January 16, 2018 01:11 PM

Ann Curry is opening up about the pain of leaving the Today show, how she bounced back, and her emotional new TV series. Subscribe now for the EXCLUSIVE interview — only in PEOPLE!

Five years after leaving the Today show, Ann Curry is revealing how she made it through dark times — and her life away from the morning grind.

Sitting down exclusively with PEOPLE for this week’s issue (on stands Friday), the anchor opens up for the first time about her exit from the NBC morning show in 2012, an ordeal that came complete with gossip-column speculation that her firing had been due in part to a lack of “chemistry” with her co-anchor Matt Lauer. (Lauer, 60, was fired in November for alleged sexual misconduct.)

Watch the full episode of PEOPLE Cover Story: Ann Curry, streaming now on PeopleTV. Go to People.com/peopletv, or download the app on your favorite streaming device.

Ann Curry on the cover of PEOPLE

Curry, 61, also discusses her reactions to the Lauer scandal, as well as her thoughts on her own experiences with sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

“Most of the men I’ve worked with have been exemplary,” she says, but adds that she hopes sweeping change will soon help those who have endured harassment and abuse for too long. “I feel real hope that change is coming. That our daughters are not going to have to face what the majority of women in this country who’ve entered the workplace have had to face.”

And the mother of two, who returns to TV on Jan. 23 with the new six-part PBS docuseries We’ll Meet Again, isn’t fueled by bitterness toward her former bosses.

  • For much more on Ann Curry, including her thoughts on the Matt Lauer scandal and the #MeToo movement, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

“I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard,” she says of her darkest days. “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.”

Curry will also appear on CBS This Morning on Wednesday for her first network TV interview since leaving NBC.

We’ll Meet Again premieres Jan. 23 on PBS and will be simulcast on Facebook Watch.

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