me.”
“Years later, I realized I finally needed to apologize,” Stern continues. “It took me twenty years to work up the nerve. I was in the midst of tracking down his phone number, and the next day he died. I’m still filled with sadness over his loss and remorse for my failure to reach out sooner.”
Stern interviewed Williams back in the early 1990s, in the heyday of his notoriously lewd Howard Stern Show, and questioned the actor on his affair with his son’s nanny, Marsha Garces, whom he went on to marry.
Stern also touched on the interview while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I loved Robin Williams, but there I am beating him over the head with like, ‘Hey, I hear you’re f—ing your nanny?’ ” he recalled. “I could have had a great conversation, but I’m playing to the audience. They want to hear outrageousness, and that’s my arrogance thinking that Robin Williams can’t entertain my audience. How stupid am I?”
Stern previously expressed regret over the interview with Williams back in 2014, just one day after the actor died by suicide.
“I wasn’t rude with Robin Williams, but I asked some questions that perhaps went into areas that he had enough of,” he said on The Howard Stern Show at the time. “I think my whole demeanor and attitude was just s—y. I wasn’t trying to be mean to Robin Williams. I was just trying to be provocative and interesting for the audience, and doing what it is that I thought had to be done. And I was an immature a—hole. And so that always haunted me … and then I kind of filed it away and forgot about it.”
“This was a guy who should have been celebrated,” he admitted.
These days, Stern, 65, is focused on conducting more meaningful interviews on his SiriusXM radio show.
“You can only interview so many strippers,” he told THR. “[I] loved the idea that we’d go on the air and measure our penises or discuss vaginal secretions. Whatever it was, if it freaked you out, I loved it because, to me, it was not a big deal. But now I find it gross. And I’d feel really f—ing sh—y if I hadn’t evolved. I’d be completely out of step with the times.”
Stern’s new book hits shelves May 14.