Stephen Collins '7th Heaven' Cast and Viewers They Have My Back

Stephen Collins made a very public re-entry into public life after the molestation allegations surfaced ... dining at a high-profile restaurant Friday night and expressing gratitude for the support he's received.

Collins and his divorce lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, were leaving Mr. Chow in Bev Hills Friday night when our photog asked about '7th Heaven' very quietly coming back on the air after it was yanked in the wake of the audio tape in which Collins confessed to molestation.

Make no mistake ... going to Mr. Chow is calculated. He wanted to talk, and it's interesting.

Stephen Collins DIVORCE SETTLED Confession Tape Under Lock and Key

We've now obtained the divorce settlement, and it provides every copy of the Collins' audio in which he confesses to child molestation must be destroyed, with the exception of the original -- which is now in Grant's possession. Grant must deliver the tape to Collins' lawyer, Shawn Holley, who will keep it under lock and key for 10 years and only release it if there's a subpoena.

As for the rest of the settlement, it's pretty much a 50/50 split. As we previously reported the pot is worth around $14 million.

Stephen Collins and Faye Grant have settled one of the nastiest celebrity divorces in memory ... TMZ has learned.

Collins, Grant and their lawyers spent the last 4 days trying to hammer out the settlement, to avoid what was certain to be an ugly, public trial set for February 9th.

Both Collins and Grant were ready to address the audiotape in which Collins confesses to molesting and/or exposing himself to 3 young girls. Grant threatened to raise the issue because she didn't want her settlement compromised in case he got sued, and he says the tape has made him unemployable and therefore he should be socked with a big spousal support tab.

But they worked it out, down to who gets what furniture.

Stephen Collins My Ex Used V.A. to Leak Tape She's 'Devious' That Way

Stephen Collins claims his bitter ex-wife was out for blood and caused the now-famous audio recording to be leaked ... the audio in which Collins confesses to child molestation.

Collins -- who was in court Wednesday along with estranged wife Faye Grant -- says in new legal docs Grant put his stuff in trash bags and put them in the driveway of their Brentwood home for pickup by the V.A. He says the audiotape was inside one of the bags and labeled, "Stephen Collins/predator."

Collins claims it was all part of her "devious design" to get the tape out without directly releasing it. He says he foiled her plot by getting a P.I. to retrieve the bags before they were picked up.

The actor says he believes TMZ got the audio via Grant, either directly or indirectly. She denies it.

The judge in the divorce case has ordered them to meet next week to try and settle the case, but hizzoner made it clear he fully expects a full trial next month.

Stephen Collins Trial Date Set ... Molestation a Hot Topic

Stephen Collins' divorce trial is set to begin next month ... but first the judge wants to hash out as many details as possible -- and you can be sure his child molestation admissions will be one of them.

Collins and his estranged wife Faye Grant were in a L.A. court Wednesday for the start of divorce proceedings. The judge set Feb. 9 for a trial date.

Next week, both sides will meet for a settlement conference -- basically, one last chance for them to reach agreement on issues in their divorce before the trial begins.

One of those hot topics -- Collins' claim the molestation controversy has cost him work, so he's making less money ... and can't afford to pay Grant. She wants her share of their assets protected in case he gets sued by one of the victims.

Rosie Rips Collins, Couric She Should Have Skewered Him

Rosie O'Donnell thinks Katie Couric failed in her interview with Stephen Collins, attacking the "7th Heaven" star for ruining the lives of the children he molested and then not really taking responsibility.

Rosie blogged about the interview, saying, "I was sure [Katie] was gonna do 2 him what she did 2 Sarah Palin ... hit him with his truth right between the eyes ... expose him for who he was ...'what newspapers do u read Sarah? She saved us all then ... this time she didn't."

But then Rosie unleashed on Collins, saying, "He took the hand of 10 year old girl and used it to jerk himself off." BTW, Collins only fessed up to taking the girls hand and placing it on his penis, but we know the woman claims he ejaculated.

Rosie goes on ... "ummmm -- after u came on the kids hand -- u mean? stephen ... right? u are not equals. she was an innocent child ... a baby girl ... u have a daughter for gods sake ... were u able to resist the urge to touch her? how noble ... congrats."

And she doesn't let up, saying, "in case u wonder what ur man sized penis -- ur abuse of power ur lack of impulse control did to that kid ... i will tell u a bit about me ... sex is not fun ... not now ... not ever ... it is married to a lingering terror ... joy evaporated."

