Howard Stern has been in the news a lot this week thanks to his new memoir.
Of course, Stern has been one of the most visible figures in American media for close to 40 years now, but in his latest round of interviews, he's opening about matters he doesn't discuss publicly -- including his falling out with a troubled former friend.
If you've been following the sad story of Artie Lange, then you know that it's been mostly downhill for the beloved comic ever since he was fired from Stern's radio show over a decade ago.
Most recently, fans were stunned by reports that Lange was back in jail after failing a court-ordered drug test following several months of sobriety.
Of course, Lange's problems date back to well before his tenure on Stern's show, and it was the comic's substance abuse that prompted Howard to fire him.
“What’s happening with Artie makes me very sad. We’ve lost touch, and that’s my doing,” Stern told the New York Times this week.
“I got my fingers crossed for the guy. And it wasn’t a clean break.”
While Stern accepts responsibility for cutting off a close friend in his time of need, he insists he made a real effort to help Lange get clean.
“It was many years of wanting Artie to get help," the former shock jock said.
Stern also revealed that his reason for not discussing Lange's struggles more frequently is simple -- the topic makes him sad.
I know that a lot of fans want me to talk about Artie and feel it’s a cop-out for me not to. I’ll take that. I don’t want to do anything that would rock his boat,” he told the Times.
“I get sad talking about Artie. He was a tremendous contributor. But we had to move on.”
One show insider tells Radar Online that Lange's frequent relapses left Stern feeling that he couldn't be trusted:
“When Artie left, Howard kind of felt betrayed in a sense,” the source said.
“Like Artie had all of these opportunities and all of these chances, but he let his addiction get to him.”
The insider claims that Stern gave Lange countless chances before eventually reaching the difficult decision to cut him loose:
“He ruined every chance he got,” the insider added.
“Artie was digging his own grave, and Howard just couldn’t watch it happen anymore. He had no choice but to let him go.”
These days, Lange is out of jail and participating in a rehab program.
As fans know, it's certainly not the first time that Lange has been in treatment, but those who know the comic best say that he remains hopeful.
We wish him all the best.