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Lester Holt Reveals the Secret to His Nearly 40-Year Marriage to Wife Carol

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Those who watch NBC Nightly News know Lester Holt as an iconic, award-winning journalist. But to his wife, Carol Hagen, he's also a loving husband and father of two.

Lester and Carol crossed paths for the first time well before he made it to the desk at NBC News. According to Heavy.com, People did a 2004 profile of Lester and reported that Carol, who has built an impressive career as a real estate agent, was working as a flight attendant at the time of their meeting. Lester was a student at California State University, where he was studying government.

While not a ton is known about their dating life in the early 1980s, Carol told Sactown Magazine that early on in their relationship, Lester was called to cover a forest fire in Napa Valley and asked her to come along.

Photo credit: Neilson Barnard
Photo credit: Neilson Barnard

"I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve never been invited to go on a breaking news story before,'" she recalled to the outlet. She added, "I guess I knew what I was getting myself into with Lester and his career."

Later on when Lester landed a reporter job at WCBS-TV, Carol, who was reportedly let go during the airline industry's contraction in 1981, followed him to New York. The pair wound up tying the knot in 1982. After that, however, the couple quickly moved to Los Angeles when Lester landed a job at KCBS-TV (then KNXT) as a weekend anchor and reporter. Lester would eventually wind up back at WCBS and move to Chicago to anchor the afternoon and evening news at WBBM-TV before coming onto MSNBC in 2000.

In 1987, the couple welcomed their first son, Stefan Holt, into the world while living in the Windy City. Stefan has followed in his father's career footsteps, establishing himself as an award-winning journalist and anchor at NBC 5 News after a previous stint at WNBC-TV.

Photo credit: Eugene Gologursky
Photo credit: Eugene Gologursky

A few years later, the pair celebrated the birth of their second son, Cameron. He now works as an equity derivatives trader.

Through many life milestones, including job moves and parenting struggles, Carol and Lester have managed to stay strong. According to Lester, the secret to their success lies in their ability to laugh.

"We laugh a lot, we really do. I can be silly, she can be sillier," Lester told Extra. "We just laugh through things and we know that everything, tough times will be a story at some point, and boy have I put her through some tough times with this job."

He continued: "She understands that when the bell rings, I like to answer it, when the big story's going on, I want to be there … I love her to death, she's been so wonderful, she knows this job is going to bring a lot of late-night phone calls ... but she's there for me and that means an awful lot."

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The couple now enjoy their time together being grandparents, with Lester being called "granddude" by his two grandsons Henry, 3, and Sam, 1. Stefan and his wife, Morgan, are currently expecting baby boy number three, per the Today show.

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