Rosie recounts the impact sexual abuse caused her, "My body became my enemy ... I would not love it ... take care of it ... treat it well ... it betrayed me."

And then she takes a shot at Cosby, saying, "ur casual lack of accountability for her and for me has wondered us once again ... u -- Stephen Collins ... u u r an archetype ... as is Bill Cosby ... pedophile/rapist ... how dare i ... how dare i not."

Powerful stuff.

Stephen Collins I Was Exposed to Unwanted Nudity When I Was a Child

Stephen Collins felt like it was okay to expose himself to 3 underage girls ... because the same thing happened to him even before he was a teenager.

Collins told Katie Couric a woman repeatedly exposed herself to him when he was between the ages of 10 and 15. He said the experience distorted his perception because ... "I never felt like I was molested."

In the interview, airing on 20/20 ... Collins does not say who the woman was -- nor does he say if he was forced to touch her.

It's the first time he is talking on camera about molesting and/or exposing himself to the girls ... decades ago.

Stephen Collins 'I Am Not a Pedophile'

Stephen Collins says he's not a pedophile, but rather someone who had a "distortion" in his thinking.

Collins told Katie Couric ... he does not fit the "clinical or dictionary definition" of a pedophile ... so concluded his therapist. That same therapist, Collins says, told him that if Collins really was a pedophile ... he would have repeated the misdeed way more than he did.

Collins told Couric he has no attraction toward children and that the incident in 1973 -- where he made physical contact with one of the victims -- stopped him dead in his tracks ... saying, "It was the opposite of excitement or gratification."

TMZ spoke with that victim on Wednesday ... who feels Collins is downplaying the incident and doesn't buy his decision not to apologize to her.

Stephen Collins Victim Says Apology NOT Accepted

The woman who was just 10 when Stephen Collins molested her and placed her hand on his penis says she's not buying his belated apology.

The woman -- now in her 50s -- is telling family members, "Stephen is minimizing the incident. It was not just a spontaneous touching ... that aggression resulted in him ejaculating."

She also scoffs at Collins decision not to apologize to her and another one of his victims, saying, "His assertion that he wanted to avoid reopening an old wound seems nonsensical to me."

She doesn't believe there are only 3 victims -- the ones he confessed to on audio.

The woman has filed a police report with the NYPD and an investigation is underway, but we're told any case would be rejected because of the statute of limitations.

She clearly wants more than a mea culpa, asking, "Why isn't he donating any disposable income, beyond what he needs to survive, to a child-abuse charity?" And she says, "Maybe he should at least try apologizing to his victims."

Stephen Collins Confesses to Sexual Abuse 'I Did Something Terribly Wrong'

Stephen Collins is publicly acknowledging he sexually abused three underage girls, but he says, "I have not had an impulse to act out in any such way" in the last 20 years.

Collins made his comments to People -- and will sit down for an interview with Katie Couric -- where he will discuss his confession about molesting and/or exposing himself to 3 underage girls decades ago.

He writes, "Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since."

Collins says he apologized to one of the victims 15 years ago, but decided against contacting the other two because he thought it "could actually make things worse for them by opening old wounds."

Law enforcement has been investigating the incidents, but our sources say the cases will go nowhere because the statute of limitations has long since run.

Stephen Collins Network Quietly Puts '7th Heaven' Back on the Air

Stephen Collins has been quietly put back on the air by a network that vowed to give "7th Heaven" the ax in the wake of his child molestation confession.

UP TV was running the series but announced in October it was taking it off the air ... shortly after TMZ ran the audio in which Collins confessed to molesting and/or exposing himself to children.

But we noticed the show is now back on the schedule, so we contacted the network.

The CEO for UP TV, Charley Humbard, tells TMZ, "We brought the show back because many viewers expressed they could separate allegations against one actor from the fictional series itself."

Humbard continues, "As it turns out, they cannot." So Humbard says they're now taking the show off the air ... again. It's unclear if they're yanking the show because of ratings or our phone call.

Stephen Collins NYPD Looking For More Molestation Victims

Stephen Collins is NOT in the clear in the child molestation case -- not by a long shot -- because we've learned the NYPD is on the hunt for fresh victims.

TMZ broke the story ... the NYPD was investigating at least 3 cases of alleged molestation or indecent exposure, but all 3 cases are so old authorities believe the statute of limitations have run.

But sources tell TMZ ... 2 NYPD detectives flew from New York to Seattle to interview the woman whom Collins admits on tape to molesting when she was 10.

