Meredith Vieira Reveals Why She Stayed in Physically Abusive Relationship

The Meredith Vieira Show

The accomplished reporter and talk show host opened up about the domestic violence she suffered as a young woman. She was inspired to share her story by the #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft Twitter trends that emerged amid the controversy surrounding NFL star Ray Rice.

by Michael Walsh for

September 17, 2014 - A successful reporter and talk show host revealed how fear and guilt kept her trapped in an abusive relationship.

As a young woman, Meredith Vieira said she struggled to leave a man she loved even after he started to assault her.

"There was the night, we shared an apartment, and he threw me into a shower, naked with scalding water, and then he threw me outside into the hallway," she said.

The host, now 60, told "The Meredith Vieira Show"audience that she hid in the stairwell of their apartment building for two hours that night before her boyfriend came out to apologize in tears, saying, "I promise I won't do this again."

It all started when he would grab her arm during fights. But then he started to push her into walls and grab her face, threatening to ruin her career, she said.

"A lot of people say, 'Well, who would stay in that situation? Somebody who doesn't have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out.' I had that. I had a job at the time and I kept in this relationship,” she said.

The Twitter trends #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft — for women to share their experiences with domestic violence — inspired Vieira to speak out on a problem that is "rampant in this country."

The NFL came under fire after Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice was caught on camera knocking his then-fiancée, now-wife Janay Palmer unconscious in an elevator.

Vieira said she feared something terrible might happen to her if she left — but that wasn't the only reason.

"Part of it was guilt ... I would feel like maybe I contributed somehow to this. And they are saying this about Ray Rice's wife, that it takes two to tango," she said.

Every nine seconds a woman is attacked in the United States, she said.

"Domestic violence ... is really, really a complicated issue," Vieira states, "It's not so easy to just get away. You think it would be, but it's not."

Still, if her 21-year-old daughter Lily were in an abusive relationship she would tell her to "just go," even if she thought she loved her boyfriend.

"We didn't have shelters when this was happening to me," she said. "There was no hotline. I would say call the hotline."

Read this article on

[ Top ] [ Back ]