Jay Monahan will always be the great love of Katie Couric's life. In the February issue of More, the 56-year-old talk show host opens up about her struggle to find love again after losing her husband to colon cancer in 1998.
"It's actually surprising to me that it has been almost 15 years and I haven't remarried. I think life is more fun when you have someone in your life," says the widower, whose exes include sitcom producer Tom Werner and financial executive Brooks Perlin. "I always wanted a father figure for my daughters [Ellie and Carrie], but it hasn't worked out that way. I've had long-term relationships, but they haven't turned into life-long partners."
For many years, Couric believed she would find another widower or divorcee to marry. "I really did love my husband a lot, but after Jay died, I always thought I'd end up like Florence Henderson on The Brady Brunch," she explains.
Finding someone to share the rest of her life with hasn't been easy for Couric, who was most recently linked to New York-based financier John Molner. "I have had dates where we didn't click," Couric tells the magazine. "I once went out with a heart-transplant surgeon who talked about valves the whole night. But I appreciate that it's not easy to go out on a date with someone like me."
"Also, when you get to my age, everyone is a bit wounded. So I think it's important to handle people with care -- not to think, 'Oh, what a terrible date,' but just, 'This person isn't for me.'" Couric continues. "Everyone has a lot of baggage. It's just can you fit it into the overhead bin?"
Couric has never tried to hide her sorrow from the world. Three years after the death of her husband, the TV journalist's sister, Emily, died of pancreatic cancer at age 54; Couric shared both tragedies with viewers as co-anchor of the TODAY show. "I remember someone saying, 'You're like the Kennedys.' It's these parallel universes when someone you live is sick. Your world is this completely foreign place involving radiation and tumor marker. Outside, people are buying sweaters."
According to Couric, the losses have made her stronger. "I have become slightly inured," she tells More. "That doesn't mean if something else bad happened to me I wouldn't suffer. It's just that your threshold for suffering increases."