Robin Roberts says she nearly turned down the chance to interview then-President Barack Obama in 2012 about marriage equality amid fears she would be outed.
Roberts says on Monday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show that in 2012 — the year before she came out publicly — she got a call to go to the White House to interview Obama.
She was told “there was a possibility that [he] would change his stance on marriage equality. I had not been public yet about being gay, and I was afraid that I might be outed, that people might wonder, ‘Why is she the one interviewing the president when he’s making this change in his stance?’”
But she said she soon came to her senses.
“It was kind of like a scene out of Moonstruck: ‘Snap out of it; Robin, what are you thinking? It’s not about you. This man is going to impact countless lives.’ And it was at that moment that I said, ‘I’m gonna stop letting fear keep me from the things that I want to do.”
Roberts said she is glad she changed her mind, and it inspired her to open up about her longtime relationship with Amber Laign.
“I’m so grateful that I did that [interview with Obama],” she told DeGeneres. “Shortly thereafter is when on Instagram, or on social media, I talked about Amber and all that fear I had of being a Christian, that people would look at me differently. [But] I was embraced. Again, if we just stop and think about how many times we let fear keep us on the sidelines and I’m so, so very glad that that’s no longer the case. I am not gonna get everything that I want in life, and I’m not going to accomplish everything, but by golly, fear is not going to be the reason why I’m not.”
Roberts, who is promoting her new book, Brighter by the Day: Waking Up to New Hopes and Dreams, encouraged others not to be afraid to show who they really are.
“Everybody is a limited edition,” she said, adding: “I mean, how many times [do] you gravitate toward people who you know were being their true authentic self? It’s just something that more and more people are starting to embrace, and I’m grateful for that.”
During the interview with DeGeneres, Roberts also opens up about Laign’s breast cancer diagnosis and reveals she was a bus driver when she was in high school.