Letterman also offered a mea culpa to his staff in the show aired late on Monday. He said they had been “wonderfully supportive” since the furore over his trysts and a $2 million blackmail attempt erupted.
The 62-year-old comic made his apology in the first show taped since his admission on Thursday that he had sex with co-workers and had been the target of an extortion attempt.
Letterman said he will need to work hard to patch up the relationship with his wife, Regina Lasko, whom he married in March, 16 years after they started dating. The couple have a son.
“Now the other thing is my wife, Regina. She has been horribly hurt by my behaviour, and when something happens like that, if you hurt a person and it’s your responsibility, you try to fix it,” Letterman said. “Let me tell you folks, I’ve got my work cut out for me.”
Letterman has become a central target for American newspapers, cable news and entertainment media. But he tried to maintain his humour in the latest appearance.
“I mean, I’ll be honest with you folks,” he said. “Right now, I would give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail. I got in the car this morning, and the navigation lady wasn’t speaking to me.”
CBS producer Robert Halderman, 51, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first degree attempted grand larceny and reportedly has been suspended from his job.
On Monday Letterman apologised for putting his staff in an uncomfortable position with the revelations. “I’d just like to set the record straight: No, I’m not having sex with these women. Those episodes are in the past,” Letterman said. The revelation led to a surge of on-air expostulating on cable television about his behaviour with staff, the occasionally flippant tone he used on Thursday, and the potential ratings boon he could make.