David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey cover a lot of predictable territory in the long-awaited interview set to air on “Oprah’s Next Chapter” this weekend on OWN.
But there’s one part of Letterman’s life that we know almost nothing about — his marriage and, more to the point, how his marriage was affected by the sex scandal that became public in 2009.
Letterman and his wife, Regina Lasko, had been together since 1986 when they finally married in March 2009.
But later that year, in October, he announced on his CBS “Late Show” that he was the target of an extortion plot related to at least one sexual relationship he had had with a female member of his show’s staff (and there were indications that he may have had affairs with more than one staffer too).
In this weekend’s interview — taped last November in Indiana — Winfrey got Dave to talk about the scandal and its aftermath, the first time he’s talked about it publicly since he announced it on his show.
“Dave, you [wanted] to get through your whole life and not have the words sex scandal attached to your name,” Winfrey says to him, according to OWN, which provided XfinityTV News with some excerpts of the interview on Wednesday.
“That’s right!” Letterman answers.
“You didn’t make it,” Oprah points out.
To which Letterman replies: “Did not make it. And, I have no one to blame but myself. And now, I feel better about myself, my relationship with my wife is never better, and it’s just because I want to be the person I always thought I was and probably was pretending I was. And so far, it’s been great. Things have been great. I hurt a lot of people. I have nobody to blame but myself. I’m not looking to blame anybody. I’m looking to find out why I behaved the way I behaved.”
Toward that goal, Letterman tells Oprah that he goes to therapy “regularly.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Letterman talks about his battle with depression, aspects of his career, and his relationship with Johnny Carson. And, as reported previously, he opens up about Jay Leno too — who he has known for at least 30 years. “Jay and I were friends,” Letterman says. “We were always friends before all of this happened [referring to the way they competed to take over "The Tonight Show" and then eventually became late-night rivals on different networks]. He’s an unusual fellow. I’ve never met anyone quite like Jay. And I will say and I’m happy to say that I think he is the funniest guy I’ve ever known. Just flat out, if you go to see him do his night club act, just the funniest, the smartest, a wonderful observationist and very appealing as a comic. Therefore, the fact that he is also maybe the most insecure person I have ever known, I could never reconcile that.”
Oprah got Dave to sit down for the interview when the two appeared together on stage at his alma mater, Ball State University, in Muncie, Ind. It’s a rare interview for Letterman, but he was also interviewed just last month by Charlie Rose, for “CBS This Morning,” just a few days before “The Kennedy Center Honors” aired on CBS — with Letterman as one of this year’s honorees.
Dave’s sudden, higher profile is well-timed: He’s about to get a new competitor at 11:35 p.m. weeknights — Jimmy Kimmel, whose ABC show moves into the time slot next Tuesday (Jan. 8).
“Oprah’s Next Chapter” with David Letterman airs Sunday, Jan. 6, at 9/8c on OWN.