“Today” show co-anchor Meredith Vieira ended her five-year run hosting the popular morning show on Wednesday, and although it was her decision to leave, her exit was a little more emotional than she had expected.
“It started to hit me that this was the last day and I tried to push it back — way back — somewhere in the back of my head,” Meredith told Access Hollywood in an interview on the set of the “Today” show in New York City on Wednesday. “When I got here, I had to face the facts, even though this is my choice. It’s really hard to leave this place.”
Thursday will mark Meredith’s first “Today”-free day since she took the reigns from Katie Couric in September 2006, and former news anchor Ann Curry will step in as co-anchor to Matt Lauer.
However, Meredith isn’t ready to watch her beloved show go on without her just yet.
“I’m going to tape Ann’s first day because I really want to see it – I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” she told Access. “I don’t think I can watch the first day – I think that’ll be hard for me, so I’m going to focus on my family… Next week I’ll become a regular viewer again, and cheer on everybody from the sidelines.”
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Meredith, 57, chose to leave the morning show in order to spend more time with her family. She has three children and her husband, author Richard M. Cohen, wrote a best-selling book about coping with multiple sclerosis and colon cancer – another driving force behind her decision to move on.
“My husband is in good health right now and I want to be with him and hang out with him,” she told Access. “If you live with any kind of chronic illness you really do appreciate how valuable health is.”
Additionally, the esteemed journalist emphasized that we haven’t seen the last of her yet – telling Access she hopes “to do something within the [NBC] network” in the near future.
“Change is scary, but you’re not really alive if you don’t change and evolve,” she said with a smile. “So I’m evolving… into what I don’t know! But I’m evolving.”