‘ENOUGH of being the nice women we’ve been raised to be’: How Megyn Kelly battled sexual harassment at Fox and a year as the target of Trump’s tweets, then settled for more at NBC

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Megyn Kelly is the host of

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Megyn Kelly is the host of “Megyn Kelly Today” on NBC News.
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Theo Wargo/Getty Images
  • Megyn Kelly is the host of “Megyn Kelly Today” on NBC News. She was formerly the host of “The Kelly File” at Fox News.
  • She has faced criticism from viewers on the left and right, and from President Donald Trump. During the first presidential debate, she famously asked him about his treatment of women.
  • Kelly’s book, “Settle for More,” was published in 2016. In it, she says she has found joy in her life at her new job.

Megyn Kelly was already a rising star at Fox News when she hit the big time by taking on a presidential candidate named Donald Trump.

Then we learned that Kelly had been sexually harassed by Fox News chief Roger Ailes.

Roger Ailes was fired – the first volley in what’s become a national reckoning. Kelly left for NBC News, where she now hosts the third hour of the “Today” show. It’s a departure for the former lawyer. At Fox, she faced criticism for being too outspoken and prosecutorial; at NBC, critics say she’s too soft.

“I really hope that in my new position people will just see me for who I am,” Kelly said on Thursday at Business Insider’s annual IGNITION conference. “And I really hope that in my new position people will just see me for who I am … You’ll see me and you’ll figure out who I am, and then people will accept, or not accept, based on what they see, and that’s all I can ask anybody.”

We turned the IGNITION interview between Kelly and Business Insider US Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell into a special episode of our podcast, “Success! How I Did It.” Kelly talks about the wave of sexual-harassment allegations, how she explained the criticism she’s received to her children, and why she wanted to take a break from political journalism.

Listen to the episode:

Subscribe to “Success! How I Did It” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, RadioPublic, or your favorite app. Check out previous episodes with:

Following is a transcript of the interview, which has been lightly edited for clarity.

Kelly onstage with Business Insider Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell at IGNITION 2017.

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Kelly onstage with Business Insider Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell at IGNITION 2017.
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Getty

Alyson Shontell: We spoke just hours after Kelly’s colleague and longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer was fired after allegations of sexual harassment. She addressed it on her show just before she joined me onstage. I started the conversation by asking her if she saw the news coming.

Megyn Kelly: I didn’t have any official knowledge, but because of the work I do and the stories I cover and the connections I have in the industry, I have a general feel for – I mean, I knew the Charlie Rose thing was coming. And I had heard rumors about Matt, but that’s all they were. And my feeling on it was, a rumor is not the same as reportable fact. And it was also that I hear a lot of rumors about myself, too, that are completely untrue, and when you’re a public figure, people do make up things about you and put them in print. So I had no inside knowledge at all, but I knew people were sniffing around the issue, and hoped it wasn’t true, and wouldn’t have been surprised if none of that had materialized and he had a long and enjoyable last however many years he wanted to be at the “Today” show.

Shontell: And so you said on your show this morning it did hit close to home. This is now the second colleague of yours, at least, who has had something like this happen.

Kelly: Third, really. I mean, well, the fourth. I don’t –

Shontell: Yeah, Bill O’Reilly.

Kelly: Just looking back at Fox, you know, it’s like, O’Reilly was a colleague, Roger Ailes was my boss, Eric Bolling was a friend. I don’t know – I’m losing track of all – but, yeah, a lot.

Sexual harassment at Fox News

Roger Ailes was ousted as the CEO of Fox News 2016 after several women, including Kelly, came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.

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Roger Ailes was ousted as the CEO of Fox News 2016 after several women, including Kelly, came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.
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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Shontell: It’s so sad. So you’ve got quite enough experience with this, unfortunately.

And as someone who has had it happen to them, one thing that happened to you is Roger Ailes, who had been your boss and your mentor, I believe he sounded really supportive of you at the time. He promoted you twice when you were on maternity leave.

