Ann Curry has broken her silence since abruptly leaving the Today show in 2012.
The 61-year-old journalist awkwardly exited Todayin June of 2012, following rumors that she was fired due to her lack of chemistry with then co-anchor Matt Lauer. In a new sit-down with People, Curry reflects on the painful exit.
“It hurt like hell,” she admits. “It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been honest and true. I’ve tried to stay pure. I’ve tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I’ve stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I’m also proud of myself.”
“Experience has taught me, as a journalist, the No. 1 thing you have to be is humble,” she also says about maintaining her silence for slightly more than five years. “It’s not about you.”
During her farewell episode, Curry tearfully acknowledged that her dismissal after just a year on the job was unexpected.
"For all of you, who saw me as a ground-breaker, I'm sorry I couldn't carry the ball over the finish line but I did try," she said at the time. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me touch yours. I will keep trying."
These days, Curry has no regrets, and says she is "stronger" after having gone through the difficult period.
“I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard,” she acknowledges. “But I had to let go. And I learned that when you not only let go but open your arms wide and learn the lessons that an experience -- no matter how bad -- can teach you, that’s when you rise.”
“I can say today I’m stronger now,” she adds. “I’m smarter. I’m happier, as happy as I’ve ever been. And my compassion has only grown. When you go through the pain and learn the lessons, you will be changed for the better.”
Curry's dismissal from the NBC morning show drew plenty of criticism in the months that followed. In 2013, New York Times reporter Brian Stelter's book, Top of the Morning, detailed an alleged organized scheme to oust Curry from the show.
"It wasn't obvious at the time, but Ann Curry was a dead woman walking," Stelter wrote. "She was never really given a chance to co-host the show. She was being undermined the whole time."
"Ann Curry's last few days at Today were gut-wrenching," he continued. "I was watching outside from the windows and I could see that Matt Lauer and Ann Curry would never speak to each other except when they had to on camera."
"The women's movement got us into the workplace, but it didn't make us safe once we got there," she also told the magazine. "And the battle lines are now clear. We need to move this revolution forward and make our workplaces safe. Corporate America is quite clearly failing to do so, and unless it does something to change that, we need to keep doing more ourselves."
For more on the Lauer scandal, watch the video below: