Right before starting work at the Today show four years ago, she admits she was a wreck. Vieria says her husband Richard Cohen and children, Ben, 21, Gabe, 19, and Lily, 17, helped her steady her nerves.
“The night before I started doing the show I was a wreck,” she says. “Richard and the kids gave me a bracelet that read we are with you. It had an instant calming effect. I lost the bracelet at the Republican National Convention in 2008, and I was beside myself. So they had another one made for me. Richard said if this one goes, I’m on my own.”
Her children are growing up fast and soon she will be facing an empty nest at home. She recalls the time when her son Ben went off to school.
“I remember when we were leaving Ben at college [he attends Stanford] for the first time,” she says. “I kept wanting him to turn around when we said good-bye, but he walked off. I lost it. I cried on the plane ride home.”
The 56-year-old also has lost 10 pounds. Because of her demanding work schedule she was becoming sleep deprived and said she was “gaining weight and feeling depressed.” A nutritionist helped her go on a 28-day detox diet of no sugar, wheat, gluten, alcohol, or caffeine.
“I started feeling better,” says Vieira. “I want to look healthy, be strong, and feel good about myself.”
Unfortunately her husband Richard Cohen isn’t as well. He has had two bouts of colon cancer and has multiple sclerosis which has affected his balance and has left him legally blind. She says the disease has impacted their lives.
“I feel cheated sometimes. We used to run together and go on ski trips or go to the beach. Now it’s very hard for Richard to stand. But we’re very lucky in what we do have.”
For now, she’s continuing on for another year with the Today show.
“I’ll know when it’s time to go, and I’m not afraid to go,” she says. “If I were to leave at the end of next year because it’s time for me, I wouldn’t jump into another show. I would look forward to not working, to traveling with Richard and carving out time for us. You’re always doing something, if you are curious. It doesn’t have to be a 9-to-5 job.”