Kelly: At least.

Shontell: Yeah, and he just saw you as a star and helped you rise through Fox. But then you have this great mentor who, in your first year or two at Fox, you say he sexually harassed you. How did you cope with that as a woman who had this happen to her?

Kelly: Well, I mean, he harassed me early on in my tenure at Fox, and we got past it, and so those promotions and all of that happened after we got past it. But I was scared when it happened to me. I was a second-year reporter at Fox; I wasn’t the me that I am now. I had no power in the industry at all, and no power at Fox News. I was working in the DC bureau and I was doing well. I was making my bones, I was reporting on big cases at the Supreme Court using my legal background, breaking news – the Duke alleged-rape case was a big case for me and I got that one right and most reporters didn’t. It was good for me.

You know, my career was going well. And so when he started, it wasn’t clear. He was always bawdy and had an inappropriate sense of humor, but I’ve never been somebody who really takes offense at that. And so I was quick to write off the comments like, “Oh, that’s just him.” So the harassment that I went through wasn’t obviously harassment in the beginning, and then it graduated. It just got worse and worse and worse, to the point where you couldn’t deny it. It was explicit, quid pro quo sexual harassment, which was basically, “You sleep with me and I’ll give you a promotion.” And even in those moments, I tried to laugh it off and pretend I wasn’t hearing what I was hearing, or try to pretend that I had misunderstood because I didn’t want a direct confrontation with him. I didn’t want to have to reject him explicitly, and I think this is telling because a lot of women to whom this happens in the workplace have this calculation where you’re thinking, “Holy you-know-what. My whole job is on the line right now. The last thing I want to do is upset and reject my boss.” You know? We generally want to charm our bosses and have them feel good about us. The culmination of it was in his office when – because you’d go in there and he’d shut the door and he’d lock the door.

Shontell: That’s terrifying.

Kelly: And you would sort of shrug it off because he was known to be very paranoid about security. But that feeling – I’ll never forget – of, like, going in there and having him lock that door. So it culminated in him trying to be with me physically, and it was only at that point where you couldn’t pretend it wasn’t happening anymore that I really had to come to terms with it. And I ran out of the guy’s office. He tried to grab me three times, make out with me, which he didn’t, but I had to shove him off of me and he came back and I shoved him again and he came back a third time. And then when I shoved him off the third time, he asked me when my contract was up.

Shontell: Oh my god. You clearly went on from that and I think in your book you talk about how you distanced yourself as much as you could from him after these things.

Kelly: Well, I reported it to a supervisor who told me, “Just steer clear of him.”

Shontell: Wow.

Kelly: Which really, I mean, at the time, seemed like good advice because it was a good way to navigate forward, but in retrospect was terrible, terrible advice.

Shontell: So you were in a powerless position at the time. When you finally did speak out about it after other colleagues started talking about it, you were in a powerful position. A lot of women who are having to come forward now are not powerful, and as you talked about on your show this morning, you don’t see the pain that they’re going through as something like Matt Lauer is addressed. So what advice do you have for them if they’re scared to come forward, if they’re maybe not in a powerful position?

Kelly: Well, I understand that because I feel like it’s all well and good for me to sit here now in the position I now am in and say, “Report it,” you know? “Go to human resources.” Human resources was not an option for me at all at Fox News. It was an entity completely controlled by the CEO – Ailes – who was my harasser. It would have been totally pointless. And I did report it to a supervisor, for that matter, who did nothing about it, predictably.

So I want to say to those women: I understand. It’s not that I am oblivious of how hard it is to go report. But I also want to say: Find a way. Because the culture – I don’t want to say has changed, but it is changing meaningfully by the moment, thanks to the women who are finding the courage somehow. Who are finding the courage.

