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Howard Stern Says Friendship With Bill Maher Is Dead Due to "Sexist" Comments

The controversial media personalities fell out over Maher's remarks about Stern's wife.

Howard Stern just made the end of his friendship with another host as public as possible—by announcing it on his show. On the Sept. 19 episode of The Howard Stern Show, Stern said that he and Bill Maher are no longer friends after Maher made comments about Stern's marriage that the radio host described as "sexist" and "nutty."

The two hosts have been at odds before, but they buried the hatchet when Maher appeared as a guest on Stern's show in 2019. Later that same year, Stern returned the behavior by coming on Real Time with Bill Maher, where the media personalities again explained how they had made up after years of feuding.

Read on to find out why Stern says that's all over now and what Maher said to upset him.

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Stern and Maher considered each other rivals for years.

Howard Stern and Bill Maher on "Real Time with Bill Maher" in 2019
Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube

Stern and Maher were in a feud of sorts for years, primarily based on them having similar jobs and being competitive with one other. In June 2019, Maher appeared on The Howard Stern Show for the first time in nearly two decades.

"I take full responsibility in us not getting along," Stern said. He added that he used to be entirely focused on ratings and not on his guests feeling comfortable. "Back in those days, look, we were both [expletives]. Isn't it nice that we're at this age now? Where we repair relationships," he explained.

Then, in October 2019, Stern went on Maher's show. "You know one of the great things about being this age, even though we are older—and the bad thing is, we'll be dead sooner— the fact that, when we were young, so many feuds, so many fights," Maher said to Stern (via ET Canada). "When you get to this age, it all seems stupid, and it's all about forgiveness and making up."

"I was at war with the world," Stern said. I was a guy who was very angry, and I was angry if anybody had a listener that wasn't mine. So I was competing with everyone, and it led to a lot of friendships that broke up."

Maher criticized Stern's personal life.

Now, four years after they publicly reconciled, Stern and Maher are feuding again. As reported by People, on the Sept. 19 episode of his show, Stern brought up comments that Maher made about him on a recent episode of his podcast, Club Random.

On the podcast, Maher criticized Stern for expressing his love for his wife of 15 years, Beth Ostrosky Stern, based on how Maher believes it must affect Stern's first wife, Alison Berns, to whom he was married from 1978 to 2001. The HBO host brought up his appearance on Stern's show, during which Stern asked him about not being married.

"He goes on about how much he loves his wife, Beth, which he has been doing on the air for, like, 10 years. But we know Howard had this other wife before Beth, so he's trying to make me seem like I'm the slightly immoral one because I won't settle down," Maher told guest Julian Lennon. "All I could think of is how does this gushing about the second wife, how does that make the first wife feel? Could we just not gush about the person while the other person still can hear it?"

Lennon commented that it would depend how one's first wife felt about the relationship ending. "Yeah, but I don't care. It's still gross. It's still mean in a way," Maher said.

Prior to weighing in on his marriage, the 67-year-old said of Stern, "I don't want to start a fight with him. We've finally repaired our relationship … and we're getting along great."

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Stern called Maher's comments "sexist."

Howard Stern and Beth Ostrosky Stern at the North Shore Animal League America's 2019 Annual Gala
Ron Adar / Shutterstock

On his show, Stern said that Maher's comments were sexist, because of the way they painted Berns.

"What a sexist thing to say! Like, what a convoluted, nutty thing to say," Stern said. "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."

He added that he doesn't see anything negative about how he talks about his partner. "He ought to shut his mouth!" Stern continued. "I mean, I don't think I come on the air every day and say, 'I love my wife.' But I thought it was a pretty positive message, to—especially with my audience—to say to guys: 'Instead of like ragging on our wives, how about talking about that we appreciate them and love them?'"

He said Maher didn't respond to his email.

Howard Stern at the "America's Got Talent" season 10 taping in 2015
Debby Wong / Shutterstock

Stern said that he wrote Maher an email and asked him to give him a call. "'Why don't you tell me what you think about my life and my marriage since you're, you know,'" the 69-year-old host said. "But of course, he never wrote me back. 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. I don't care, though. He can think what he wants." Stern concluded, "I think I'm no longer friends with him."

Best Life has reached out to a representative for Maher for comment.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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