Howard Stern's mother is one of the most prominent characters on his long-running SiriusXM radio show. While Ray Stern hasn't been an on-air guest or caller for a while, her presence is felt almost every day. This is because Howard's relationship with his mother is one of the most influential parts of his life. It's shaped who he is, what he fears, and a lot of the problems he has dealt with throughout his 66 years on Earth. Howard's complicated relationship with his father Ben Stern is also a major component on the show, but you can truly tell that Howard is a mama's boy.
He'll even tell you that.
But fans of The Howard Stern Show know that Howard's relationship with his mother isn't and wasn't entirely conventional.
Let's dig into some of the fascinating dynamics between them...
Growing Up With A Depressed Parent
Diehard listeners of The Howard Stern Show know that his mother suffered from depression for many years. But mainstream audiences found this out while Howard was promoting his fantastic new book of interviews, "Howard Stern Comes Again". In the book, Ray Stern is given an entire chapter for herself, an honor that not even Howard's second and current wife Beth received. Although Howard did discuss at length how his relationship with Beth (as well as constant psychotherapy) ultimately helped change him into a healthier and happier human being. One who wasn't nearly as angry.
Throughout his life, Howard Stern has dealt with feelings of deep inadequacy. And a lot of this has stemmed from his mother's battle with depression.
During an interview with NPR, Howard said that he would often come home from school to find his mother sobbing. He took it upon himself to try and make her feel better. In a sense, the child became the parent. This was particularly challenging for Howard Stern as he was struggling to maintain friendships at school and didn't exactly receive a lot of attention from his father.
However, constantly making his mother laugh was incredible training for his comedy and entertainment career.
Ray had dealt with immense poverty while growing up, as well as unimaginable family tragedies, most of which linked to the Holocaust. This became baggage she took with her as she aged. Eventually, a daily practice of transcendental meditation cured her of her depression. Even though she is well into her 90s, Ray still meditates daily.
Ray Was A Typically Embarassing Mother
No matter how famous Howard Stern became, he still featured both of his parents on his show. Even when aren't present, Howard launches into his iconic imitations of them which feel like only slight exaggerations... Honestly, both Ray and Ben Stern feel like cartoon characters.
While Howard Stern loves the attempt to shock his parents with questions of his conception and their sex life in general, the best part of him featuring his parents are all the embarrassing stories from his youth.
This includes how Ray scared Howard off from joining the scouts because she wanted to be "the den mother", how she had to scrape the "grit" from his underwear when she did the laundry, and how she yelled at him for leaving t-shirts on the bed as a kid: "Your grandma Rose died in the Holocaust and you have the nerve to leave a t-shirt on the bed!"
There was also some animosity between Howard Stern and his parents as a child due to the fact that they refused to move out of an almost entirely Black community even though Howard was being beaten up at school every day because he was white and Jewish. His parents were always quite liberal and wanted to continue living in a community with people who didn't look or act exactly like them.
Like many kids, Howard Stern had a hard time relating to his mom growing up. But the two did bond over their love of The Beatles, according to an article by The Inquisitr.
Ray's Personality Became Howard's Whether He Likes It Or Not
We all have similarities to our parents whether we like it or not. While Howard Stern always makes fun of Ray's fear of "doing too much", going into the outside world, and her need to complicate every task in her life... he is basically the same.
Howard's long-time co-host and best-friend is usually the one who points out these similarities, but Howard can see them too.
Just like his mother, Howard Stern has a hard time learning a new thing. But his parents are particularly stuck in their own ways. This causes Howard to vent about it on the air. He constantly tries to make their life better with all of the money and resources he has and they resist change. They don't even have a computer... Or as Ray refers to it, "a machine".
One thing that Howard Stern and Ray definitely don't have in common is his love of revealing intimate details of his life. Howard's made a career on his brutal honesty, and it's typical that he involves his parents and his upbringing in it all.
Over the air, Howard and his mother have argued about this, but it almost always results in a love-fest. It's clear that Howard is still his mother's "little boy" even though he's 66-year-old.