Let me tell you: When this happens to you by somebody who’s not that much above you, it’s not as scary to report it. The women who don’t tend to report are the ones who are very low on the totem pole, who are having it happen to them by somebody who is in a lot of power, who they know – because they’re not idiots – the company is likely to protect. They have a vested interest in this man. And I think to those women, they need to take a look at the broader culture right now and see how companies are being forced to respond and men who have been doing this now have real skin in the game. You know?

Look at the number of men who have been fired. Powerful men who were considered indispensable. We never would have thought Roger Ailes would have been fired by Fox News ever. Bill O’Reilly, he was considered indispensable. Wrong. Charlie Rose. On and on and on it goes. So I think they have to find the courage to seek somebody out and if they can’t make it be someone in power, someone with real responsibility at the company, go to someone like me. Someone who maybe doesn’t have a mandatory reporting obligation within the company but who would be there to advise you.

And let me tell you: If a woman came to me at NBC News and said this has happened to me by somebody, A, I would advise her on what to do, and B, I would work it behind the scenes to – even if I had to go into the boss’ office and say, “Here’s a name; go investigate. You have to do some sort of looking. I’m not going to tell you who reported – I don’t have to.” But I think powerful women need to be there for less powerful women so that they can grow into powerful women. So that they’re not scared out of the workforce or effectively shoved out. Because so often what we see is, a woman gets moved, suddenly her work product isn’t as good, right? She chooses to leave because she doesn’t want to live like that. These companies are bleeding awesome female talent because women don’t want to deal with this nonsense. So if it gets to the point where they just can’t take it anymore and they don’t feel like there’s any meaningful avenue, they’ll leave.

The debate question that rocked the world

In 2016 Kelly received a lot of attention — and plenty of criticism — for asking presidential candidate Donald Trump about his treatment of women.

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In 2016 Kelly received a lot of attention — and plenty of criticism — for asking presidential candidate Donald Trump about his treatment of women.
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Fox News screenshot

Shontell: So I could talk to you about this the entire time, but there’s so much other ground to cover, so I want to transition a little bit. Still a little bit on the harassment lines, though. You were a subject of this, but I want to go back to the August 2015 debate, the first presidential debate, when you asked this question that rocked the world and sent ripple effects. And I want to set the scene for it a little bit, too. You and Trump had had some interactions the week prior; he seemed nervous about you; he had actually hung up the phone on you that week; he had been calling your bosses, being like, “What’s Megyn going to do in the debate?” Were you worried about that night knowing what you were going to be asking him about women?

Kelly: I mean, I could feel a storm coming. That’s how it felt. He was angry with me, and he yelled at me and hung up on me the Monday before that Thursday debate because of a segment I had done on “The Kelly File” about his alleged rape of Ivana Trump, a story that had been reported in the news. It was based on her sworn deposition testimony saying he had raped her, and then she later recanted.

Anyway, this was made an issue in the press in the course of his presidential run and we covered it on “The Kelly File,” which he was not happy about. So he called me up and yelled at me and screamed at me and blah, blah, blah. My question that I asked that night about women had long been in the bank, you know? It wasn’t like I wrote that after he yelled at me. But it certainly did make me realize he’s already angry and he’s not going to like this question, but what can you do? You’re a journalist. Sometimes you make people angry.

Shontell: So you ask it –

Kelly: That’s the job.

Shontell: And Trump’s clearly not happy. He goes and talks about you “bleeding out of wherever.” His lawyer tweets about you being gutted or gutting her.

Kelly: “We can gut her.”

Shontell: Yeah, so tell me about what the weeks and months were, like, being, as Maureen Dowd put it, “Trump’s chew toy.”

Kelly: [Looks to the audience] I know you’re laughing, but I really don’t like that.

I didn’t like that at all and objected. I didn’t like the way she phrased it. It was bullshit. Can you swear here? I wasn’t. I never backed down from him. I never stopped covering him fairly. The controversies he generated. I never was cowed out of fear, even though the security threats in my life went like this. In my children’s lives, like this. And it was hard to go out there night after night and do that and find the courage to cover him fairly but not overcorrect to the point where you bashed him because he was coming after you and causing this issue in your life.

