Stephen Collins, former star of the long-running family drama 7th Heaven, spoke to Yahoo’s Katie Couric about his past inappropriate behavior with underage girls in an interview posted online Friday.
In the interview, Couric was frank, opening up with one bold question.
“Are you a pedophile?” she asked.
“I do not fit either the clinical or dictionary definition of it,” Collins responded. A pedophile is someone who is mainly or wholly attracted to children. I’m not,” he finished.
He went on to say he had a “distortion” in his thinking, but was “absolutely not” physically or sexually attracted to young children.
Couric asked the actor if he was ever attracted to children.
I remember talking about this once with a therapist and the therapist assuring me these incidents were such that.
Someone with that attraction would’ve acted many more times.
They were terrible, and I regret them deeply, but I don’t look at young women that way and I never did.
That may sound incongruence with those actions, but those actions I think had more to do with that distortion in my thinking and need for attention—it was not a desire to be in any way in sexual conduct with them.
He went on to cite an incident in 1973 in which, he says, the physical contact that took place with an underage girl ended any potential attraction he may have had toward young girls.
Couric also pressed Collins about reports that he’s been attracted to young boys in addition to girls.
“The answer is no,” he responded, stating the accusation was made up by his wife. “It too leaves me speechless.”
Collins explained his actions, which included forcing young pre-teen girls to touch his private parts.
I think I’m someone who gave in to exhibitionistic urges, someone who had big boundary issues as a young man, and beyond that to an extent,” he said.
Collins interviewed with People Magazine Wednesday, and admitted to inappropriate behavior:
Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since. I’ve decided to address these issues publicly because two months ago, various news organizations published a recording made by my then-wife, Faye Grant, during a confidential marriage therapy session in January 2012. This session was recorded without the therapist’s or my knowledge or consent.
7thHeaven ran for 11 seasons, and cast Collins as a devoted pastor and family man.
Couric’s full interview with Collins is scheduled to air on ABC’s 20/20 Friday night.