Meredith Vieira Says She and Husband Richard Cohen Vent Frustrations About His MS

"You can think, 'Why us?' but then it's like, 'Why not us?' So many people are dealing with stuff and it puts it into perspective," says Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira is not one to shy away from honesty.

The veteran news anchor, who is back on television with 25 Words or Less, Fox’s syndicated new game show, has always been candid about her triumphs — and struggles.

“It’s been a constant search to navigate and make my own way,” Vieira, 65, tells PEOPLE. “But you have to pick your path and be happy.”

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For Vieira and her husband of 33 years, journalist Richard Cohen, 71, that means accepting challenges when it comes to his health.

Cohen, who is legally blind, is also living with multiple sclerosis, or MS, an autoimmune disease that targets the central nervous system.

Today, Cohen is “doing okay,” says Vieira. “But it’s a progressive illness, so you don’t know from day to day. He needs a walker, and since he’s been using it, he’s much stronger. It was something he dreaded, but it’s been a blessing.”

Meredith vieira
Amanda Friedman

Still, Vieira is frank about coping with the tough days.

“We definitely allow each other to vent,” she says. “That’s part of the deal. Certainly he’s allowed to vent, because he’s got chronic illness. But I am too. Because there are days I can’t stand it and the limitations it puts on the entire family. It’s good to say it. But we don’t dwell.”

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Continues Vieira: “You can think, ‘Why us?’ but then it’s like, ‘Why not us?’ So many people are dealing with stuff and it puts it into perspective.”

And Vieira says the ability to laugh is indispensable.

Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen with family. Courtesy Meredith Vieira

“Richard is a very funny person, and I have a good sense of humor,” says Vieira. “So that’s sort of our thing.”

And the mother of three says she has plenty to smile about these days, including her son Gabe’s upcoming nuptials, and her new show, in which contestants try to get their two celebrity partners to guess 10 answers in 25 words or less.

“The game is so fun,” says Vieira. “And the group of people I work with are so kind. Maybe it’s the age that I am now, but I just want to work with nice people. That’s the most important thing!”

25 Words or Less premieres Sept. 16 (check local listings).

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