And I was not his “chew toy.” He continued to try to bully me and I call it an attempted bullying because an effective bullying causes change in the other person’s behavior. He didn’t. Dan Scavino, who’s now the White House director of social media, who was relentless, too, and orchestrated a campaign against me online. Michael Cohen, who was the one whose Trump’s lawyer, he’s now working for the president, who said, “we can gut her.” I mean, to tens of thousands of people, he’s tweeting out, “We can gut her,” when there’s a fever pitch already against me. It wouldn’t stop. Nothing would stop the behavior. He never could get past it. And finally, I decided to take the situation in hand and go right to Trump Tower and stand him down, which is what I did.

Protecting her family

Kelly and her husband, Doug Brunt, have three children.

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Kelly and her husband, Doug Brunt, have three children.
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Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Shontell: Right, but that’s after your daughter came to you and said, “Mom, what’s a bimbo?” And asked you, “Does Donald Trump want to hurt you?'” And you had people showing up at your door, at your home, your family’s security is at stake. That must have been awful.

Kelly: The Yardley moment was maybe the lowest moment of all. I mean it’s one of the lowest moments –

Shontell: And Yardley is your daughter.

Kelly: She’s my daughter. She’s 6 now. We didn’t share with our kids at all any of his nonsense because they have enough to worry about and needn’t worry about presidential politics and certainly not anything involving me and the possible president.

But they heard things, you know – they live in this world. So Yardley came home one day and asked me, “What’s a bimbo?” Because he had tweeted that out about me. And the thing about it that was so devastating is a year earlier, not a year, not long earlier, I can’t remember exactly the timing, but I had taken her with me to the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference and she said to me on the train ride down there, “What is this thing we’re going to?” And I said, “Well, this is a conference that talks about really powerful women who have done great things and celebrates them.” And she looked at me and said, “Are we two of them?” I thought about the loss that my child had suffered without even knowing it.

You know, going from thinking she was, at 5 or 4 at the time, a Fortune Most Powerful Woman, to asking me what a bimbo is. To this moment, it’s painful.

Listen, a lot of people call me names. I can take it. But there was a loss in that moment. She lost something. And every time a man, whether it is our president or a news anchor, demeans or diminishes a woman by grabbing her ass or talking about her body or coming onto her instead of asking for her ideas and treating her like a professional in the workplace setting, they lose something, too. It’s not a small matter. It’s a huge deal. And it’s been happening systemically for far too long. I feel like this is the first moment we’re starting to think, “Maybe it doesn’t have to keep happening. Maybe we won’t be the nice women and girls we’ve been raised to be.” That is what is prized among women and young girls: niceness, go along to get along, don’t cause waves. Enough of that. Enough of that.

Shontell: And so you’re talking about that a lot on your show and using that to power the empowerment revolution, as I think you like to say. But I want to talk about how you came to NBC. You come off this very tough year being a subject of 100 Trump tweets and you realize, what? What was it about Fox that made you be like, “I need something else. I want something new.” NBC is a big change.

Kelly: It was a combination of a lot of things. First and foremost, I was not seeing my children grow up. I would leave for work at 3, 3:30, which is exactly when your kids get home from school. They had aged into that school schedule. When I started “The Kelly File,” they were 4, 3, and newborn. By the time I left, two out of the three were in school till 3. So I wasn’t seeing them. I wasn’t seeing two out of my three children Monday through Friday except for that 45 minutes in the morning where you’re just yelling at them to get their backpack and their sneakers and get out. You know? Which is not meaningful. So I wasn’t happy. It wasn’t good enough. I’m fine being a working parent. I need to be a working parent. I love my work. That wasn’t good enough – the balance had tipped too far. Professionally, I really felt like there was no more growth for me at Fox News. I had done all the things I wanted to do there.

