The jailed father of "American Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler says he regrets not being there to support her bid in the Fox TV talent show.

Clyde Pickler, Jr., wrote a letter to the Stanly News and Press in Albemarle, N.C., from the Florida prison where is a serving a sentence for felony battery and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

"Kellie has really touched my life with all she has overcome," Pickler, 41, wrote. "I can take no credit for anything she has accomplished in her 19 years of life. I'm only regretting the fact that I'm not there to support her in person.

"However, despite what some people may think, Kellie and I are very close."

Pickler's 45 month prison term is due to end May 12, the newspaper said.

When he gets home, Pickler, who claimed to have become a born-again Christian while in prison, said he plans to live as "productive member of Stanly County instead of a menace."