More than 50 years before her death, TV journalist Barbara Walters and then-husband Lee Guber adopted their daughter, Jacqueline, after dealing with fertility struggles.
“I had had three miscarriages and my husband and I decided that we would adopt a child,” the View creator — who died on Friday, December 30, at the age of 93 — said during a June 2014 OWN interview. “We had dinner one night with a couple we rarely saw and the woman said that she had a little girl who was blonde and blue-eyed, and they wanted to adopt a boy … who was going to be tall. They didn’t want the girl. So, we said, ‘We’ll take the girl!’”
Walters and Guber adopted their only child in 1968, opting to name her after the journalist’s sister, Jackie. “Oh, I adore my daughter,” she gushed in 2014. “To know that you’re going to have this kind of love that I feel for her. … I’m laughing because [she] said to me recently, ‘Mom, when you have Alzheimer’s, you can come down and live next to me.’ I take that as a very loving compliment.”
While the Today alum was eager to become a parent, Jacqueline admittedly struggled as a teenager.
“I was a runaway. I loved to run. I thought running would solve all my problems,” Jacqueline, now 54, said during a joint 2002 NBC News interview with her mother, noting she felt as if she did not fit in. “It was hard. I mean I went to school with all these cute, small, little, you know, adorable girls that were four-foot-two. And you know here I was this big, gangly girl.”
By the age of 13, Jacqueline had started skipping school and trying various drugs. “I did marijuana. It was called crank then, but it’s now methamphetamines,” she said during the 2002 sit-down. “Quaaludes were all over the place. Valium. And the drugs numbed all the other feelings. But it didn’t take away the issues that I had. They got bigger and bigger. I was more and more isolated from my mom’s world. And I thought running would solve all my problems.”
Several years later, the mother-daughter duo’s relationship faltered even more.
“I was so busy with a career. It’s the age-old problem,” Walters said during her Barbara Walters: Her Story TV special, which aired in 2014. “And, you know, on your deathbed, are you going to say, ‘I wish I spent more time in the office?’ No. You’ll say, ‘I wish I spent more time with my family,’ and I do feel that way. I wish I had spent more time with my Jackie.”
The twosome eventually were able to reach a turning point in their relationship before Walter’s death earlier this month.
“Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones,” Cindi Berger, the TV presenter’s publicist, told Us Weekly in a statement at the time. “She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists but for all women.”
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