Still, the former Today anchor says she's enjoying the perks of waking up at a more reasonable hour

By Sara Hammel
December 13, 2011 08:00 PM
Credit: Michael N. Todaro/Getty

Meredith Vieira may have said goodbye to her job as co-anchor of the Today show, but don’t use the “R” word around her.

“It’s funny. When I left Today and people asked me what retirement was like, I said, ‘What are you talking about? I’m not retired!'” she tells Parade.

Vieira, 57, has said she left the job in part to spend more time with her husband, journalist Richard Cohen, who has secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis.

But she’s still working – and has gigs as a special correspondent for Today and host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

“If you look at my career path, it’s been always about prioritizing,” she says. “I don’t believe that you can have it all. You have to set priorities for yourself. I’ve always felt that family was the most important thing.”

She adds, “That’s not a putdown of people who work very hard and are juggling very high-pressure jobs, but you have to figure out what works best for you, and for me, that meant switching off different jobs through the course of my career to find ones that provide better balance for me.”

Vieira is mom to three children, Ben, 22, Gabriel, 20, and Lily, 18, and says she’s thrilled they’ve “launched” successfully.

“I sometimes feel guilty saying it, but I think the empty nest is great,” she says. “We did our job, as my husband points out repeatedly. You’re supposed to give your children roots and wings, and their roots are firmly planted in the ground and they have a sense of themselves and of place and purpose. They have the ability to fly away from home and to test those wings and to start their own lives separate from us.”

Equally successful has been her plan to spend more time with her husband.

“It’s time for us to sort of recapture our lives and enjoy it and I look forward to that,” she says. “I had a lovely summer and I look forward to doing more things with Richard.”