Why Robin Roberts Is the Most Trusted Woman on Television

Editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello sat down with Robin Roberts to talk about life-or-death decisions, “shining the light,” and favorite family jokes.

From Reader's Digest Magazine

Why Robin Roberts Is the Most Trusted Woman on TelevisionCourtesy GMA
 LV: So let’s take a turn here. In our poll, Americans said that the No. 1 person they trust is actually their own personal doctor. How did you choose the doctors you would trust on your journey?

RR: First of all, I think it’s very important to develop a relationship with a doctor when you are well. That way, if things do go downhill, you’ve already established trust. My primary physician, Albert Knapp, has saved my life in so many ways. He was recommended to me in 2007 when I moved from Connecticut to New York. I had already found a lump in my breast at that point, but I didn’t tell him about it. I just said, “Check under the hood, kick the tires …” I loved how he talked to me before we went into the exam room. We got to know each other before I had to take my clothes off. [Laughs]

LV: You wanted a connection.

RR: Exactly. He was about to leave the exam room, and I was like, “Ugh, I have this lump.” After he checked it, he ordered a mammogram and even an ultrasound, which is what ultimately detected the tumor. He’s been my primary go-to person ever since. He’s earned my trust. You have to earn someone’s trust and go with your gut. And I will say, I have changed some of my doctors. My doctor has to have a sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine.

LV: This is true.

RR: My doctor Gail Roboz is one of the funniest people. She’s serious when she has to be, but it’s just that little bit of humor. Dr. Sergio Giralt, my transplant specialist, is like that too.

LV: What was the first thing you laughed at after your surgery? I mean, really laughed hard.

RR: Oh, boy, this is silly. Somehow I got into this kick of watching Frasier, and there is a sequence at the beginning of one particular episode where Niles—oh, gosh, it’s hard to explain—but he has a tear in his pants, he’s ironing his pants … it’s a series of comedic events, and all of a sudden the couch is on fire, and he’s trying to put it out with a bowl of spaghetti, his finger is cut, he faints, Eddie is running around … I don’t know. There was just something about it.

LV: It was mishap after mishap!

RR: Yes! And you know what else? It was nice to know that someone else was having a bad day and could be funny about it! That made me laugh out loud. I tried to stick with comedies for the most part because usually I’m watching Law & Order. It’s actually on my bucket list to play a judge on SVU.

LV: Can you think of a moment when you didn’t trust yourself?

RR: I think we’ve all looked back on the decisions we’ve made and had some second thoughts, but the funny thing is that everything always works out. People have asked why I didn’t go into news earlier after having the sports background, but I have no regrets that I waited until the right moment to make the leap. As my mom said, “If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans, there’d be no need for scrubbing.” I think things worked out pretty well.

Why Robin Roberts Is the Most Trusted Woman on TelevisionDonna Svennevik/Getty Images

LV: I’d say so. Now here we go: Reader’s Digest believes laughter is the best medicine. So what’s your favorite joke, and tell it to me now.

RR: Ha! I can only think of jokes from my mom and dad, but this one is my favorite: “If this too shall pass, now would be good.”

LV: Hallelujah!

RR: Oh, I’ve got another family joke! But I have to preface this by saying my family is terrible at telling jokes. My dad would be doubled over laughing before he would get to the punch line. And the joke wouldn’t even be funny. OK, here it goes: A state trooper pulls over a guy for driving too slowly on the interstate. The cop goes over to the driver and says, “Do you realize you’re on the highway, and you’re going only ten miles an hour? I have to give you a ticket.” And the driver says, “Well, I thought that was the speed limit. Ten miles an hour.” And the cop says, “No, that’s I-10, Interstate 10—not the speed limit.” Then the officer looks in the backseat, and he sees passengers with their eyes really wide and their hair all over. The cop says, “What’s wrong with them?” And the driver says, “I just came off Route 101.” Ba-domp-domp!

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