A chagrined Russell Crowe (search) apologized Wednesday for throwing a telephone at a hotel concierge this week, saying he reacted poorly to being a lonely family man away from home.

"This is possibly the most shameful situation I've ever gotten myself in in my life, and I've done some pretty dumb things in my life," the Australian actor told David Letterman (search). "So to actually make a new number one is spectacularly stupid."

Crowe, in New York to promote a new movie, was angered by a malfunctioning phone at the Mercer Hotel at 4 a.m. Monday, so he threw it and struck a concierge in the face.

Along with a few hours in jail on an assault charge, the "Gladiator" star earned himself a new tabloid nickname: "Jerkus Maximus."

Crowe used the "Late Show" platform to apologize to his wife and to Nestor Estrada (search), the concierge hit under the eye by the flying phone.

"Hopefully at some stage, I'll be able to apologize directly to Nestor but at the moment, he's not answering his phone," Crowe said.

Crowe acknowledged what most tabloid readers already know: that he has a temper problem.

"But at the same time, I also have, in the moment, infinite patience, you know?" he said. "We had nine rooms in that hotel over a period of seven days and everybody was having the same problems."

Crowe is married to actress Danielle Spencer and they have a 17-month-old son. With the time difference with Australia, reporting back home can be rough, he said.

"I'm, you know, trying to fill my basic obligations to my wife who needs to know that I'm at home, I'm in bed, I haven't had too much to drink and, primely important, that I'm alone," he said.

Being a husband and father away from home is "a level of abject loneliness that I'm not used to at all," he said.

But, as his wife said, that's not much of an excuse because millions of dads have to travel, he said.

Letterman couldn't resist one sight gag, getting up from behind his desk before the interview, removing the phone that was there and taking it off stage.