The shock jock and the cable TV provocateur have hit the skids.
"The guys played me a clip from Bill Maher's new podcast, and he was actually dumping on me," Stern explained.
For a long time, the two were not on good terms, but they eventually set aside their differences and Stern appeared on Maher's long-running HBO show. "I haven't spoken to Bill Maher in so long," Stern said. "I had years when I didn't talk to him when we were not friends. I did the show as a favor to him because we were repairing a relationship."
But that apparently didn't prevent Stern from being a target of Maher's criticism. Stern described the podcast segment, in which Maher was joined by guest Julian Lennon. "He took a big shot at me," Stern said. "Basically, he says, 'Howard Stern always gets on the radio and says he loves his wife.' I've never been criticized for this. He goes, 'Haven't we had enough of that? What about his first wife? I feel really bad for her.'"
Kevin Mazur/Getty; Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images Bill Maher and Howard Stern
Stern has been married to Beth Ostrosky Stern since 2008. He was previously married to Alison Berns, from 1978 to 2000. And Stern didn't appreciate what Maher insinuated about his marriages and his divorce. "What a sexist thing to say. What a convoluted, nutty thing to say," he groused. "He says it must hurt [Berns'] feelings that I'm in love with a different woman. It's assuming that he knows something about my first marriage. That of course the man must be leaving the woman and the woman must be devastated and be sitting around pining away for her famous man."
For his part, Stern is proud of his public affection for his wife, hoping it sends a message to his listeners. "I don't think I come on the air every day and say I love my wife," he added. "But I thought it was a pretty positive message, especially with my audience, to say to guys, 'Instead of ragging on our wives, how about talking how we appreciate and love them?'"
Stern also said he emailed Maher seeking an explanation. "I wrote in an email, I said, 'Why don't you give me a phone call? Why don't you tell me what you think about my life and my marriage?' But of course he never wrote me back," he said. "I just wanted to see how brave he was. If he was brave enough to call me and actually get on the phone with me, and zero response."
Representatives for Maher didn't immediately respond to EW's request for comment Wednesday.
In Stern's eyes, this marks the end of their friendship. Particularly because Stern felt he did Maher a favor by going on Real Time. "I think I'm no longer friends with him," he reflected. "I went out of my way to do that show. I don't like doing TV shows."
Stern also made a remark referencing Maher's recent back-and-forth on restarting his show amid the Hollywood writers' strike. Maher had announced plans for Real Time to return to air in spite of the strike, thus opening the door to "scab" labor and flouting the requests of union leadership. But in the wake of other talk shows, including The Drew Barrymore Show, postponing their returns, Maher followed suit, citing negotiations resuming between writers and the studios.
"This is what happens when Bill doesn't have writers," Stern quipped. "He just goes on a ramble about somebody's life that he doesn't know. But who cares in the end?"
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