Sam Champion Talks Being Out, Winning Dad's Acceptance With Oprah
Photo: Sam Champion & Rubem Robierb | Photo by Brook Pfifer
While veteran TV weatherman Sam Champion did not come out to his audience until 2012, he never intended being gay to be a secret, he told Oprah Winfrey on Sunday’s edition of her network's program Where Are They Now?
"I had been openly gay since I was at channel 7," he said, referring to New York’s WABC TV, where he was a weatherman for 18 years before joining Good Morning America in 2006. “I just never took it on as a topic. I never sat down and talked to someone about it."
Champion, who now helms his own program at the Weather Channel, came out publicly in a New York Times story noting that he and his partner, Rubem Robierb, had attended fellow broadcaster Thomas Roberts's wedding and announced their own marriage plans.
Champion also spoke with host Winfrey about his father, a colonel in the U.S. Marines, being slow to accept his sexuality and life choices. "I remember him saying to me, 'I cannot support this lazy lifestyle choice,'" Champion reflected, "I'm like, 'You're the smartest guy I know. You sound so incredibly dumb right now. You knew I was different from the time I was a kid. I was just different. I would not choose this. I would not!'"
Later, his father was diagnosed with multiple cancers, and father and son were able to finally reconcile before the older man died in 2010. "I remember standing on the back deck of their house in Texas, and he reached out and touched me and he said, 'I'm so proud of the man that you became,'" Champion said, his usually smooth voice hesitating and cracking a little with emotion. "That's my favorite minute with my dad."
Watch the entire interview below, courtesy of OWN.