I was so greatly shaken and saddened today when I heard that Robin Roberts, of Good Morning America, is facing another tough challenge. After beating breast cancer five years ago, she now has a bone marrow disease, as a result of the treatment she underwent 5 years ago for cancer. Apparently, she is beginning some form of treatment immediately, will have to go through chemotherapy again, and a bone marrow transplant. I only know what I heard on the news, so I am no better informed than anyone else.
I have had the real pleasure, and honor, of being on Good Morning America several times, and interviewed by Ms. Roberts. I’ve been on a number of those shows. I am a very shy person, and have never gotten used to doing publicity appearances on TV, but I do them at my publisher’s request, to help my book sales. But those shows are always scary for me, and pretty unnerving. I’ve been on many of them now, and it never really gets easier for me. The only two shows where I’ve been less terrified were on The View, with my friend Barbara Walters sitting next to me (sometimes holding my hand!!), and on Good Morning America, being interviewed by Ms. Roberts, who absolutely exudes warmth and kindness, and whose whole goal is to put the person she’s interviewing at ease!!! She radiates compassion and support and positive vibes, and makes you feel like the most brilliant, accomplished, fabulous person—-which is a real feat when I’m shaking in my shoes. On most shows, the hosts and interviewers are very focused on themselves, and often you feel like an accessory to make them feel important. One of the ‘tricks of the trade’ is to suddenly spring a surprise question at you, one they know will make you uncomfortable and startle you—-“You’ve been married how many times?…..why did you say your husband left you?….is it true you had an affair with Goofy, Donald Duck, AND Mickey Mouse?—–you did what in college, to whom??? Does your mother know that?….you were arrested for WHAT?”. It doesn’t always get that bad, but damn close, and you sit in your seat squirming, wondering how you got yourself into this mess, and how much longer will the show last? Many shows want to shock, or give their viewers some titillating piece of news that will excite the viewers and humiliate you. It’s part of the whole tabloid atmosphere in the press now. And it can make going on a talk show a truly unnerving, even terrifying experience. We all have things that will embarrass us, and you just pray that no one thinks of them, or SAYS them, while you’re sitting there, trying to look cool, sexy, and like you’re enjoying the experience, while trying to sound smart, and wondering how your hair looks. You walk out on the stage, trying to look confident, and praying you don’t trip over the camera cables and fall flat on your face. Looking good and sounding smart is a lot to deal with at 8 or 9 am, when the hairdressers and make up people showed up to ‘do’ you at 5 am, or even 4 am or earlier. Most shows are in New York, and for me, I usually fly in late the night before, from Paris or California, and get almost no sleep, when the hair and make-up people show up at 3 or 4 am. But however little sleep I got, or how scared I am, I still have to look and sound good when I’m on TV. It’s something I’ll probably never get used to. Writing at my desk all night, in a ratty old nightgown is a lot easier than talking about it in high heels and make up on a talk show!!!
But no matter how tired or scared I am, when I go on Good Morning America, and am interviewed by Robin Roberts, it’s a whole different experience. You are drawn to her warmth and kindness like a moth to flame. She’s so beautiful you can only stare at her. And she is so genuinely NICE that you are bowled over by her. And there are no nasty surprises with her—–instead of reminding you of some totally idiotic thing you did in college, or the jerk you went out with and wish no one knew about——she is suddenly reminding you of all your good deeds, your victories, the one wonderful thing you did. I sit there in awe of what a wonderful interviewer she is—-she wants to make you look good, sound good, and suddenly everyone watching thinks you’re great, and you begin to believe it too. Suddenly, on stage with her, I am not nervous with the cameras rolling. I forget they’re even there, and just want to sit there chatting with her forever. And after the interview is over, she goes on talking to you and making you feel great about yourself. I absolutely glow after an interview with her—-but it is the reflected glow of being in her presence. She is one of those rare human beings that makes you grateful that you know her, and got to spend even 5 minutes in her presence. She is a walking, talking blessing to everyone she meets. I LOVE doing the show with her, and am grateful whenever she has me on the show to talk about a new book.
Having met her repeatedly (and she is just as nice every time you meet her!!!), I felt it like a blow today when I heard that she was sick. No one deserves to be sick, but Robin Roberts less than anyone I know. She doesn’t deserve the pain or fear or the tough experience of facing a serious illness. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am that she is facing this challenge, and how much I wish her well. I hope that you will join me in sending her good thoughts of strength and health and healing. She is a person who spreads so much joy and such good vibes, and is such a nice person that she deserves all the very best, and a return to good health and a happy life as soon as possible!!!