Stephen Collins isn’t going into hiding, even after a leaked audio recording of him admitting to inappropriate sexual conduct with underage girls was released. In response to the sexual abuse allegations, and in effort to tell his side of the story, the 67-year-old former "7th Heaven" actor recently published a personal statement via People magazine and sat down for an in-depth interview with Yahoo! Global News anchor Katie Couric.
Collins' recent media appearances come three months after a 2012 audio recording of him confessing to having sexual encounters with underage females close to 40 years ago was leaked. The recording took place during a private marriage counseling session with his then-wife, actress Faye Grant. In his exclusive statement to People Wednesday, he said the recording was made without his or the therapist's consent.
"On the recording, I described events that took place 20, 32 and 40 years ago," the TV actor wrote. "The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred. As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth."
Collins, who is best known for playing the morally upright Rev. Eric Camden on the long-running family show, sat down with Couric for an exclusive interview that will be posted to Yahoo and air on ABC’s "20/20" Friday. Until then, a few clips from the deeply personal interview have been shared online. In them, Collins addresses the incidents head on, and provides detail as to what he claims happened during his transgressions.
“In 1973 there were two occasions when I exposed myself to this young woman and, several months later she came to visit and stay with us. ... With my first wife and me,” Collins says. “My wife had gone to sleep and she and I were watching TV alone together. I took her hand and moved it in such a way that she was touching me inappropriately. I … There was no … neither of us really moved. Neither of us moved and I knew immediately, at that point, I knew that something unthinkably wrong had just happened that I couldn’t take back.”
The previews for the interview also show Collins explaining how he dealt with his issues, which he claims have not affected him for more than 20 years, in private. “I had put that stuff behind me,” Collins told Couric. “Most people get to, or have to or choose to hide it. This came out. I didn’t choose this to come out. I didn’t want to have to deal with these things publicly.”
Thanks to a combination of therapy and religion, Collins says he has already dealt with his issues, which only recently came to light, years ago. “I had dealt with them very, very strongly, and committedly, in my private life. But I think, I’m a human being with flaws and I’ve done everything to address it," he says.
Collins’ full interview will air on Friday, Dec. 19, at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. The issue of People magazine featuring his full statement also hits newsstands Friday.