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"It's the kindness of strangers that I will never forget during that time," said Gayle King

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 12, 2020 05:44 PM
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In her time of need, Gayle King received some sweet support from a famous fan.

On Saturday, at the final stop of Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour in Denver, the CBS This Morning host opened up about the turmoil she experienced amid the backlash of her interview with Lisa Leslie, in which she asked a question about the late Kobe Bryant‘s 2003 rape case.

King, 65, faced death threats and criticism for the line of questioning when a clip was published online by CBS News. Speaking with pal Winfrey, 66, King revealed that complete strangers came out of the woodwork to check up on her during the “very painful” situation.

It was a special delivery from Katie Holmes, however, that stood out to the news anchor as incredibly thoughtful among all the vitriol.

“I’d been away, I came home, and on my kitchen counter was a box of cupcakes — I love cupcakes,” King told Winfrey. “There was a box of cupcakes with a note, and it said: ‘Katie and Suri were thinking about you.'”

Gayle King, Katie Holmes
Gayle King and Katie Holmes
| Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty; Craig Barritt/WireImage
Gayle King and Katie Holmes
Gayle King and Katie Holmes, December 2017
| Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty

“Now, I didn’t even know Katie Holmes even knew where I lived, which means she had to find out, and that they came and they dropped it off. … I had to find somebody to get her email just so I could say, ‘Thank you so much for doing that.'”

She added: “It’s the kindness of strangers that I will never forget during that time.”

A number of celebrities came to King’s defense on social media in February, including Amy Schumer, who wrote on Instagram: “I stand fiercely with @gayleking one of the most beloved journalists, mothers and friends of our time. However you feel about her interview, her receiving serious death threats is disgustingly unfair and unacceptable.”

“What surprised me is the people that came to reach out to me in unexpected places,” said King, adding that people she had no connection to — like Ivanka Trump and Sean Spicer — reached out to her.

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Responding to the backlash, King told fans in February that she was “mortified” by the excerpt of the interview that was shown online, not capturing the breadth of the complete interview.

“I’ve been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant. And I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me too. I am mortified, I am embarrassed and I am very angry,” she said in an Instagram video at the time. “Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview, totally taken out of context, and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, a CBS News spokesperson said: “Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made.”

Reflecting on the series of events with Winfrey over the weekend, King said she has “moved on.” She added: “Is there a scab? Yeah. But I have moved on.”