Coronation Street star Bill Roache has apologised for comments that seemed to suggest that sex abuse victims were paying the price of sinning in their past lives.

Roache, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap since the first episode in 1960, claimed his words in a New Zealand TV interview had been taken out of context.

Sex abuse campaigners slammed Roache for his "hippy-dippy spiritualism" after he was asked on NZTV about sexual molestation and said: "If you accept that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won't happen to you."

The 80-year-old Corrie veteran, who claims he has slept with 1,000 women, went on to make a formal apology as the row about his comments grew.

"I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way," he said.

"I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my utmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia."

Roache also apologised on Sky for appearing to suggest that sex abuse was the fault of victims.

"I'm not saying that," he said. "Life is what we make it. We come into life to learn from certain experiences and broadly some of the major experiences we have we have asked to go through. This is my understanding of life.

"If you're going to pin me down and start saying 'all victims deserve what they're getting' - no, I am not saying that at all."

Roache had said that celebrities were caught in a trap by fans eager to get intimate.

He said that among fans there was "a fringe ... particularly pop stars who have these groupies, these girls, who are sexually active and sexually mature.

"They don't ask for their birth certificate and they don't know what age they may be.

"They're certainly not grooming them and exploiting them but they can be caught in this trap.

"I'm not blaming anybody for anything but things were different back in the 1970s. People were more tactile," he continued.

"It's probably unfair to judge too harshly today things that were done 20 or 30 years ago. There should be a greater understanding that things were different in those days."

He added: "I'm not excusing inappropriate and insensitive behaviour to women. I think women are wonderful and they should be treated with respect."

Roache last year predicted huge changes on earth when the Mayan calander expired in December.