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Women's Health

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Counting Her Blessings


Now that her children are teenagers, Vieira believes, coanchoring Today is the right job at the right time. "I worried about the mornings without them. So I cried about it — that's my MO, I cry about everything — and the kids reminded me that I never made eggs for them anyway, and besides, we fight in the morning." Now she gives each sleeping child a kiss before she leaves, "as much just to check to see if they're in the bed."

Vieira has recently returned from Scotland, where she interviewed J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. I remark that Rowling seemed more vulnerable with Vieira than I'd seen her in other interviews. Vieira nods. "We really connected on a lot of levels. We have a similar sense of humor, and we're both moms. Her mother died of multiple sclerosis, and Richard has MS, so I brought her a copy of his memoir, Blindsided."

Good Housekeeping Photo Meredith Vieira

By the time Cohen and Vieira met in late 1982, he had already fallen in love with her voice. He happened to hear it earlier that year, he writes, over the audio speakers at CBS News headquarters in Manhattan, where he was a producer. "Whose voice is that?" he asked a colleague. Told she was a new correspondent based in Chicago, Cohen said, "I am going to marry that woman." He calls their initial encounter "contempt at first sight." Walking by Vieira's CBS Chicago office, he saw her lying on a couch watching Looney Tunes on TV. "Very impressive," he said. "A real journalist."

She swore at him, then criticized a news segment he produced. "I thought she was exceedingly attractive and had a big mouth, both highly acceptable qualities," Cohen recalls. The attraction was mutual. After a four-year courtship and some tough talk about the unknowns and what-ifs of MS — Cohen had been diagnosed with the disease at 25, before he met Vieira — they leaped. And they've been married for 21 years.

"He wasn't going to write a memoir," Vieira says about her husband's book. "He was going to write something more generic about the disease, but his editor convinced him to open up. It turned out to be a blessing — for him and for other people with MS. It validated their feelings, gave them a chance to open up."

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