Deciding on a career shift

Shontell: I think a lot of people would say that right now is the most important time in the history of American politics, and you were seen as a leader, you had this great following on Fox, you have the base’s ear watching your show. Why take yourself out of politics right now? Don’t you think the world needs more of that hard-hitting journalism?

Kelly: I’m all for hard-hitting journalism. But I do feel that in the era of Trump, you might as well go stand on the edge of the Pacific and scream at the top of your lungs all day, every day. So I mean, I can tell you, truly, I anchored on the Fox New Channel at 9:00 p.m., one of the – if not the – most powerful time slot there for a full year, and I covered every controversy of his, earnestly, and tough, in a tough manner. From the Gold Star family, Judge Curiel, women, you name it. Right? I was the first to call out his misogyny publicly. Did it do any good? Were hearts and minds changed? Was there an available audience to me, at the Fox News Channel, of Republicans and Independents and Democrats who were open-minded, who were there for persuading? You tell me.

It’s not to say that there’s not value in political journalism. I do believe that journalists are the first-draft historians, and there’s value in that. But if you are covering politics to try to persuade people – which is what I think people wanted me to do – you’re wasting your time. The Trump voters are dug in on Trump. The Trump haters are dug in on Trump. There’s so much that goes into their very strong views on him, and frankly, I thought to myself, “I could also get into a bath every morning of carcinogens and just roll around in it all day,” but that’s not good for me, either. My whole feeling, it’s not just Trump. My feeling on the Beltway, on political news, is, the folks in the Beltway are dead to us – we have to forge on without them. The leaders to me are – nine times out of 10 – are feckless and spineless, and often controlled by big-money interests. And don’t seem to have any real appetite anymore for getting things done, or reaching across the aisle, or reaching compromises that work for the American people.

We have to do an end-around. And I would love to be part of raising powerful boys and girls, sending messages out into the world and our country that are more positive and inspirational and aspirational, and celebrating people who have had challenges in their own lives, and showing people a way to deal with them. That I think has value. That is not screaming into the Pacific. So I admire those who do it – don’t get me wrong. It’s hard – it’s harder than it’s ever been – to be in political journalism. I tip my hat to my colleagues who do it, and I know them all. But I can see on most of them the wear and tear. How hard it is, and how not rewarding right now.

Shontell: So it sounds like screaming into the Pacific – it almost felt like a helpless situation no matter what you said.

Kelly: Oh I would never use that word about me, or my life.

Shontell: Right, well, fair, but at NBC it sounds like you’re hoping to reach the core of America and influence their values, and do that with you show. You’ve interviewed Trump, Putin, dealt with all sorts of things.

Kelly: Big Bird.

Shontell: Big Bird, of course.

Kelly: The full range.

Shontell: Has it been hard – harder than you thought – to do a morning show? Where you’re, like, happy and cheery and lighter?

Kelly: No, it hasn’t been hard, and I don’t really think about challenges in my life as “hard.” I don’t think that’s helpful thinking. I like challenges. I said to my husband, when I was thinking about leaving Fox. We were actually in Lake Placid. We were hiking up this mountain – it was a small mountain, I’m not an exerciser. But we got to the top, and I said … I was thinking about: Do I leave? Do I stay? And I said, “You know, sometimes, sometimes the ascent is more enjoyable than being at the summit.” Building something, creating something, building new muscles, you know? Growing.

And that’s what I’m doing. My friends who know me, they see the me they know on the “Today” show. People who only knew me from snippets of Fox News think I’m all sharp elbows. And I have them, and I can use them, and I still will, but that’s not all of me. And I actually think it’s been a very sexist meme to suggest that because you can throw a sharp elbow, when necessary, that you have no softness to you. I would submit that is not true of me, nor any woman I know, nor any man, for that matter.

