Johnson, now a radio analyst in Houston, made the initial comment Friday morning on Houston sports radio station KILT. During a lighter segment on the show, Johnson was asked by a caller which of the guys he played with had the ugliest spouse.
"I got it. Yeah, I got it. This is a big, big man," Johnson said. "This guy had his way with the Texans this year. ... He won't hear this -- Vince Wilfork."
Wilfork met his wife, Bianca, while the two were at the University of Miami. Johnson and Wilfork played together in New England for one season, 2004, during which the Patriots won their third Super Bowl.
Wilfork responded angrily on Twitter on Friday morning, writing an apology to fans in advance to how he would react to the news.
"I do not play when it comes to my family," he wrote.
Shortly after that, he tweeted, in part: "It is f----- up when a x-teammate that I looked up to and enjoyed playing with takes shots at my family. She is my everything. I don't care when this was said no one should cross that line."
Wilfork also wrote that he has "a great family life" and was "blessed to have them."
Johnson, who played with the Patriots from 1995-2004, tweeted this apology in several parts Friday afternoon:
"I just made a huge error in judgment and want to apologize to Vince and his wife for comments I made earlier today on a Houston radio show.
"Vince and his family are outstanding people who I have admired since they arrived in NE. I learned a big lesson today and feel terrible.
"I have personally apologized to the family and feel awful. It was a huge error in judgment and I'm sorry for upsetting Vince's family."
Bianca later tweeted a thank-you to her followers for their words of support and added, "I love me and I love that my husband loves me."