Robin Roberts is as resilient as they come. The lady from the little town of Pass Christian has experienced highs and lows as much as the next man but her story is one of triumph and serves as a huge inspiration for many others.
Robin was set to become a basketball legend in her earlier years. However, her path would lead instead to a career in journalism, halting her playing career at the college level where she was an outstanding athlete.
Her journalism portfolio has seen her work for prestigious networks such as ESPN and ABC. She took over in 2005 as the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America. And since then she has secured high-profile interviews with the likes of Chris Brown, Nate Parker, and Barack Obama. Roberts’s fighting spirit is shown in the way she fought through periods of her life with breast cancer and a bone marrow disease and came out victorious. She is also a member of the Women’s Basketball and the Sports Broadcasting Halls of Fame.
Robin Roberts’ Biography
The newscaster is the last child of four – Sally-Ann, Lawrence Jr., and Dorothy – born to her parents Colonel Lawrence Roberts and Lucimarian Roberts. She was born in Vermont on November 23, 1960. However, she was raised in Mississippi where she played table tennis and basketball at Pass Christian High School.
After graduating in 1979 as class salutatorian, she moved on to study at Southeastern Louisiana University. Louisiana State University was her first choice but she turned down their basketball scholarship after she visited the institution and didn’t like the feel of it.
She enrolled instead on a journalism scholarship at Southeastern where she also played basketball for the school’s Lady Lion’s team. She graduated cum laude in 1983 with a degree in communications and an enviable record in the school’s history of female basketball football. Robin Roberts left Southeastern as the third-ranking leading scorer in the history of the team. Her impact on the sport at the school was so profound that she was honored years later in 2011 when Southeastern decided to retire her jersey number 21.
Following her time in college, she took up employment working as a sports reporter for local station WDAM-TV in her native Mississippi. By the end of the 80s, she had added a number of other television stations to her work experience. These included WLOX-TV (Biloxi, Mississippi); WSMV-TV (Nashville, Tennessee); and WAGA-TV and radio station V-103 (Atlanta, Georgia).
She became a sportscaster at the prestigious sports network ESPN in 1990. It is here that Roberts made a name for herself and spent a significant chunk of her journalism career.
While Robin Roberts officially came on the books of ABC in 2005 as co-host of the Good Morning America (GMA) show, she had already been working for the network as a featured reporter for a decade, fulfilling a dual role at ESPN and ABC. In 2005, she started to host a GMA show with Diane Sawyer who would eventually make way for George Stephanopoulos in December 2009.
While Diane was fixed as anchor of ABC World News, Roberts and Stephanopoulos proved to be a hit anchor team and revived the show’s fortunes. Three years into their on-screen relationship, in April 2012, GMA was once again the top-rated morning show in the country. This was after the top spot had been held by NBC’s Today for 16 consecutive years.
Over the years on GMA, Robin Roberts has proven her ability to unnerve and even annoy high-profile guests. A perfect example would be her continuous hounding of Chris Brown about his relationship with Rihanna in 2011. In November 2016, she also rattled Birth of a Nation producer Nate Parker when she kept bringing up allegations of rape for which he had been investigated and acquitted almost two decades prior.
Besides her work as co-anchor in-station, she has also served in other equally huge capacities. She was the host for ABC’s Academy Awards pre-show in 2009 and 2011 and also made a 2010 guest appearance in an episode of Disney’s Hannah Montana. She also had the honor of being ABC’s reporter on the ground for the infamous royal wedding between Prince Harry and Suits actress Meghan Markle.
Robin Roberts has received a plethora of recognition for her work in the field of athletics, sports broadcasting, and journalism in general. In 2012, she became a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Four years later, she was an inductee again, this time for the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She is also a recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism; the Mel Greenberg Media Award; and the 2018 Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient among others.
Battle With Cancer And Bone Marrow Disease
Roberts’ demons have come in terms of ill health but she has conquered every time. Her first documented bout with illness came in 2007 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer albeit, at an early stage. She went under the knife in August of that year and followed it up with a number of chemotherapy sessions and radiation treatment all before the end of January 2008. She eventually went into remission.
Four years on, she came down with a type of bone marrow disease, myelodysplastic syndrome. Unable to keep working, she stepped away from her GMA duties to focus on recuperating. She underwent a bone marrow transplant with her sister, Sally-Ann Roberts acting as a donor in October of 2012 and was out for four months after the procedure, eventually returning to the screen on February 20, 2013, much to the delight of viewers.
Two of Robin’s awards came in the form of a 2012 Peabody Award and a 2013 Arthur Ashe Courage Award. These were in recognition of her courage to grant ABC permission to follow and document her fight with the disease. This effort helped to inspire people suffering from the same disease while encouraging people who were contemplating becoming bone marrow donors.
Relationship With Amber Laign
Before 2005, Roberts’ sexuality hadn’t been much of a secret, especially to her coworkers. However, in that year she came out officially when she started dating a woman named Amber Laign. Amber, who is a graduate of the Swedish Institute, makes a living as a certified massage therapist with a focus on people recuperating from injuries.
She also has a background in the world of fashion, having worked at fashion house Berger & Stevens for nine years before her time as a massage therapist. Perhaps buoyed by Robin’s fight with cancer, Amber started a company, Plant Juice Oils, that focuses on essential oils and CBD blends with a focus on female cancer patients and menopausal women.
Robin Roberts was one of the names on Equality Forum’s list of 31 Icons of the 2015 LGBT History Month.
Robin Roberts’ Salary, Net Worth
How much does the veteran newscaster take home every year? The Mississippi gal has seen her stock rise steadily during her time with ABC. And as evidence of her status, her take-home pay from the network has put her firmly among the top 3 on the list of highest-paid, television anchors in the country, if not the world.
According to Money, Roberts’s salary for the year ending June 2017 was $18 million. With the exception of Fox News’s Sean Hannity, Roberts and NBC’s Megyn Kelly are the highest-paid TV anchors in the country.
The GMA celebrity anchor is also an author and as of 2018 has penned and released three books with the last an accompanying audio version for her latest publication Everybody’s Got Something in 2014.
Put her on-screen earnings and book royalties together, and her $35 million net worth valuation is easily justifiable.