April 28, 2014 12:00 PM

One of the perks of being a journalist is the opportunity to appear on morning television. And for a morning-news junkie, there’s nothing more fun than being backstage at one of the network shows. There’s always a mismatched collection of celebrities in the green room—where you can also do things like take a selfie with Psy or scratch the winner of the Westminster dog show behind the ears. You also see what the anchors are really like (Matt Lauer, for one, has a wicked sense of humor; he likes to disarm you with jokes before the cameras roll). And I’ve never seen anyone more consistently serene and happy, both on screen and off, than Robin Roberts. This year, a couple of days before the Oscars, I watched her do a remote from Los Angeles’s Dolby Theater around 4 a.m. on almost no sleep. But she was the same as always, gracious and cheerful, as if there were nowhere she’d rather be than an empty theater in full makeup in the middle of the night. In Sharon Cotliar’s cover story, Robin talks about her recovery from three life-changing events—cancer, a rare blood and bone-marrow disease, and her mother’s death—and how she made it through by believing “the best is yet to come.” For the first time, Robin also talks about her own coming-out journey and her girlfriend, who played a key role in her recovery. It’s an inspiring story, and there’s a powerful lesson in there: No matter how terrible life may seem, gratitude for the good stuff can make all the difference.

JESS CAGLE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Follow me on Twitter @MrJessCagle

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