04/03/2007 AT 01:30 PM EDT
Tears of gratitude flowed from Heather Mills when a former detractor praised the Dancing with the Stars
favorite, and suggested that Mills is due a collective apology after all the past criticism she has faced in her divorce from Sir Paul McCartney
Appearing as a guest on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS FM
morning radio program, Mills, 39, heard the sentiment of a listener
named Pat, who said: "I'm ashamed that I had a judgment against her based on everything that you read in the newspapers, that she was after his money, and, come on – everyone was down on Heather Mills.
"But," Pat continued, "she has won me over, and I can admit it, that I had formed a bad opinion about her. I am embarrassed, actually. I would love to apologize to her. And America should apologize. People should apologize to her. She was wrongfully treated."
McCartney, 64, and Mills, a former model, announced their separation last year, after four years of marriage. The couple have a 3-year-old daughter, Beatrice.
Asked by Seacrest how the message from Pat made her feel, Mills replied, "Ah, that makes me feel emotional. Hooo. That's great."
Then the tears came, especially when Seacrest commented that people had judged Mills "strictly on hearsay."
"Yes," she replied, "it's just amazing. ... I had a choice. I could have gone down ... excuse me, you got me going now ... sorry ... I could have gone down that path of lowering myself to everyone else's level and proven my innocence."
But, she said, "All I did was fall in love with somebody madly, and give up my life for seven years, you know. And then just to be vilified for it? I'm actually quite shocked. I've spent 14 years doing charity work. ... If I was a gold digger, I would be a very wealthy woman now. And I'm not."