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‘COVID Made Me Cuckoo’: Howard Stern Argues With Wife On Air About Traveling Amid Spread of New Virus Strain

Longtime listeners accused the radio host of ‘acting crazy,’ guilt tripping his wife, and jeopardizing his marriage

Legendary broadcaster Howard Stern had a prolonged argument with his wife during this morning’s broadcast over her travel plans despite the radio host’s concerns over COVID.

The Sirius XM host began his Sept. 6 broadcast by expressing his apprehension over the upcoming travel plans of his wife, Beth.

“My wife has a whole agenda every day with people and parties indoors and stuff. … and we’re back to doing stuff,” Stern said. “I’m nervous about it, but OK, we’re back to doing stuff. So then Beth says, ‘Hey, I got invited to something Saturday night.” … and I say to her, ‘We’re gonna get COVID.’”

When Beth, 51, joined her 69-year-old husband on air, she accused him of having a negative reaction to her making plans without him.

“You immediately have to ruin it for me — ‘We’re gonna get COVID.’ That’s an attack,” she said. “I was so mad at you I wanted to strangle you. Right now, I love you so much, [but] I’m so mad at you. You’re so cute. He makes me so mad. … I’m still mad at you.”

Howard claimed that hospitalizations are up and expressed further concern over the new BA.2.86 strain of the virus for which he has not been vaccinated.

“This is big risk, guys,” he said. “She’s going to an opening of a show.”

Beth said she would wear a mask and then quarantine in a separate room for several days upon return.

Howard countered that his wife had never quarantined in the past despite her assurance she would do so.

Then, at her husband’s urging, Beth Stern recalled how she recently said she wanted to visit Paris with a few of her friends.

“The whole energy changed, it shifted,” she said regarding her husband’s reaction. “There was just this wall of anger, spewing.”

“It’s just, everything is crazy right now,” Howard Stern said. “Crazy.”

At that point, co-host Robin Quivers interjected by telling Howard, “No, everything is not crazy. You’re crazy.”

Beth said that any time she goes to an event with Howard — who left his home for the first time in two years last October — he says, “We’re gonna get COVID.”

“So what, let me say it,” he said. “I’m telling you I’m scared.”

Beth reminded her husband they are both vaccinated and boosted.

“But Dr. [David] Agus said I have to get the new COVID vaccine,” he said.

“Well, get it when it comes out, I don’t know what to tell you,” Beth said.

“Oh, now I’m the enemy,” Howard replied.

He added: “I’m a guy who’s really scared of COVID. I can’t explain it rationally. And sometimes I stress out, but listen, I’m not gonna say anything anymore.”

“I said if I get COVID, I get COVID,” Beth said. “It’s gonna happen eventually. I wanna get it now so I’m free when I go to Paris.”

“Oh my God,” the radio host responded. “When I get sick, it’s gonna like be the worst sickness ever. … I’ll see you guys in the next life. That’s all. Bye.

To Howard’s palpable chagrin, Quivers accused her broadcasting partner of over four decades of having an addiction to his wife.

“It’s not ‘I love being with you,’ [it’s] ‘I need to be with you. And you can’t leave, and you can’t go to Paris for four days. You can’t have a good time without me,’” she said.

“I didn’t say that,” Howard said.

“That’s basically what you’re saying,” Quivers continued. “Instead of dealing with yourself, you want Beth to deal with your anxiety.”

Howard addressed his wife:

I love you. I love our life together. And it’s true. I have always been germaphobic. I am very afraid of diseases. You know that. It got worse during the pandemic. I was never bad, you and I went everywhere. We never worried about getting a cold or getting sick. But COVID made me cuckoo. And so I’m nervous. … I never said to you don’t go somewhere. I’m not a controlling husband.

Beth replied: “No, but you make me feel horrible.”

“I don’t,” Howard said. “I just say I’m nervous about COVID. That’s what the whole world is debating. Why are you pinning this on me?”

“This is boring for people,” his wife replied. “This is horrible.”

At that point, Quivers suggested there was no resolution in sight because the radio host is always going to have this level anxiety.

“I’m upset. … I have a knot in my stomach,” Beth interjected.

When Howard asked listeners to weigh in, longtime caller Mariann from Brooklyn told the radio host he was “acting crazy with COVID” and reprimanded him for putting “a guilt trip” on his wife.

“I love this woman so much,” Howard retorted. “I only want her happiness and she knows that. When I say I’m nervous about COVID, I’m just looking for someone to say to me it’s gonna be alright.”

Then, Howard’s sister, Ellen Dunn, called in to say her husband got COVID the day before, thwarting a trip they had planned overseas.

“He’s pretty sick,” Dunn said.

“Thank you,” Howard replied.

“I just wanted you guys to know and to be really careful out there,” Dunn said. “Everybody makes fun of you, but you’re right.”

Howard advised his sister to stay away from her husband for five days, wear a mask, open a window, or possibly consider getting a hotel room.

When actor Michael Rapaport called in, he told Howard “it is time to cut the f—— s— … we’ve heard you drone on, and I say this with love and respect.”

He claimed one of the host’s staff members, JD, “pissed that COVID out like it was nothing” despite, according to Rapaport, his poor health.

“I have all kinds of bronchial problems,” Rapaport continued. “I’ve had COVID, I’m about to walk through Central Park … enough with the bulls— … You’re not fine. Your marriage is in jeopardy. … We resent you.”

“Enough with him,” Howard said, ending the call. “I don’t need a lecture from Michael Rapaport.”

In an apparent attempt to put the conflict to rest, Howard told his wife, “Honey, I love you. … I want you to have a great time, but I am nervous, and that’s all I’m saying. I am nervous.”

“Honey, everything is going to be OK,” Beth said.

“It’s not gonna be OK and we gotta brace ourselves for the illness that is coming,” her husband said.

“Wait a minute, you just said you wanted somebody to just say it’s gonna be OK,” Quivers interjected. “The moment she says it’s OK, you go, It’s not OK.”

“Well, she didn’t know what she’s talking about,” Howard said. “She told me and it didn’t work.”

Beth said she would wear a double mask in their home for five days after returning from her travels.

“If it was up to me, anyone unvaccinated would not be admitted to a hospital. At this point, they have been given plenty of opportunity to get the vaccine,” Howard said during a Jan. 19, 2022 broadcast, per Variety. “[People] have been told you will die if you get the vaccine. Some of you will live, but most of you will die. [These people] don’t trust our government. They think that there’s some conspiracy to turn them into a magnet or something like this. They think they are going to become magnetized if they take the vaccine. I’ve taken this vaccine three times, and the worst side effect is for a day, I had a little bit of a headache.”

During a broadcast in September 2021, the radio host advocated for compulsory vaccination.

“When are we gonna stop putting up with the idiots in this country and just say it’s mandatory to get vaccinated? F— ’em. F— their freedom,” he said. “I want my freedom to live. I want to get out of the house already. I want to go next door and play chess. I want to go take some pictures.”

The Sterns, who were married in 2008, reportedly remained in their $20 million home in Southhampton, New York until late 2022, when they accepted a dinner invitation from late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Daily Mail reported.

The dinner took place at a restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with celebrities Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jon Hamm, and Justin Theroux in attendance.

“I really had an exhausting weekend, emotionally, physically,” Stern said during a subsequent broadcast. “For the first time in two years I ventured out of the house. It was too much for me. It was too much. I haven’t been out in two years.”

At the time, he told Beth he didn’t want to go because he was in a panic he might catch COVID.

“I know our president has told us the pandemic is over and everyone is walking around without masks. … I still just don’t want to get COVID,” he said at the time.

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