Katie Couric: Why I Went Public With My Bulimia Struggle
Throughout her career, Katie Couric has shared the most painful, personal moments from her private life with millions of TV viewers. But when she opened up about her battle with bulimia during a September 2012 episode of her eponymous talk show, the 56-year-old audience opened a new can of worms.
"I had no idea it would be a big bulletin," Couric says in the February issue of More. "But I think it got traction because in a way people see me as somebody who has their sh-t together."
(The University of Virginia graduate revealed on-air that she "wrestled" with the disease "all through college and for two years after that.")
Explains Couric, "I was asking people to reveal their innermost feelings about [this issue], and I actually know about it. I have had this issue; my sister Emily who passed away, had this issue. So I thought, 'This is the time.' I tried to do it in a way that wasn't, 'I had bulimia!' But just 'I had bulimia, and I know this mind game that goes on where if you don't adhere to this strict calorie restriction.' It makes you feel really bad about yourself, and this vicious cycle kicks in."
After Couric learned to love herself, viewers fell in love with her, too. The popular TODAY host threw them for a loop, however, when she left the program after 15 years to become the news anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News in 2006. The highly-publicized move didn't bode well for Couric, and she stepped down in June 2011 following poor ratings for the show.
Couric calls the experience as "an affront to my whole sort of mien." When her likeability rating declined during her tenure at CBS Evening News, she leaned on her younger daughter, Carrie, for support. "Mom, you know what Samantha on Sex and the City says?" Carrie asked. "'If I listened to what every bitch in New York City says about me, I'd never leave the house.'" Couric remembers laughing and telling her little girl, "There is so much wrong with that."
"Until I was 40, I had smooth sailing and no real challenges in my life, no setbacks. I felt that my charmed life and being on television protected me from bad things happening," says Couric, who lost her husband Jay Monahan to colon cancer in 1998. "It was so ridiculous and irrational."