Gordon Ramsay: I was having a "tongue-in-cheek joke"
TV chef Gordon Ramsay has said he is "deeply mortified" by the row caused over insulting remarks he made about Australian presenter Tracy Grimshaw.
Ramsay apologised for the "stupid comments" and said he had been prompted to do so after his mother rang him.
"I'm deeply, deeply sorry for the hurt that's been caused," he said.
The chef was rebuked by the Australian Prime Minister for showing a nude woman with a pig's face and likening them to TV personality Grimshaw.
Ramsay told the Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper that Grimshaw had shown him "great respect and amazing support" for several years.
He said that his mother Helen had demanded an explanation from him on the telephone.
"She was disgusted and she wanted to know what actually happened," adding that her rebuke made him "start to get the picture".
"If any of you guys had called my wife a pig and it was in front of me, I'd punch your lights out.''
The celebrity chef, who made the comments at a Melbourne food fair at the weekend, said that earlier efforts to personally apologise to Grimshaw had been rebuffed.
Grimshaw is a well-known TV personality in Australia
"I made a strong attempt on Saturday to contact her and I suppose like any petulant teenager, when you get ignored, the whole thing escalated.
"I tried to contact her, there was no response on Saturday, so I kept jibbing away at her."
"I wish I'd had a chance to put this fire out three days ago," he added.
Ramsay said that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's intervention was "unfortunate".
Mr Rudd said that the chef's remarks marked "a new form of low life".
Ms Grimshaw hit back at Ramsay, describing him as an "arrogant narcissist" and "a bully" on her Monday night programme.
Ramsay allegedly made other remarks also, but denied that he made claims about Grimshaw's sexuality.
In her televised response to the chef, Grimshaw said he had made some "uninformed insinuations" about her private life.
"Obviously Gordon thinks that any woman who doesn't find him attractive must be gay. For the record, I don't. And I'm not."