Comedian Bill Cosby, besieged by a wave of sexual misconduct allegations, has praised his wife for supporting him and criticised the media for its coverage of a scandal that has already compromised his reputation and career.
The 77-year-old, once a revered father figure and forceful advocate of self-help for his fellow African-Americans, made the remarks in a rare telephone interview with the New York Post, which published them on its website on Saturday.
More than a dozen women have stepped forward to accuse Cosby of giving them alcohol or drugs, and then sexually assaulting them in incidents that go back decades.
In the Post's telephone interview, he was asked how his wife of 50 years, Camille, was holding up amid the controversy.
"Love and the strength of womanhood," he said.
"Let me say it again, love and the strength of womanhood. And, you could reverse it, the strength of womanhood and love."
Several of his accusers have filed lawsuits against the actor, best known for playing obstetrician Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, which aired from 1984 to 1992.
Cosby has never been criminally charged and, through his lawyers, he denies the allegations.
However, in his interview with the Post, he did not speak highly of the media. His comments were directed in particular at America's black media, with which he has had a hot-and-cold relationship over the years.
While long seen as a role model for millions of African-Americans, his relations with black people in the United States have been strained at times, because of remarks a decade ago - deemed by some in the community as unduly harsh - in which he criticised the values of African-American youth.
"Let me say this," Cosby told the Post. "I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism, and when you do that, you have to go in with a neutral mind."
He said he has been advised by lawyers not to comment on the allegations and he cut off the interview, the Post said.
"They don't want me talking to the media," he said.
Almost all of the allegations fall outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges.
But one woman, former Playboy hostess Judy Huth, filed a sexual assault lawsuit in Los Angeles against the Emmy and Golden Globe winner.
Last week, Tamara Green, who accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her in the early 1970s, filed a lawsuit against Cosby for defamation, claiming that his public denials - and those of his lawyers and publicists - have unfairly painted her as a liar.
In the midst of the scandal, Cosby has cancelled public appearances and stepped down from his board of directors post at Temple University.
Last week, trail-blazing black supermodel Beverly Johnson claimed that she was drugged by Cosby, but managed to resist his advances. Unlike other accusers who have come forward, the model did not make explicit sexual assault allegations against the actor.