Robin Roberts Reveals Why She Was 'Fearful' Leading Up to Historic Interview with Barack Obama
Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to publicly support marriage equality during a 2012 sit down with Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts is opening up about one of the more difficult moments in her journalism career.
In PEOPLE's exclusive first look at Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts — her Disney+ roundtable talk series premiering July 28 — guest Debbie Allen asks the longtime news anchor about the "biggest interview that gave you a little stage fright."
After taking a pause, Roberts, 60, brings up an interview she conducted with Barack Obama in 2012, when he was president and she had recently been diagnosed with cancer for a second time, but hadn't revealed it to the world yet.
At the time, she also hadn't publicly come out as gay, and the sit-down with Obama, 59, was intended to tackle the topic of marriage equality.
"I'm going to get real right here. I can't believe I'm going to share this," the Good Morning America anchor says in the clip. "I was ill but people didn't know I was ill, it was the second time around, and I was asked to go to the White House to interview then-President Barack Obama and they said that he was going to most likely change his stance on marriage equality. I had not come out yet."
"So here I am going to interview him, and I was like, 'Oh, are people going to ask me about…' I wasn't ready," Roberts continues, noting that at the time she was dating her current partner, Amber Laign.
"If I was walking down the street with Amber, I would introduce her as my girlfriend. I wasn't hiding, but I wasn't ready for the world and I was fearful," she says.
Roberts says she even questioned whether she should go ahead with the interview.
"I almost said, 'I'm not going to do the interview,' and I'm thinking, 'Robin René Roberts, this man is going to change the course of so many lives and you're afraid that you're going to be outed? No,''" she recalls. "And I marched there and I did the interview and I'll never forget sitting across from him and saying, 'President Obama, have you changed your stance on marriage equality?' And he said yes."
"So that was a good turning of the tables," she concludes. "I have never shared that."
During the interview with Roberts, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to voice his support for marriage equality, though it wasn't until 2015 that the Supreme Court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage and legalized it in all 50 states.
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A year after the initial interview, Roberts came out in a Facebook post and publicly unveiled her relationship with Laign, whom she first started dating after being set up on a blind date in 2005.
Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts starts streaming July 28 on Disney+.
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