On today’s episode of her talk show, Vieira will discuss experiences she had with an abusive boyfriend many years ago.
“It started out with, we’d have a fight and he’d just sort of grab my arm. I didn’t think a lot about it, and then it turned into pushing me against the wall and then it went beyond that to actually taking his hand and grabbing my face and saying, ‘I could ruin your career if I wanted to and no one would want you,'” she revealed.
“Then there was the night that, we shared an apartment, and he threw me into a shower, naked in scalding water and then he threw me outside into the hallway, we lived in an apartment building, and I hid in the stairwell for two hours until he came again crying, and said ‘I promise I won’t do this again.’ And I continued to stay in that relationship until I was offered a job in another state and that’s where I felt I had the ability to get away.”
Vieira, 60, is now happily married to her husband of 29 years, journalist Richard Cohen. They have three children. However, the experience helped shape the talk show host, who admitted that leaving her abusive ex was difficult.
“I’m a smart woman. A lot of people say, ‘Well, who would stay in that situation? Somebody who doesn’t have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out.’ I had that,” she said. “Part of it was fear. I was scared of him and scared if I tried to leave something worse could happen to me. Part of it was guilt because every time we would have a fight he would then start crying and say, ‘I promise I won’t do it again’ and I would feel like maybe I contributed somehow to this.”
Still, she encouraged others who have suffered at the hands of an abusive partner to seek help. And everyone, she said, should be aware of this “rampant” issue.
“We all have to accept the fact that it’s not just an issue with the NFL, it’s an issue with all of our lives,” she said. “Until we take it seriously more and more women are going to get abused.”