Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani asked for privacy Monday to deal with strained relationships within his family, and defended his wife as a "very loving and caring" mother and stepmother.

The Republican presidential candidate came to Southern California to speak with sheriffs about gang violence, but found himself answering questions about his family after his son, Andrew, publicly said their relationship had become distant after Giuliani's messy divorce from Andrew's mother, Donna Hanover, and his later marriage to Judith Nathan.

"My wife Judith is a very loving and caring ... mother and stepmother. She has done everything she can. The responsibility is mine," Giuliani told reporters gathered outside the Los Angeles County Sheriff's headquarters.

"I believe that these problems with blended families, you know, are challenges — sometimes they are," he said. "The more privacy I can have for my family, the better we are going to be able to deal with all these difficulties."

The New York Times reported that Andrew Giuliani and his father have recently tried to reconcile after not speaking "for a decent amount of time." In the Times article, Andrew attributed the strained relationship to Nathan, saying, "There's obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife."

"We are both working on our relationship," Andrew Giuliani told ABC News. "No matter what he's done, I love my father. He's my father and we love each other. It's not as good as it once was but it's better than when it was its lowest, and it is getting better all the time."