Host tell the audience he is 'terribly sorry'

Returning to late night after a weekend of bruising headlines, David Letterman on Monday again addressed the revelations that he’d been sexually involved with staffers.

Noting the firestorm that had come after Letterman revealed the news on Thursday’s “Late Show,” the host told his audience that he was “terribly sorry that I put the staff in that position. Inadvertently, I just wasn’t thinking ahead.”

Addressing his wife, Regina Lasko, Letterman said she had been “horribly hurt by my behavior.”

Said Letterman, “When something happens like that, if you hurt a person and it’s your responsibility, you try to fix it. And at that point, there’s only two things that can happen. Either you’re going to make some progress and get it fixed, or you’re going to fall short and perhaps not get it fixed.

“So let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me,” he added.

Opening Monday night’s show, Letterman quipped, “Did your weekend just fly by?”

Then, referencing South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s recent sex scandal, Letterman joked, “I’ll be honest with you folks, right now I’d give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail.”

At that point, an audience member shouted out, “We love you, Dave.”

In one more nervous joke, Letterman added, “I get into the car this morning and the navigation lady wasn’t speaking to me.”

Letterman first revealed the relationships after an alleged extortion attempt by “48 Hours” producer Robert “Joe” Halderman, who’s accused of demanding $2 million to keep quiet. Halderman pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $200,000 bail.

Halderman once lived with “Late Show” staffer Stephanie Birkitt, who’s rumored to have had a relationship with Letterman prior to the host’s marriage to Lasko.

Letterman said the “Late Show” staff had been “wonderfully supportive to me, not just through this furor, but through all the years that we’ve been on television… my thanks to the staff for, once again, putting up with something stupid I’ve gotten myself involved in.”

It’s been a roller-coaster year for Letterman, who was blasted by Republicans earlier this year for a Sarah Palin joke but who also just celebrated his 5,000th episode in late night (via both NBC and CBS) and, more recently, began beating “The Tonight Show” in the ratings.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more