The master interviewer has become interviewee. Barbara Walters sat down with Vanity Fair‘s Curtis Sittenfeld for a profile ahead of her May 16 retirement from TV, where she discussed future plans and her six decades in the business.
Here are five reveals from the profile of the veteran journalist.
1. Walters’ retirement plan? Be a homebody
“Mostly, I just sort of want to stay home,” Walters says of her future plans. The journalist, who has been married four times to three men, says she is single and has no desire to find a boyfriend.
2. Monica Lewinsky reflects on why Walters was the first to interview her
The former White House intern turned down million dollar offers for interviews in favor of her famous sitdown with Walters. Looking back, Lewinsky says Walters introduced her “to the world as more than a headline or punchline—as a human being and a young woman,” adding ” People tuned in to the interview not just because they were curious about me, but because it was going to be through Barbara Walters’s trusted perspective.”
3. Walters (still) denies having an affair with Fidel Castro
Walters has admitted to developing an attraction to the Cuban leader while boating with him on assignment in 1977, but she denies things got physical. She also bemoans the decline of fascinating international figures: “There is no Fidel Castro, except for Fidel Castro,” she said. “There is no one like Margaret Thatcher. There are no huge world leaders that [make] people [say], ‘Oh, if you could only get an interview with so-and-so!’”
4. Walters would ditch the celebrity interviews on The View if ratings didn’t matter
“We’re not Meet the Press,” she said, explaining why the show books famous faces. “We have an obligation to do a balance and be funny.”
5. She credits family troubles with her success
At 28, Walters became the de facto head of her family. After her financially strapped father overdosed on sleeping pills, she was tasked with caring for her parents and older sister, who had cognitive disabilities: “Most men, if they hated the job, or if it was boring to them or beneath them, they had to work. The women didn’t. …. I had to work. That’s the difference.”
Read the full profile of Walters here.