Cops were not interested in probing the woman's story any further, but they were intensely interested in finding out if other, more recent alleged victims might have come forward.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... they don't want to close a case where the suspect admitted he's a child molester. So the NYPD is aggressively pursuing leads and has no plans to shelve the case.

Stephen Collins I Got Fired from Major Movie 2 Hours After TMZ Story

Stephen Collins was fired from a major movie 2 hours after TMZ posted audio of him confessing to child molestation.

Collins filed legal docs for his upcoming divorce trial this month, in which he is asking the judge to slash Faye Grant's $13,000 monthly spousal support to ZERO, claiming he can't get work now.

Collins says in the legal docs he was canned from "Ted 2" after our story posted October 7th. He says he lost $75K that he would have made for the project, and that doesn't count residuals.

Collins says the judge should penalize Grant for what he says was an unlawful recording in his therapist's office that she secretly made.

He also says he does not expect to get any acting offers for the rest of the year.

Stephen Collins' Wife He's Unemployable Because He's a Pedophile

Stephen Collins' estranged wife is indignant he's bellyaching he can't get work because of that audiotape in which he confesses he sexually abused children ... Faye Grant says the real reason he can't get work is because he's a pedophile.

Collins' lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, filed legal docs saying, "Faye's decision to parade that recording ... has resulted in Stephen having no income other than investment income and pension income."

Now Grant's lawyer, legal pitbull Marty Singer, tells TMZ, "The tape has nothing to do with Mr. Collins' plight. It is Mr. Collins' horrific conduct and actions that have caused him damage."

Singer calls Collins a pedophile, adding, "It is also unfortunate that Mr. Kaplan is attempting to justify his client's conduct by diverting blame onto third parties."

Stephen Collins I Can't Get Work Because of 'Molestation' Tape

Stephen Collins says he's now unemployable after audio of him confessing to child molestation surfaced.

Collins' lawyer filed new legal docs -- obtained by TMZ -- in which he says the divorce trial between the actor and Faye Grant just got a whole lot easier, because there won't be a fight over future income.

Collins' lawyer says, "Faye's decision to parade that recording ... has resulted in Stephen having no income other than investment income and pension income."

As you know ... TMZ posted audio of Collins' confession to molesting and/or exposing himself to 3 young girls.

His lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, adds, "Stephen suffers greatly from the pillaring (sic) by the media surrounding Faye's unlawful recording."

Stephen Collins Molestation Victim Will NOT Sue

Stephen Collins is a lucky man ... after confessing to child molestation, we've learned not only will he NOT be prosecuted ... the main victim tells TMZ she will NOT sue him civilly.

Collins confessed in the audiotape ... he repeatedly sexually abused this victim, once placing her hand on his semi-erect penis. The incident occurred in the '70s, but she did not come forward until 2012 ... which is when the NYPD launched its investigation.

The woman -- now in her 50s -- says she will NOT sue Collins because she's not after his money. She says her purpose in coming forward was to encourage other victims to step up -- possibly victims who were molested more recently, so Collins could be prosecuted.

In addition to cooperating with the NYPD, the woman says she called the LAPD to warn them Collins was a sexual predator.

As we first reported ... law enforcement sources at the 3 agencies that are investigating Collins say they cannot have him prosecuted because the cases are too old.

Short story ... he confessed to 3 cases of sexual abuse ... and now he's home free.

Stephen Collins Home Free In Child Molestation Investigations

Stephen Collins -- a self-proclaimed child molester -- will NOT be prosecuted for either molesting or exposing himself to the 3 victims ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

TMZ posted audio of Collins confessing to wife Faye Grant that he molested and/or exposed himself to 3 girls ... ages 11 - 13. And, as we reported ... the NYPD and the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. have open investigations. The LAPD is also looking into the case they closed 2 years ago.

But law enforcement sources in all 3 police departments tell TMZ ... the cases will go nowhere. All 3 cases are decades old, and our sources say prosecution would be barred by the statute of limitations.

The NYPD case is the one with the best argument that the statute hasn't run ... as we reported the victim came forward in 2012 and spoke with NY detectives. But that case involves an incident in the 70s and we're told law enforcement has all but given up on a viable case.

Grant has alleged Collins molested a child while he was shooting "7th Heaven" -- sometime between 1996 and 2007 -- but we're told no such victim has come forward.

Although it looks like Collins will not be prosecuted -- assuming no one else comes forward -- he will still have to deal with the molestation issue in court. His divorce trial is next month, and Grant plans to raise the issue because she wants her portion of the assets protected in case one of the victims files suit. And he plans to raise the issue because he claims she used the audio to extort him.

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