Photographed by Jeff Lipsky for AARP The Magazine
Robin Roberts is one of the most recognizable faces on American television. She spent 15 years as a sportscaster for ESPN before co-anchoring ABC's Good Morning America. In recent years, the newswoman has covered major events like Hurricane Katrina, battled breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome, and come out. Now the 54-year-old broadcaster is AARP The Magazine's April/May cover star. Here are five things we learned from the cover story.
On celebrating her 50th birthday with her partner, Amber Laign:
"It was my 50th-birthday celebration, and Amber [Laign] had heard me moaning and groaning about some kind of party. I'd told her all I wanted to do was dance on the beach. We were on Turks and Caicos. She set the whole thing up --a dance floor on the beach--as a surprise. But then it rained. Still, I was just thrilled that she heard me. There is no fuss with us. We're so happy. We've been happily in a relationship for 10 years and are looking forward to the next 10 after that."
On going wigless during Isaac Mizrahi's show during New York Fashion Week:
"And I'm not feeling so good about myself because I'd just completed chemotherapy [for breast cancer] and was about to begin radiation. I remember rounding the corner and seeing the mirror and going, 'Uh-uh. No,' and taking off the wig. I went out there and was just so happy. It was freeing."
On openly weeping on air while covering the devastation of her hometown by Hurricane Katrina:
"Covering Hurricane Katrina was a real moment for me, personally and professionally. On the air, I broke down and cried when Charlie Gibson asked about my family. I had just found my mother and sister within the hour. They hadn't been able to evacuate because my mom was ill. The family house was damaged, but they were fine. After the broadcast, I remember taking my earpiece out and thinking, 'I don't have a job anymore.' Because it was a time when you didn't show emotion like that."
On looking forward after facing MDS:
"I think of September 20, the date of my transplant, as my birthday more than my real birthday, on November 23. I don't try to be like people who have had life-threatening illnesses and say, 'Every day is a gift.' But everything that happens from now on is lagniappe, as we say in the Gulf."
On remembering the historic interview between her and President Barack Obama:
"Yes, for the president of the United States of America to change his stance on marriage equality, that was huge. And to be the person across from him asking that question! But see the little look on my face? I'm reacting to my producer on the side, who's just held up one of those blue cards. I was guessing the sign was going to say, 'You rock!' Instead, it says, 'Lipstick on teeth!' As my mama used to say, 'When you strut, you stumble.'"