On the most recent episode of David Letterman’s Netflix talk show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction that released Friday morning, Howard Stern, well known radio host and personality, opened up about his own life — including but not limited to his struggles with OCD, anger, and betraying the trust of friends and loved ones during a point in time when he claims to have been focused intensely on his career without giving enough attention to his personal life.
The Netflix show host first asked Stern to elaborate on a rumor that he had been removed from WNBC, a Washington, D.C. station where Stern had hosted a show until 1992, because of the report that he had called an airline that had just had a plane crash into the Potomac and asked “How much from Dulles to the bridge?”
Stern responded to this rumor by saying that, “It would be pure id, total honesty, and I had a lot of rage, and I was going to let that rage out … Which is great radio but really damaging to your personal life. You become a madman and that’s who I was,”
Stern admitted that he had left personal anxiety issues unaddressed for a very long time, furthering the notion that he continued to neglect himself and others in the interest of furthering his career.
According to his personal account, before work every day, Stern would spend one to two hours in a bathroom touching things: “I’ve come to understand that this behavior is trying to control the world that is under control,” he explained to Letterman.
The radio host also addressed his overall behavior to Letterman during this time in his life, which he said made him “ashamed.”
In 2011, Stern gave an appearance on Letterman’s previous CBS show, The Late Show, to apologize for behavior that included retelling Letterman’s private calls to him on air.
On My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the two hosts went into greater detail on the disagreement seven years ago, with Letterman stating, “I had to stop listening to your show early on because I heard myself being talked about in unflattering ways,”
The radio personality then retorted by explaining that he had heard from someone else that Letterman had said something derogatory about him, and so he began to bash the late-night host on air. Letterman joked from this that he was sure Stern had apologized to others.
Stern claims to attribute his change of mindset now to the positive affects psychotherapy had on his life, saying that, “I was just a young man full of rage,”
He added that “Through psychotherapy, I started to fall in love with life a little bit. I started to appreciate what was good. … one of those things was my relationship with you. I could appreciate what you had done for me. I had betrayed your trust, and I was ashamed. The reality was I loved you, and I really felt strongly about you.”
After dabbling in psychotherapy and altering his approach to speaking on the radio, and in life itself, Stern digressed that some listeners began to call him “soft,” but that aside from those few he believed he had been able to maintain the “honesty” that gave him the widespread fanbase he enjoyed throughout his career.