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Robin Roberts is a broadcasting legend, but her career was nearly cut short. In a recent interview, Roberts revealed that she thought she would be fired from Good Morning America all the way back in 2005. Here’s what happened.

Hurricane Katrina

To make sense of her story, you need to learn where Roberts comes from. She grew up in Mississippi before attending Southeastern Lousiana University. There, she graduated cum laude and began her illustrious broadcasting career for WWL-TV, the New Orleans CBS affiliate. She has family and loved ones in New Orleans because of this.

On TheSkimm’s 9 to 5ish podcast, Roberts discussed what it was like covering Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At the conclusion of a report. Her co-anchor asked her if she was able to make contact with her loved ones. She says, “I just ugly cried. I was bawling….In part because of gratitude that my family was safe. But also knowing that there are people tuning in that morning who felt like I had – not knowing about the condition of their loved ones.”

Roberts says, “I thought I was going to be fired on the spot. You don’t cry on national TV like that.” As it turned out, the emotional moment would be a boon for her career. Folks thought she was being authentic. Roberts says, “I was in the moment and I was sharing what I was feeling. And I was so grateful that the audience responded with donations to that area.” She was able to turn a vulnerable moment into genuine good for the region.

A Wake-Up Call

The 2005 incident completely changed Roberts’s outlook on broadcasting. She realized that authenticity matters for viewers, and it’s a great way to maintain trust. She says, “ it just taught me I don’t have to put on a persona…I don’t have to wake up and go, ‘Ok, this is how I’m supposed to act.’ No, if you just be who you are, people respond to that.”

She’s Returned Many Times

On the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Roberts made a point of returning to the city and seeing how the city was rebounding from the storm. Once again, she put her vulnerability on full display in support of both her career and a cause that matters.

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Were it not for this incident in 2005, Roberts’s career could look very different. She’s an inspiration to millions thanks to her transparency, especially when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Learning it was okay to be vulnerable on the world stage helped her open up about this and do even more good down the line.

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