Gordon Ramsay has apologised for his tirade against Australian journalist Tracy Grimshaw, saying his mother had given him a “bollocking”.

However, the chef denied calling her a lesbian during his abusive verbal attack on her at a live cooking show last weekend.

Speaking in an interview on Australian TV’s Channel 9, he said: “On my children’s life, I never ever called Tracy Grimshaw a lesbian.”

He went on to deny having likened Grimshaw to a naked woman with a pig’s face in a doctored picture.

“We had a picture of this lady on all fours. Someone cross-referenced Tracy, and I turned around and said ‘You’re going to get me into serious trouble, I did not say that was Tracy Grimshaw in that picture.’”

Ramsay continued: “When your mum rings you and starts giving you a bollocking down the telephone then of course you start to get the picture.”

When asked what his mother had said to him, he replied: “She was disgusted and wanted to know what actually happened,”

Speaking to interviewer Tony Jones and the off-screen camera crew, the Michelin starred chef said: “If any of you guys had called my wife a pig I’d punch your lights out.[...] Having a pratting-around joke from a man’s point of view about a renowned professional journalist and calling her a pig is not clever.”

Prompted by Jones, Ramsay went on to offer an apology.

“Tracy, where do I start? First of all, you’ve shown me great respect and amazing support over the last three or four years and I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise for the stupid comments and am deeply mortified that the whole thing has gone this far. My apologies,” he said.

The interviewer challenged Ramsay to respond to prime minister Kevin Rudd’s recent condemnation of his abusive words. “When you’re visiting a country and that country’s prime minister refers to you as a lowlife that’s got to hurt.” Jones said.

In response Ramsay reiterated his denial: “Like I’ve said over the last 48 hours, I never called Tracy Grimshaw a lesbian. So when the prime minister refers to me as calling Tracy Grimshaw a lesbian pig it’s factually incorrect.”

Along with his on-air apology to Grimshaw, Ramsay later telephoned her to say sorry personally. Speaking on her TV show, Grimshaw said: “I didn’t expect Gordon Ramsay to apologise, I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t think it would help, but it has and I accept it.”

She went on to address why she had denied Ramsay’s accusations that she was a lesbian: “Finally let me clarify something that I feel is important. In all of the insults that were flung around, the insinuation that I was gay was not one of them.

“Some of my best friends are gay and their homosexuality is as irrelevant to me as my heterosexuality is to them. I addressed it on Monday purely because I wanted to rebuke him for taking a pot-shot at my personal life when his was so clearly off limits.”

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