The 7th Heaven actor, 67, publicly admitted to sexually abusing young girls for the first time this week since the scandal first broke in October. "In 1973, there were two occasions when I exposed myself to this young woman," he told Couric. "Several months later, she came to visit and stay with us, with my first wife [Marjorie Weinman] and me. My wife had gone to sleep, and she and I were watching TV alone together… I knew that something unthinkably wrong had just happened that I couldn’t take back."
During his sit-down, Collins confessed to exposing himself to teenage girls in 1982 and to another in 1994.
In his interview Friday, the actor revealed that he battles "exhibitionist urges" and "big boundary issues." Collins also clarified whether he would describe himself as a pedophile.
"A pedophile is someone who is mainly or wholly attracted to children," the actor explained. "I'm not. I had a distortion in my thinking where I acted out in those ways. But I'm absolutely not attracted, physically or sexually attracted to children. I'm just not"
He also revealed how his childhood may have impacted his behavior with the girls.
"I did have someone in my life when I was between the age of about 10 and 15, an older woman, who repeatedly exposed herself to me," Collins told Couric, adding that it was still his problem. "I did these things because, for whatever reasons — and I tried very hard in the last 20 years to understand. I did them. I'm not saying, you know, this woman did this, and therefore I did it."
This past October, TMZ published a 2012 audio recording of Collins confessing his dark secrets to his therapist during a counseling session with his estranged wife Faye Grant — a recording the actor claims was done without his or the therapist's permission.
"I kind of went into shock," Collins, who's been in treatment for the last 20 years, recalled of his wife's betrayal. "And she said here’s our settlement. You’re going to sign it now, or this recording is going to find its way into the media." (Grant, however, has adamantly denied her role in leaking the recording to TMZ.)
Collins — a father of one — added that he is incredibly sorry to the victims, and said he reached out to one victim. He's been advised against reaching out to the others.
Watch Couric's full interview with Collins on 20/20, Friday, Dec. 19, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
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