Meredith Vieira
Signs Off June 8

Making the decision to leave her $10 million Today show job wasn't easy for Meredith Vieira, but the host has her reasons. The first of which is sleep!

When news broke of Meredith Vieira leaving the Today show, many wondered why someone would leave such a prime job. With the host's June 8 departure date just days away, here's a look at five reasons Meredith Vieira is leaving Today.

2:30 a.m. wake-up calls

Meredith Vieira's $10 million job has taken a hefty toll on the 57-year-old's sleep. "If I get up at 4 a.m., I'm facing 20 emails and I don't handle that well," Meredith explained. "I'd rather absorb the material, read it thoroughly, feed the cats and dog, get the kitchen in order. I have to leave the mother's manual for everything."

She continued, "I need to feel on top of the day, and the only way I can do that is by getting up at 2:30. I always thought, if I could've figured out a way to cut corners a little bit, it would've been easier, but I couldn't."

She's over being 'Saint Meredith'

Keeping up her Today show duties as well as caring for her 63-year-old husband Richard Cohen, who is legally blind and has multiple sclerosis, has earned Meredith Vieira a reputation she isn't too fond of. She says, "As I've become more high-profile, that's become the secondary story: 'Oh, Meredith... with her sick husband.'"

"And I've always felt it diminished me and diminished him," she says. "It was being distorted, because it looked better to make it 'Poor Meredith, she triumphs through it all,' and that wasn't the case. And Richard's saying, 'What is this? You never tend to me! You won't even get me a cup of coffee!' I said, 'I know! This scam is working!' But enough gets to be enough."

A Focus on Health

Yet as much as she hates playing the martyr, Meredith Vieira does have the health of her family in mind. "So I've been going on three hours a night for the past five years," she said. "It was starting to wreak havoc on my health, and Richard was also starting to align himself with that schedule. If it was damaging to me, you can imagine what it was doing to him."

Richard agreed, saying, "The alarm goes off on both sides of the room -- it's been a very difficult five years. I have to admit, it's a bit of a relief that she's leaving. It's not a natural way to live."

About those kids

Twenty-two-year-old Ben recently graduated from Stanford; Gabe is 19 and Lily is 18. After Meredith Vieira leaves Today she will slow down and spend the summer with her family at their cottage on Cape Cod. Meredith said, "I'm looking forward to getting up in the morning and walking in my flip-flops with our dog Jasper to this incredible little bakery nearby. I'm looking forward to finding myself again."

Enjoying life now

"We don't know from day to day what might happen," Meredith, who has had to learn this the hard way, says. "So why not enjoy life now? It's very precious, and anyone living with any kind of illness knows that. Health is fleeting, and you need to celebrate it while you still have it."

Richard, seeming pleased with the news that wife Meredith Vieira is leaving Today, added, "It was time for her to reclaim her life. I think it was a good decision."

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Comments on "5 Reasons Meredith Vieira is leaving the Today show"

SRW September 14, 2012 | 11:03 AM

Okay, I just decided to see if there had been any changes to why Meredith left Today. To me, she was the reason for watching. If you can love someone you don't know, I do. She helped me make it through the day. Her demeanor exuded a peace that transmitted itself across the network. I miss her. Sometimes I do get to see Millionaire. Even reruns bring that peace. I often wondered how she maintained that peace with so little sleep and so much to do. I'm glad she is taking time for herself and her family.

Siobhan February 29, 2012 | 11:08 PM

I know this is probably too old for anyone to be reading further comments, but I'm shocked at the mean spiritedness of the two people who made such disparaging remarks.. At this venture in Meredith Viera's career, could you not have with held such venemous statements. It sounds a bit like jealousy to me. She is a beautiful person...as her colleagues stated, not the least full of herself...just natural. All I can say is if you don't like her (there is simply nothing NOT to like), you must be very bitter, sad, friendless people. Meredith Viera is a doll..she has her priorities in place, which is the reason she let go of the spotlight and a huge salary to reconnect with her family. Meredith, doubt you'll see this, but if per chance you do, I wish you well, and like the other women here who appreciate what you gave to us, I want to thank you for those mornings when I'd share my second cup of coffee with you and the rest of the ladies on the View..for your cheerfulness each morning that gave me a reason to smile and your wonderful interviewing skills..Also thank you for sticking around for "Millionaire"...at least I can see you on that show when I'm able to catch it..you're the best!

Nadia October 25, 2011 | 5:30 AM

I always hated Meredith. She was a bad reporter and a very stupid woman. Some of her comments left me wondering what NBC was thinking when they brought her on. I always missed Katie Couric and am glad to see that Meredith vacated a spot she shouldn't have been in anyway.

Juliana J August 24, 2011 | 1:50 AM

To Jessica from June 10th, What terrible comments to write about the lovely Meredith Viera! Shame on you!!!!!

Jessica June 10, 2011 | 11:00 AM

I'm glad she is gone, they should have picked Ann years ago and never bothered with Meredith! I thought Meredith was annoying on The View and then they moved her to the Today Show and I slowing stopped watching it! I love Ann and hope she has a long and happy career doing what she is meant to do!

julia taylor June 08, 2011 | 8:35 AM

Meredith will be missed in a million ways and those who are now doing the show will be loved in a million ways. Everyohe deserves the moments in the sun and the shade and as her life has filled with many facets, it is probably a good thing for her to take some time and polish them for herself. Faithfully, j

Retha Smith June 06, 2011 | 7:08 PM

Meredith I have watched you for years and liked without even knowing you, but I lost my husband in Feb. of this year and we have been married for over 50 years and I'm 65 years old and I miss him so badly that it hurts,so enjoy this time with your family and don't even look back, I send you best wishes, I've never done anything like this before,sending a e-mail but ,I wish I had been able to have a just a few more hours with my husband,so good luck and tell Richard I think you're both very lucky.

Vern Haerling June 04, 2011 | 10:55 PM

Meredith--I have been going on no more than 8hrs. And never more than 6 hours in a row for 15 years.l I know what sleep deprivation can do So, you go girl and good luck. Thank you for doing what you did.

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