10/17/2012 at 07:00 AM EDT
Matthew Fox stayed quiet last year following allegations that he hit a woman
partly because it was a criminal case, but also because he didn't want to give the claims any legitimacy by addressing them.
"When you're involved in a criminal and a civil case, you're advised not to speak about these things, because they're trying to find the truth and depose witnesses," the former Lost
actor, 46, says in an interview airing Wednesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
"I also find that it's just a little bit undignified to come out and respond to people who make allegations that are so outlandish, with just one person saying, 'You did this,' and you come back and say, 'No, I didn't.' "
Fox's strategy was to sit tight until the time was right. "I was going to let the courts resolve it on that end, and then I knew there would be a time down the road where I got an opportunity to tell the truth," he says.
The truth, says Fox, is that he was sucker punched by a man on a bus in Cleveland, where he was filming the movie Alex Cross
, and a fight broke out. "She was a woman that was in proximity to that, and she decided that she was going to write up a different version of events that happened that night and try to extort money from me," he says. "That was what went down."
Fox does take the blame, however, for a separate incident – his DUI arrest
in Bend, Ore., earlier this year. It was a mistake he vows never to repeat.
"I was terribly embarrassed by that," he says. "I really own that and have done every single thing the state of Oregon requires for a first-time DUI offender. I have learned a ton. I did four weeks of alcohol informational training. And just learned an enormous amount."
One thing he learned is that 50 percent of people who get one DUI will get another. "I found that pretty astounding after what I've been through," Fox says. "I will absolutely not be in the statistic. There is just no way."