Ed McMahon Explains 'Embarrassing' Money Woes

06/06/2008 at 08:30 AM EDT



Speaking publicly for the first time since news broke that he might lose his Beverly Hills home, Ed McMahon appeared on CNN's Larry King Live Thursday night, explaining, "I want to speak for the million people [in America] who now have foreclosure signs on their houses."

In an appearance that, at times, produced more questions than answers – such as why McMahon, 85, was sporting a neck brace or how, after a decades-long TV career, he could be financially squeezed – McMahon repeatedly called himself "optimistic."

"If you spend more money than you make, you know what happens," he said. "A couple of divorces thrown in, a few things like that." Added his current wife, Pam McMahon: "Because you're a celebrity, people think you have more than you have."

The injury, which McMahon says has kept him out of the workplace for 18 months, came in "a fall," and said, adding, "I don't want to elaborate."

As for missing house payments, Pam, who said she is reduced to shopping the bargain bins at Target, said: "Over the years, it's a combination of maybe Ed working so hard and not looking at proper management. We didn't keep our eye on the ball. We made mistakes."

"It's embarrassing, to say the least," said Ed.

"It's been tough," agreed Pam, "but somehow our marriage is strong." She also noted that her husband's neck injury has been "a little tough on the sex life, too."

Married to the twice-divorced TV personality since 1992 (when he was 69 and she was 37), Pam is McMahon's third wife.

Britney's Neighbor

The McMahons did say their mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. (to whom they defaulted earlier this year on a $4.8 million loan), is being highly cooperative. They added that finding a buyer for their six-bedroom, five-bath manse – which is reportedly is listed for $6.25 million – would save them.

The house has been on the market two years – and is located in the same gated community as the homes of Jon Bon Jovi and Britney Spears.

Actually, McMahon told King he feels sorry for Spears, who has struggled in the past few years. "I found her when she was 8 years old, on Star Search," he said.

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