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Robin Roberts Recalls Coming Out as Gay: ‘I Didn’t Want to Hurt GMA’

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Robin Roberts is looking back at her coming out journey and reflecting on how hard it was to reconcile that with being a Christian. During the first of a two-part interview on The Jamie Kern Lima Show, Roberts, 63, opened up about her past fears of being shunned for her dual identities and eventually overcoming them to find love.

The Good Morning America anchor came out as gay in 2013, telling fans she is grateful for her “longtime girlfriend, Amber” in an end-of-year Facebook post. Roberts and Amber Laign — whose relationship began back in 2005 — made their red carpet debut at the GLSEN Respect Awards in 2014. 

Roberts confesses to Lima — the founder of IT Cosmetics and author of the bestselling book Worthy — that she had been hesitant to come out because of the potential damage it could do to GMA.

“It’s not the Robin Roberts Show, it’s Good Morning America. And there are so many people whose livelihoods depend on the success of our show. And so, if I do something that hurts the show, that hurts them…I thought about that. I didn’t want to do anything to hurt those people who I’ve been working with and absolutely adore,” Roberts explains.

She continues, “I would walk down the street with Amber, and if somebody saw us, I would introduce her. I wasn’t trying to hide but yet, I wasn’t ready to, to fully…And part of it is, and I’ve never said this before, part of it is because of my Christianity.”

Robin Roberts and her wife Amber Laign tied the knot in September 2023Raymond Hall/GC Images

Roberts admits that the fear of rejection because of her dual identities fueled most of her hesitation. 

“I was afraid that people, they think you can’t be gay and a Christian. And I am. I am and I was so fearful that I would be shunned,” Roberts says. “I received a letter, a beautiful letter from the National Office at the Presbyterian Church after I announced about Amber, fully supportive, and then I think about all those years I wasted, worried, needless worry.”

Roberts and Laign, 48, have kept their relationship largely private since they first met on a blind date over drinks in 2005. But the beloved daytime show anchor opens up to Lima about her relationship with the breast cancer survivor with whom she tied the knot in September 2023

“I have never talked about this before, but I’m going to talk about this with you,” Roberts begins. “I’d had dysfunctional relationships that I didn’t know were dysfunctional at the time. (Amber) had already told me, ‘I’m not going to do one of those makeup, breakup things,’ so it’s about a year in… and (at that point) in my mind I was like, ‘I’m out of here,’ because there’s no drama.”

“I’m used to conflict and I was equating conflict with love,” Roberts adds. “If (the relationship) was easygoing, then it must not be sexy, it must not be fun. The relationship was really good but this was my thinking.”

Recalling the night she attempted to break up with Laign, Roberts reveals that Laign stopped her attempted speech, telling her, “Robin, I know the relationship you had before. If that is what you want, knock yourself out.”

“I was stunned,” Roberts shares. “I thought she would be like, ‘You must stay with me’, and she did just the opposite with such confidence (and said), ‘I know what you had and I know what you have now and if that’s what you want…’ and I didn’t go through with it.” 

Roberts tells Lima that she was “so grateful” to Laign because it made her “unlearn” what she knew about relationships. “Why did I think that was love before? Why do I think now that it’s no drama and it’s easy… why do we look at that as not being sexy or not being a true relationship?”

“We never talk about unlearning, we always talk about learning,” Roberts says. “Sometimes you have to unlearn and I had to. I shared this with friends in a similar situation and they were like, ‘Wow, thank you.’ You have to really dig deep and go, ‘Is that what we think is love?’ No,’ but at the time we do.” 

Roberts revealed in January 2023 that she and Laign were planning to tie the knot. 

“I’m hesitating because I haven’t said it out loud yet… I’m saying ‘yes’ to marriage,” Roberts said during an interview with Gabby Bernstein about setting intentions for the new year. “We’re getting married this year.”

“It was something we had talked about, but we had put it off, she became ill,” Roberts added, referencing Laign’s 2021 breast cancer diagnosis. Roberts also fought breast cancer as well as myelodysplastic syndrome during their relationship. 

“It was a rough year; her journey with breast cancer took some unexpected twists and turns but she is doing really, really well,” Roberts told ET in March 2023. “Doctors said when it comes to treatment, it’s like women and shoes — they don’t always fit — and so they had to find the right fit for her with treatment.” 

However, the journalist confirmed that her partner’s prognosis “is excellent” and Laign is “ready to start a new chapter as well.”

“It is so exciting to know, like, I’ve been with this person for 18 years,” Roberts said, “and we’re still excited and we still want to be with each other and we still want to start this new chapter together.”

Later that year, the partners of nearly two decades tied the knot on Sept. 8, in their backyard in Farmington, Connecticut, and ET got the behind-the-scenes details on their big day.

JoAnn Gregoli, the couple’s event planner, worked with event designer Jen Gould to help Roberts and Laign craft their “ethereal, enchanted garden,” which had a specific focus on “sustainability and giving back.”

The location was “very meaningful” to the women, Gregoli said. To transform the space, Gregoli sourced trees for the women to stand under as they exchanged “I dos,” and decorated the area with Spanish moss, a nod to Roberts’ Southern roots.

“They were in shock,” Gregoli said of the first time the couple saw the venue. “I think Amber cried and she said, ‘You took my vision and you just took it to the next level. You just made my dreams come true.'”

After the ceremony was the party, which was attended by 250 guests. The setup, which took eight months to plan, included thousands of flowers, hundreds of candles, a 360-degree photo booth and a Prosecco truck. The phrase “love wins” was also displayed throughout.

“The entire wedding was filled with this thoughtfulness to each other,” Gregoli gushed. “They were so cute with each other.”

In February, Roberts gave ET an update on her life as a wife. “We’ve been together almost 19 years as a couple, and we truly feel like newlyweds. Love it, I wish someone had told us earlier how great married life is,” Roberts said. 

Roberts also provided a positive update on Laign’s health, revealing, “She is doing extremely well. The cancer is at bay, she’s recovering well and ready to move on to the next stage.”

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