Howard Stern embarked upon a publicity blitz this week to promote his upcoming book, Howard Stern Comes Again, which is all about his noticeable transformation into an refined on-air personality. This had led to a series of declarations, including which interview he enjoyed the most, but he’s also making amends. In an interview with the New York Times, the former shock jock reveals how he realized that he’d become the guy who grilled every porn star, just to do it. He also acknowledged that his past career included non-interviews of subjects, to whom he’d simply spurt offensive statements as a method, and Stern says that his kinder, gentler persona is much more authentic.
He appears to be genuine, which is really something. I do specifically recall Stern making grunting rhino noises at Heather Locklear while asking if that’s how she used the restroom, but he now reveals that he’s apologized to multiple people and has declined to re-air any of those interviews. When asked by David Marchese who those people are, Stern only mentioned one name:
Rosie O’Donnell. I was brutal, and at some point I realized how much I admired her. She’s a fabulous comic, she’s brilliant, and I began to develop a relationship with her. I said on the air that she’s brave, which was hard for me to do because I spent so many years bashing this woman. She had gone through so much [expletive], because when I go after someone, my audience goes with me. But we’ve developed this nice friendship, so I said to my guys that I don’t want to re-air me bashing Rosie.
Indeed, Stern’s “brutal” assessment of his behavior is accurate. Not only did he call O’Donnell “a fat pig,” but his constant attacks spurred on Stern fans to dig through her garbage and threaten her son’s life. Stern has admitted that Mia Farrow was the one who encouraged him to extend an olive branch, and he told the Hollywood Reporter that his attacks on O’Donnell weren’t personal but that he “lashed out at anyone and everyone whose career was prospering” because he couldn’t stand not being “at the center of the universe.”
Stern will also appear on this week’s CBS Sunday Morning (you can see a preview clip here) to discuss a serious health scare that made him realize that “I’m not Superman, I’m human.” That’s part of why he decided to become a changed man through therapy, and even though he’s been accused of acting too “Hollywood” these days, he sure seems like he’s more at peace.