Meredith Vieira Leaves Today Show: "I Know It's Right, But It's Hard"

Entertainment Jun. 8, 2011 AT 9:33AM

For Meredith Vieira, her Today Show exit after nearly five years is especially bittersweet.

When the 57-year-old journalist signed off NBC's morning show Wednesday, she had mixed feelings. "I know it's right, but it's hard," she said during her last broadcast, alongside Matt Lauer. Vieira's husband, Richard, and the family dog, Jasper, were also on hand at the New York City studio for her send off.

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"It's been a privilege working with you over these past five years and I know the folks at home have enjoyed starting their day with you. It has been a great ride," Lauer, 53, told Vieira as he introduced a clip reel of the journalist's best Today show moments.

Announcing her plans to leave Today in May, the TV vet said it took a great deal of "personal [reflection] and private conversation' with friends to reach the momentous decision.

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As Today newsreader Ann Curry prepares to take over Vieira's co-anchor chair, Vieira says she looks forward to spending time with her family -- and taking a much-deserved break.

"If I were to leave at the end of next year because it's time for me, I wouldn't jump into another show," Vieira told Ladies Home Journal last year.

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"I would look forward to not working, to traveling with Richard and carving out time for us," she said.

By Allison Corneau for Us Weekly. For more Channel Surfing, click here.

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