"Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since," the 7th Heaven star told People in a statement. "As difficult as this is, I want people to know the truth."
Allegations against Collins surfaced in October, after TMZ published an audio recording of Collins talking about having inappropriate contact with three underage girls from 1973 to 1994. The recording was made by Collins' then-wife, Faye Grant, during what was supposed to be a confidential therapy session. (The couple is in the midst of divorce proceedings.) Collins tells People that the session was recorded "without the therapist's or my knowledge or consent."
"On the recording, I described events that took place 20, 32, and 40 years ago," Collins says in the statement. "The publication of the recording has resulted in assumptions and innuendos about what I did that go far beyond what actually occurred."
Collins adds that he apologized to one of the women 15 years ago, and she was "extraordinarily gracious," but he has not approached the other two after being told in treatment that he "could actually make things worse for them by opening old wounds."
An interview with Collins and Katie Couric about his confession will stream on Yahoo! and air on ABC's 20/20 on Friday.