So, for me, it’s been a delight because I have this platform where I can tap into the other pieces of me, and if you need to be hard-hitting in any given interview – and I’ve already had a couple of those on my show – you can be. But I also have these other venues at NBC that allow me to do political journalism. I’ll be on-air for NBC on the big political nights, and on the Sunday show, where I did Putin, and all that’s still fair game. It’s just my focus is on something that I hope is more uplifting, than this stoking of outrage you get in political coverage.

Facing criticism

Kelly has faced criticism for her work at Fox News and NBC News.

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Kelly has faced criticism for her work at Fox News and NBC News.
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Comedy Central

Shontell: If you were hoping to not be the story anymore, I think that has not happened. You have constantly been in the news.

Kelly: Let’s cede that point.

Shontell: Yeah, you have a very big fan at Jezebel who writes about you quite often and you invited him on the show.

Kelly: Bobby Finger.

Shontell: Yes, your favorite. And he came on your show, and it was a kind of funny moment. So how do you deal with the criticism and the ratings talk? Is there pressure from NBC to really nail this morning hour?

Kelly: They’ve been great. NBC has put zero pressure on me. I’ve only felt supported by them.

You know, we’re just little babies, like a little 9-week-old baby on my show, and so we’re getting it going. Right now we’re starting to find our voice, hit our stride, and things are growing. And so I feel good about it, they feel good about it, and they’ve done nothing other than support. Criticism, it’s part of the game. I’m not going to lie; it isn’t pleasant. It’s not like I’m impervious to it. I’m just like, “I’m fine.” I cry. I hold my husband and say, “Why does it have to be so hard? Why does it have to be this way?”

But then I pick myself up, dust myself off, and just do the damn job. I mean, that’s what you have to do. And if you go through it enough times, it does get easier, which is what I want to tell others. So if a big crisis hits you in your life or you find yourself on the receiving end of great criticism, whether it’s as public as I have, or some other amount, you should welcome it, because it’s an opportunity to grow. You will emerge out the other side stronger than when you began. And there’s value in that.

Shontell: So you’re not someone who’s afraid to speak your mind, to do what you believe is right, even if it is unpopular. At times you’ve been proven really right. And I’d say one of those moments is Alex Jones. You had a lot of flak for interviewing him, and then the interview came out, and people were, like, “Oh, this is actually important journalism.” You had a moment on Fox News where you defended women in the workplace, to the point where a stranger named Sheryl Sandberg called you up and said, “I love you,” which is amazing.

But you’ve also had moments where, when you’re constantly speaking your mind, you’re going to say things that don’t always resonate or people don’t agree with. I think one notable one was “Santa is white” on Fox. The first week of your show, there were a few statements that rubbed people the wrong way about Jane Fonda, and plastic surgery, and things like that. Upon further reflection, do you regret anything you’ve said out there – and is Santa still white?

Kelly: I regret a lot of what I said. I mean, you’re going to be on the air several hours a week, live television, you’re gonna say stupid shit. That’s just the reality.

So, yeah, there’s a lot I’d like to go back and say differently. All I can tell you is: The lens is a truth teller, and people who watch you day after day will see who you are without the caricature of you that’s put out there by websites and so on, looming over you. One of my great struggles at Fox was I felt everything I did was viewed through a negative prism by those who didn’t like Fox or what it stands for. And I hated that. I think there are a lot of people over there who are good people and solid journalists, who I love, who struggle with that. And I’m sure people at other stations have the same thing.

People have a worldview about certain journalists or their organizations. And I really hope that in my new position people will just see me for who I am, not through that prism. So far, I feel like it’s happening, but I feel like time will tell. You’ll see me, and you’ll figure out who I am, and then people will accept, or not accept, based on what they see, and that’s all I can ask anybody.

Settling for more and finding joy

Shontell: So, your philosophy on life. You wrote a bestseller called “Settle for More,” and it came from when you were a lawyer. You were a high-powered lawyer on track to become a partner in your early 30s, and you watched Dr. Phil on Oprah, and he says something that really just resonates. What was that? And then how did you put it to action?

