As a former anchor for ABC World News and Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer is used to being the interviewer, not the interviewee. But she found herself on the receiving end of questions earlier this year when she sat down to chat with Ladies’ Home Journal for the magazine’s February 2014 issue. During the interview, Sawyer opened up about her marriage to film and theater director Mike Nichols, who died on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at age 83.
Asked how she always looks so put together, the veteran journalist credited a “fabulous team of people” and said she “honestly can’t care” about her appearance most days. “I simply can’t make myself do it,” the still-stunning blonde explained, noting that her mother would likely use the words “inadequately groomed” to describe her. “And I’m finally okay with that. I think there’s a point at which you know how you dress isn’t going to affect how much you do in life.”
Her husband had made peace with it, too — in a way. “Mike asked me once, ‘Would you just please wear the newer sweatpants?'” Sawyer recalled of Nichols, whom she wed in 1988. “I thought that was the most tragic comment he has ever made to me. But I went ahead and put them on anyway.”
She went on to gush about Nichols’ soft side. “[Mike is] much more romantic than I am. He puts little notes in my sock drawer or in my suitcase before I leave for a work trip,” she revealed of her spouse, who had three kids from previous marriages. (She and Nichols had no children together.) “I think one of the most romantic things is simply the way he reaches for my hand all the time.”
“We rarely fight and I remember once when we were arguing he stopped in the middle of it and said, ‘Well, this is sort of fun, too,'” she continued. “And it was! It was good to know that we could get out our strong feelings but that we were indestructible at the same time.”
Nichols, like Sawyer, was very devoted to his career, which is one of the things she loved most about him (and vice versa). His legacy includes classics like The Graduate and Working Girl; he also was one of the elite few EGOT winners, having won all four major entertainment awards (an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony).
“Do you know ‘Goodbye for Now’ by Stephen Sondheim? Mike and I love that song,” Sawyer, 68, told the mag. “We’re both passionate about our work: He’ll say, ‘I have to go and do this.’ And I’ll say, ‘I have to go and do this.’ And then we’ll come back home and it’s ‘Hello again.’ It’s a beautiful thing, seeing someone you love so enraptured by what they do.”
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