The View alum Meredith Vieira, 57, and her husband, author Richard M. Cohen, grace the December/January cover of AARP. The loving couple and their three children – Ben, 22, Gabriel, 20, and Lily, 18 – open up about Richard’s struggle with multiple sclerosis and how his chronic condition has made them all “stronger.” Now 63, Richard was diagnosed at 25 with MS, a nerve-destroying condition that is gradually stealing his eyesight, balance, and strength.
Meredith on hiding Richard’s condition from the children until Ben was 7, Gabe was 5, and Lily was 3: “We figured, oh, they’re so small, they don’t need to know this,” Meredith says. But then one night all three children saw their father fall backward down the stairs and land on his head. “I realized kids are intuitive; they are sensitive,” Meredith says. “He didn’t know what it was, but he knew something wasn’t right.”
Meredith on leaving Today: “There’s so much speculation in the press recently [about] ‘poor Meredith with her invalid husband,’ and I want to set the record straight. My husband, Richard, is in good health, and that’s part of the reason I want to leave right now.… I want to be there with him, and I want to have fun.”
Meredith on living with Richard’s MS: “He has very bad days. He’s so funny; he’ll say ‘I’m in control. I hate my life but I’m in control. It’s good that he vents. He’s having a [very bad] day, and what is he going to do, pretend that he’s not? But then he’ll soldier on.” She adds: “He said to me a million times, ‘I thought I would beat this. I thought I would be the one. He’s feeling like he’s not the one.” She also says, “People want to help, so when we’ve needed friends in times of any crisis, we ask. And I think it’s really important for caregivers not to feel that it’s all on you at any given time, because it’s not.”
Lily and Gabe on living with MS: [My] childhood as “completely normal,” Lily says. She adds: [Multiple sclerosis] “definitely affects everybody in the family; it affects what you are able to do, how quickly you can do something. But everybody has something in their family that’s unique.” Gabe adds, “It poses a challenge every day, but in ways, it has made us stronger,” says their son, who adds that MS “allows us to be more patient.”
Continue reading the thoughtful interview with the Vieira-Cohen family at AARP…View Slideshow »»