Robin Roberts almost let history pass her by.
The Good Morning America anchor told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres on Monday that she almost turned down a 2012 exclusive interview in which then-president Barack Obama publicly shifted his stance on marriage equality.
Obama had previously said he supported civil unions but not full marriage equality for members of the LGBTQ community. His views on LGBTQ rights evolved over his career as an activist and elected official. In 2010, he repealed the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that required LGBTQ members of the military to keep their sexuality hidden in order to serve and the following February he ordered the Justice Department to stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
That opened the door for a historic sit-down between Roberts and Obama: no previous president publicly supported marriage equality or pushed for it as a matter of policy and it would be five more years before the Supreme Court fully gutted the Defense of Marriage Act.
But there was a problem: Roberts, one of the most recognizable faces in TV news, had never publicly acknowledged her own sexuality.
“I had not been public yet about being gay and I was afraid that I might be outed, that people might wonder, “Why is she the one interviewing the President when he’s making this change in his stance,” she told DeGeneres.
“And then it was kinda like a scene out of Moonstruck, slap, you know, snap out of it! You know, ‘Robin what are you thinking? It’s not about you. This man is going to impact countless lives.’
“And it was at that moment that I said, “I’m going to stop letting fear keep me from the things that I want to do.”
Also in the DeGeneres interview, Roberts talked about her partner, Amber Laign’s battle with breast cancer. Roberts is also a breast cancer survivor.