Kelly: He said, “The only difference between you and someone you envy is you settled for less.” And honestly, I resolved in that moment that I would settle for more, that I would change my life. I had been a very unhappy lawyer; I had no life. I didn’t understand. I became a lawyer because I thought it would help people take me seriously. I thought it was somehow going to legitimize me to have an ESQ after my name, and it did. To some extent, it did. But at what cost?

I wasn’t happy. After 9/11, I was in Chicago practicing law, and I saw these journalists out there on the street – at great risk to themselves – reporting the news, fairly professionally, appropriately, humanely. Like, they didn’t lose their humanity in doing it, but they also weren’t making the story about themselves. I thought, “Wow, I admire them. I admire them.” And I always thought about broadcast journalism, and I was feeling, of the reporters, a certain kind of envy of, like, “They’re doing a public service to me, right now, as a viewer watching this.”

So it was after that I heard Dr. Phil. My life was miserable, and I decided to settle for more and just try something else. And it worked out. I didn’t know anybody in journalism, and I didn’t have any connections. I didn’t come from a family with connections of any kind, but there was a woman, named Meredith, in my guitar class, and as it turned out, not long after that, she wasn’t there. I found out it was because she worked at WMAQ, the Chicago NBC. And I said, “Oh, my God, you’re in news? Can I take you out for a cup of coffee?” She said yes. She helped me make a résumé tape, which is what you need to get an on-air job as a reporter, and the rest is history.

Shontell: And so you’ve become extremely successful. I think you own a green T-shirt that says “I want it all.” I would say that you do. To quote this good friend of yours now, Dr. Phil, he said, “Successful lawyer, top journalist, wife, mother of three – if that’s a bimbo, I hope all of my granddaughters grow up to be bimbos.” So now that you do have it all, are you happy? Are you exhausted? Is it possible to become too successful?

Kelly: Happy and exhausted, yes. I would say I’m as happy as an Irish Catholic can be.

I don’t know. There’s a lot of guilt. I am happy. I am. It’s like, my happiness doesn’t revolve so much around my job, although my job right now is joyful. It revolves around the core people of my life who make me, who help make me me. So your job, I think, it can drive you to unhappiness. I’ve certainly seen that. And it can stir up your happiness, like it can maybe take it up a notch or two. But I am happy because I have Doug and I have my three children, and I have my good friends, and they make me feel connected to other human beings in this world. My children make me feel hopeful. My husband makes me feel connected and supported. That’s what I need. And to me, it’s very empowering.

Whether it was my job at Fox, my job at NBC, my job as a lawyer, none of that has power over me. I don’t lie awake at night worrying about that stuff, because it can come and it can go, and I’ll be just fine. I am still here, and I have my people, and I have myself, and I believe in what I stand for, and I know who I am because I’ve been self-reflective and I’ve thought about it and I’ve tried to do better, you know? I think too often we give too much power to the things that drive our ego, you know? And I think one of the blessings of the launch of my show, which has, you know, not been without some bumps in the road, has been the joy I’ve felt for the past nine weeks, because I think it’s a tell that my happiness is real. It is connected to the work I’m doing and the people I’ve surrounded myself with.

And there’s not some outside ego-driven thing happening, of “my power” or “my reach” or my whatever. It isn’t about the money or the ratings or any of that. It is about the way I feel. In the same way they say you know who your friends are by the way you feel when you’re around them. I feel like you know whether you’ve made the right life choices by the way you feel when you’re around those choices. When I am around my NBC family and my show I feel great. I feel like this – I really do. When I’m around my husband I feel like this. And it wasn’t always thus. I used to be married to somebody else; it didn’t work out. It was part of settling for more, and he wound up married to a woman he loves and they have three children, so it worked out well for both of us. But I think it leads with an honest gut check. You have to do it. And so you can lie to as many people as you want about your level of happiness and what works for you, but you must not lie to yourself.

Shontell: Megyn, thank you so much for the time. It’s been fun.

Kelly: My pleasure.