Prime Minister Bob Hawke, dogged by questions about his personal life, has tearfully admitted in a television interview to being unfaithful to his wife of 33 years.

Hawke told the Channel 7 network's Newsworld program he has committed adultery but said he would do so no longer. Hawke, tears welling in his eyes, said he loved his wife, Hazel, whom he called an "incredible woman."The Labor Party leader said "she understood that it was part of a pretty volatile, exuberant character, and she knew my love for her had never changed." He also made references to his past drinking problems.

The interview was broadcast nationally Tuesday night.

Hawke must call elections in mid-1990, and he has said he will seek an unprecedented fourth three-year term as prime minister. His popularity is believed to be eroding because of rising interest rates, higher taxes and other economic woes.

The 59-year-old premier has been followed by questions about his personal life for years but had never admitted he cheated on his wife. His stunning confession on national television caused a sensation.

Opposition Liberal Party leader John Howard refused comment on Hawke's admission. Deputy Prime Minister Lionel Bowen said he found it "interesting" but did not elaborate.

The couple celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary two weeks ago.

The interview was the second time Hawke has broken down on national television while making a personal admission. In 1984, he began crying when he referred to drug problems among members of his family.