Six years after her unceremonious departure from the Today show, Emmy-winning journalist Ann Curry finally opens up about struggling with the hurt of leaving.
Speaking exclusively to People, Curry broke her silence over the reasons behind her departure, seen by many at the time as engineered by an allegedly jealous and spiteful Matt Lauer (who has had his own, well-publicized issues since).
A glowing, smiling Curry graces the front cover of the magazine, with the focus of the piece being her reinvention as a public figure in the wake of the dramatic split.
Curry's co-hosting gig with Lauer ended abruptly barely a year into her tenure. She'd started at an Oregon NBC affiliate as an intern before working her way all the way up to the hallowed Today sofa.
Her sterling reputation, with 20 plus years experience as a journalist and contributor, indicated Curry was in it for the long haul. She's kept shtum in the years since and is speaking to People Magazine exclusively for the very first time.
"It hurt like hell. It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I've done nothing wrong. I've been honest and true. I've tried to stay pure. I've tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I've stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I'm also proud of myself," Curry revealed in the cover story.
"I'm not going to say it wasn't hard. But I had to let go. And I learned that when you not only let go but open your arms wide and learn the lessons that an experience - no matter how bad - can teach you, that's when you rise," she said.
Curry told the magazine that she has tried to remain humble, but she's definitely a stronger person now. She sees the experience as having changed her for the better and gifting her more compassion. Curry also noted she had taken the break to spend more time with her children, and to focus more on herself.
Curry will return to TV screens on Jan. 23 in We'll Meet Again, a six-part docu-series for PBS that was developed by her own production company.
"I've always thought of journalism as a service profession. I'm in it to give, not to get. This show lets me explore people's beautiful wishes to reconnect with the people who helped them survive," Curry said.
The 61-year-old veteran news anchor left NBC after a year as co-anchor, with a lack of chemistry with Lauer cited at the time as the reasoning behind her sudden departure. Her awkward, on-air goodbye seemed to hint at further issues behind the scenes as she apologized for not letting viewers down.
At the end of last year, Vulture revisited the drama for an explosive piece, which suggested that Lauer was instrumental in Curry's firing, also believed to be a factor in the rise of ABC's Good Morning America. The rival show has since become America's most-watched morning program, ending Today's long-held dominance of the time slot.
Lauer has had his own issues in the intervening years. He was fired from NBC in late November of last year, following complaints from staff members. The network cited "inappropriate" behavior in the workplace.
On her part, Curry further revealed that most of the men she's worked with in her field have been "exemplary." In the wake of recent revelations in relation to sexual assault, however, something clearly needs to change.
Curry is scheduled to appear on This Morning on CBS this coming Wednesday. It will be her first network TV interview since leaving NBC.