"We have a lovely woman who's been in prison," Letterman said Friday, explaining why he previously behaved the way he did. "I put those two things together and my head starts spinning."
Rehashing how he verbally accosted Hilton the last time, "I continued to press the point," Letterman acknowledged – though Hilton had made it clear she was finished talking about her life behind bars.
"I thought I was hilarious," Letterman recalled, until others the next day told him, "No, you were an ass----."
He also heard Hilton was hurt and vowed never to return to his show. So he called her, wrote a letter and sent flowers, which she called "sweet." And he cajoled her into returning to his show, which she did Friday – one week before her new movie, The Hottie and the Nottie, opens.
Don't Try It Again"It's like a first date," said Letterman, admitting he was "on probation." As Hilton, in a yellow dress, made her stage entrance, the Late Show band played "I Love Paris."
"I offended you. I'm not here to make enemies, honestly," Letterman, 60, told Hilton, 26. "I'm terribly sorry."
"Yes," said Hilton. "And you better not try it again. I hope you got the jail thing out of your system."
Their bitter past behind them, Letterman said, "What else would you like to talk about? Let's talk about something fun."
That included her new movie (she plays the "hottie," Letterman explained), her new shoe line, her five fragrances and her cellphone video game – something that seemed to stump her host.
"What is the game?" he asked. "How do you know you've won?"