(CNN) -- In a rare public appearance since admitting to an extramarital affair, David Petraeus apologized Tuesday night for the scandal that led to his resignation as head of the CIA last year.
Petraeus, a retired four-star general, has stayed out of the limelight since the affair was revealed in November.
"Please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret and apologize for the circumstances that led to my resignation from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters," Petraeus told a crowd gathered at a Los Angeles hotel ballroom. "I am also keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing."
His comments came at an annual University of Southern California dinner to honor the military. It was one of the fist major public appearance since the scandal derailed the illustrious career of the decorated Army general.
Petraeus, who once ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned from his CIA post in November.
He admitted he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, a fellow West Point graduate who spent months studying the general's leadership of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The affair came to light during an FBI investigation of "jealous" e-mails Broadwell reportedly sent to another woman.
At the speech Tuesday, he tried to move the focus from his past problems and shine a light on the accomplishments of military members.
"I join you keenly aware that I am regarded in a different light now than I was a year ago," he said. "But tonight is not about me. It is about your veterans. Your active duty military and your ROTC cadets."