Born on November 23, 1960, in Tuskegee, Alabama, Robin Roberts grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi and earned a degree in communication from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1983. She went on to become a sports reporter and anchor for a local TV station in Mississippi. At age 29, Roberts began hosting ESPN's Sportscenter and, not long after, appearing as a guest reporter on Good Morning America. In 2005, she was hired as a full-time co-anchor of the morning news program. In August 2011, Roberts took a leave of absence from Good Morning America in order to undergo treatment for a rare blood disorder that she contracted after undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. She returned to the show on February 20, 2013. In early 2014, Roberts officially came out as a gay woman.
Robin René Roberts was born on November 23, 1960, in Tuskegee, Alabama and grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi. The youngest of four siblings and the daughter of a Tuskegee Airmen pilot, Roberts spent her childhood cultivating athletic and academic success, graduating as her high school's salutatorian. Her sister, Sally-Ann Roberts, became a local news anchor, and Robin followed in her footsteps, earning a journalism scholarship and a degree in communications from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Immediately after graduating from college, Robin Roberts used her unique combination of athletic talent and journalistic skill to become a sports reporter and anchor for a local TV station in Mississippi. She progressed and succeeded, moving every year or two to a larger city in the South as her popularity and experience grew: from Hattiesburg to Biloxi to Nashville, and then Atlanta.
At age 29, Roberts was hired by ESPN, where she hosted the network's news program, Sportscenter. Around this same time, she began making appearances as a guest reporter on Good Morning America, a show broadcast by ABC, a sister network of ESPN (both networks are owned by The Walt Disney Company).
In 2005, after years of contributing to both ESPN and Good Morning America, ABC hired Roberts as a full-time co-anchor of the morning news program. When Diane Sawyer, then an anchor on Good Morning America, was named anchor of ABC World News, the network's nighttime news program, Roberts and George Stephanopoulos served as co-anchors. Together, the two helped lead the show to the top of the competitive morning show ratings, beating NBC's Today show, which had held the No. 1 spot for more than a decade.
In August 2011, Roberts took a leave of absence from Good Morning America in order to undergo treatment for a rare blood disorder that she contracted as a complication of the chemotherapy she received for breast cancer in 2007. Roberts had a bone marrow transplant in September. On the day she announced on-air that she was sick with myelodysplastic syndrome, the website for Be the Match, a nonprofit organization that keeps a national bone marrow donation registry, experienced an 1,800 percent spike in donors. Roberts herself did not rely on the registry, but rather on her sister, Sally-Ann, who doctors deemed an excellent match. Nonetheless, Robin Roberts advocated for bone marrow donation via Be the Match and encouraged viewers to register.
On February 20, 2013, Robin Roberts made her first appearance on Good Morning America since she had begun treatment. The world witnessed her emotional return and happy reunion with the Good Morning America staff. Roberts helped Good Morning America win its best ratings numbers since the morning after the presidential election in November 2012—6.1 million viewers tuned in to see her return to the air. "I have been waiting 174 days to say this: Good morning, America!" she said during the segment.
Roberts appeared another time that week on the program, and has appeared in ABC's news coverage sporadically since then, including at the 2013 Academy Awards. But her wellness is not yet assured, so she has agreed to reappear slowly, continuing to work a few days a week at first. With the consent of her doctors, Roberts hopes to eventually anchor Good Morning America daily once again.
In July 2013, Roberts made headlines when she was honored at the 2013 ESPYs. She received the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which was presented to Roberts by basketball star LeBron James.
In early January 2014, Roberts officially came out as a gay woman on Good Morning America. She hadn't publicly discussed her sexual orientation prior to this announcement. The public also got to see a photo of Roberts's girlfriend, Amber Laign, on the show, following the news anchor's revelation.
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