Robin Roberts Almost Passed On 2012 Obama Interview Over Fear She'd Be Outed As Gay

The "Good Morning America" host said she now sees the White House chat as the moment she stopped "letting fear keep me from the things that I want to do."
Robin Roberts interviewed President Barack Obama in 2012.
Robin Roberts interviewed President Barack Obama in 2012.
The White House via Getty Images

Journalist Robin Roberts says she nearly opted out of a historic interview with President Barack Obama a decade ago over concerns she’d be outed as LGBTQ.

The “Good Morning America” anchor first spoke publicly about her sexuality in December 2013, revealing on social media that she’s been in a relationship with girlfriend Amber Laign since 2005.

In an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” this week, however, Roberts recalled learning that Obama intended to announce his support of marriage equality in their 2012 interview. Given that she’d not addressed her own same-sex relationship in the media, she feared that the chat would prompt scrutiny into her own private life.

“I got a call to go to the White House,” Roberts said. “There was a possibility that [Obama] would change his stance on marriage equality. I had not been public yet about being gay, and I was afraid that I might be outed, that people might wonder, ‘Why is she the one interviewing the president when he’s making this change in his stance?’”

Watch a clip of Robin Roberts’ interview with Ellen DeGeneres below.

After considering the global impact of the interview, however, Roberts came to her senses.

“It was kind of like a scene out of ‘Moonstruck,’” she explained. “‘Snap out of it, Robin! What are you thinking? It’s not about you. This man is going to impact countless lives.’ And it was at that moment that I said, ‘I’m going to stop letting fear keep me from the things that I want to do.’”

Roberts ― who is currently promoting a new book, “Brighter by the Day: Waking Up to New Hopes and Dreams” ― said she’s “so grateful” she decided to commit to the interview, which she now sees as a personal and professional turning point.

“Again, if we just stop and think about how many times we let fear keep us on the sidelines ... I’m so, so very glad that that’s no longer the case,” she said. “I am not going to get everything that I want in life, and I’m not going to accomplish everything, but by golly, fear is not going to be the reason why I’m not.”

Amber Laign, left, and Robin Roberts, right, have been together since 2005.
Amber Laign, left, and Robin Roberts, right, have been together since 2005.
Raymond Hall via Getty Images

Elsewhere in the interview, Roberts became visibly emotional when speaking about Laign’s 2021 breast cancer diagnosis. The journalist had breast cancer herself in 2007, and five years later, underwent a bone marrow transplant after being diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood and bone-marrow disease.

“I’m a puddle every time I think about what Amber is going through,” she explained. “But she is being so courageous and is handling it extremely well. I’m able to kind of give her a little bit of a road map, because I’ve gone through it. But she’s also given me a road map on how to be a caregiver.”

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