After Meredith Vieira announced she was leaving the Today show last month, the press began buzzing that she was doing to to care for her ailing husband.
Journalist Richard Cohen, 67, has multiple sclerosis. But Vieira, 57, says that while family did prompt her exit, it wasn't sparked by this facet specifically.
"It was being distorted, because it looked better to make it, 'Poor Meredith, she triumphs through it all,' but that wasn't the case," says Meredith.
Meredith Vieira and longtime co-host Matt Lauer.
His reaction to the rumor? "Richard said, 'What is this? You never tend to me! You won’t even get me a cup of coffee!'" joked Vieira this morning.
"I said, 'I know! This scam is working!' But enough gets to be enough."
In reality, she just grew wary of waking up at 2:30 a.m. to tape the NBC show much longer. Vieira decided she wanted to spend more time with her husband, whose condition has been good recently, and her three children, ages 18-22.
"We don't know from day to day what might happen," she says. "So why not enjoy life now? It's very precious, and anyone living with any kind of illness knows it. Health is fleeting, and you need to celebrate it while you still have it."