SYDNEY - A combination of "jet lag, loneliness and adrenalin" led actor Russell Crowe to throw a telephone across the lobby of an exclusive New York hotel.

New Zealand born Crowe today said he was ashamed of the violent incident that could see him jailed and admitted it was entirely his fault.

The Oscar-winning actor was charged with assault after allegedly throwing a phone at a concierge in the Mercer Hotel because he could not make a call to Australia. 

In television interviews today with MSNBC and on the CBS Late Show with David Letterman, Crowe chalked up Monday's outburst to the strain of loneliness and frustration at being unable to get calls through to his wife in Australia.

"I'm extremely sorry for this whole incident and I regret everything that took place," Crowe told Letterman.

"The bottom line is I did something pretty stupid.

" ... this is possibly the most shameful situation I've ever gotten myself (into) in my life."

Poking fun at the actor as he welcomed Crowe onto his show, Letterman picked up the telephone from his desk and moved it off stage.

In earlier interviews today Crowe insisted he was "not aiming at" Nestor Estrada when he threw the telephone but conceded the incident could leave him in jail and unable to work in the US again.

"I'm at the bottom of a well. I can't communicate how dark my life is right now," Crowe told News Ltd newspapers.

"I'm in a lot of trouble. I'll do my best to solve the situation in an honourable way. I'm very sorry for my actions.

"I will spend the rest of my life if it takes it, trying to make it up with my wife."

Crowe said he was pleased his son Charlie was not old enough to understand the situation he was in because "that would be a heartbreaking thing".

Crowe has been charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon -- the telephone.  He faces up to eight years in a New York jail if convicted. 

Crowe told police after his arrest he feared the incident could lead to him losing his right to enter the US and make movies.

American immigration officials stressed it was far too early in Crowe's assault case to speculate what might happen, but said criminal convictions are taken into account when foreigners apply to work in the US.

"We can't speculate on what might happen, but prior convictions can play a part in adjudications for work visas," US Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesperson Sharon Rummery said today.

Crowe also said that he didn't want to imply that the situation was somebody else's fault.

"It's not. I know it's my fault. I've got to face up to it and deal with it.

"I'll cop whatever I cop."

Crowe said he had flown from New York to Manchester and back in less than a day to catch his friend Kostya Tszyu's world title fight.

Once back in New York he went to a bar for a few drinks.

Crowe then tried to call his wife Danielle in Sydney just after 4am New York time but could not reach her from his hotel room.

Frustrated, he is alleged to have gone down to the hotel lobby and after a heated exchange hurled the phone in the direction of Mr Estrada.

"I wasn't aiming at him," Crowe told the Daily Telegraph.

"But I've got no excuses. There's nothing you can say to people to explain the combination of jet lag, loneliness, and adrenalin."

"We flew over to see Kostya and back again in 20 hours and not being able to tell your wife that you're home and safe and you're okay is frustrating, particularly with the time thing."

Crowe said his fate lay with the "good graces" of Mr Estrada.

"I wouldn't imagine that he is in a position where he feels any obligation to do anything nice and I can understand that position completely," he said.

Crowe has refused to cancel his media commitments and is expected to return home in two weeks.