Patricia Heaton spent her birthday weekend apologizing to her Twitter followers after appearing to voice her support for conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh following his attack on a student who had testified at a Congressional hearing on contraception.
Limbaugh sparked outcry last week after branding Georgetown, Washington, D.C., student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "a prostitute" for arguing that her university's health insurance should cover birth control for female students.
While celebrities like Bette Midler were stunned and appalled by the broadcaster's harsh comments, Heaton embarked on her own rant on Twitter, in which she sided with Limbaugh and proceeded to suggest ways in which Fluke could save money so she could afford her own contraception.
In a series of tweets, she wrote, "Hey G-Town Gal: turn your underwear inside out! Then u only have to do laundry every 2 weeks - saves on detergent & trips to laundromat! ...Plz (please) let us also pay for your Starbucks, movie theater tickets, and your favorite hot wings combo deal at KFC! Anything else?"
She also added messages like, "G-Gal: you've given yer (your) folks (a) great gift for Mother's/Father's Day! Got up in front of whole world & said I'm having tons of sex- pay 4 it (sic)!" and "If your parents have to pay for your birth control, maybe they should get a say in who u sleep with! Instant birth control!"
Heaton was bombarded with messages from angry fans and she apologized for her tweets on Saturday, insisting she had been "too flippant" in her attempt at humor.
She added: "I crossed the line w/ (with) @SandraFluke. Don't agree w/her views, but I was not showing Christ's love."
Heaton subsequently deleted her inflammatory comments and temporarily shut down her Twitter.com account, before relaunching it on Monday - the day after her 54th birthday - with another apology.
She wrote, "I apologized to Ms Fluke last week. I may not agree with her views but I didn't treat her with respect and I'm sorry. I was wrong. Mea culpa (my mistake)."
Limbaugh has since also apologised to Fluke for his controversial remarks, but a slew of sponsors have already pulled adverts from his show.