Meredith Vieira: The real reason you don't hear from her anymore

Meredith Vieira is undoubtedly one of the most respected journalists and television personalities in America. From her work on Today to her long-running co-hosting gig at The View (12 years, people), there's no professional milestone she hasn't reached. Unfortunately for Vieira's most dedicated fans, she has receded from public view in recent years. So, what gives? Let's find out what she's been up to.

She's avoiding the Matt Lauer fallout

In November 2017, a video surfaced of television personality Matt Lauer making an inappropriate comment to Vieira on the set of the Today show in 2006. Lauer, who was Vieira's co-anchor and friend at the time, made the following remark as she bent over to pick up a stack of papers (via TMZ): "Pretty sweater. Keep bending over like that. It's a nice view." The uncomfortable video leaked on the day Lauer was fired from Today for alleged sexual misconduct, according to NBC News.

The tape must have embarrassed Vieira, because she has never spoken out about it and she has yet to release an official statement on the matter to the press. In fact, she has not publicly commented on any of Lauer's scandals, including the allegations that he sexually harassed countless employees at Today.

Obviously, Vieira doesn't want to get involved in the drama surrounding  Lauer, and she's probably avoiding reporters right now so she doesn't have to answer any questions about his fall from grace. 

She's suffering from political anxiety

After the conclusion of the presidential election in November 2016, Vieira revealed that she was suffering from political anxiety that has discouraged her from appearing on television. 

When asked if the election inspired her to return to reporting, Vieira told Variety: "Not really. I didn't want to get back into the fray. This has been a very difficult election cycle for me, and I'm not talking about because Donald Trump won. There was such ugliness that came out. Almost from day one there was something dirty about it, and sad about it, and worrisome. What happened to me is I developed anxiety. I never binge watch stuff, and I started binge watching things. I think I was trying to escape it."

It appears like Vieira wasn't kidding around when she admitted that she doesn't want to cover politics. At the time of this writing, she has not given an interview about a political issue or controversy in at least two years. 

Her talk show tanked

When a celebrity pours their heart and soul into a project that doesn't perform well, their ego tends to get a bit bruised. Case in point: when Vieira's daytime talk show, The Meredith Vieira Show, was cancelled in 2016, she needed to take a break from the spotlight to recover.

Although Vieira put a lot of effort into what was supposed to be the pinnacle of her career (she even mirrored the set after her own living room,) the show's ratings were a bit of a disaster. In fact, the market research company Nielsen determined that Vieira's program was "the second least-popular of the 15 current syndicated talk shows on the air" (via Variety) during its second and final season. Ouch.

Considering Vieira hasn't experienced many failures in her life, the show's cancellation and poor ratings likely put her into a bit of a funk professionally. Following The Meredith Vieira Show's end, she left daytime television entirely and hasn't hosted a talk show since, with the exception of when she appeared on The Today Show as a guest anchor in January 2017.

Her husband has a chronic illness

Vieira's husband of more than 30 years, fellow journalist Richard Cohen, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1973. Vieira has been vocal about Cohen's difficult illness and how it has affected their marriage.

"I feel cheated sometimes," she said (via People). "We used to run together and go on ski trips or go to the beach. Now, it's very hard for Richard to stand."

As one might imagine, Vieira wants to take advantage of Cohen's health before his chronic disease progresses even further. Multiple sclerosis gets worse with age, according to Health Line, and Cohen is about 70 years old at the time of this writing. Vieira admitted that she left her high-profile job at Today in 2011 so that she could "enjoy" life with Cohen before things took a turn for the worse. "I was more leaving because he's healthy. So why not while we are able to enjoy life? He has secondary-progressive MS; we don't know what's going to happen. Every year, it's a little bit worse," she told Good Housekeeping

So, if you're wondering why Vieira hasn't appeared on TV in a while, there's a good chance she's at home savoring her time with Cohen in their gorgeous estate just north of New York City. Time well spent, right?

She's not into social media

It's common knowledge these days that social media savviness is a must-have when you're a celebrity, but by the looks of it, Vieira couldn't care less about entertaining fans on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. At the time of this writing, she has not posted on Instagram since Sept. 8, 2014, and her Twitter usage is similarly infrequent. Considering her inactivity on social media, it's not surprising her name and work as fallen off the radar.

Her career took a toll on her health

Working the daytime television circuit can take a major toll on your health, which is a reality Vieira knows all too well. She has admitted that her grueling schedule on Today quickly became detrimental to her well-being, telling Good Housekeeping: "Sleep deprivation is a bad thing. When you're tired all the time, you just don't feel well. It's easy to gain weight; it's easy to get depressed. And there's anxiety … all of those things really started to weigh on me, and I thought, Is it worth risking my health? I don't think so."

The good news: Vieira is now taking better care of herself away from the public eye. She told Parade, "I try to eat as healthy as I can. I exercise every day, but I want to avoid hurting something. I do Pilates and understand the value of strength training and having good balance. Yoga is good for centering. I do need to be outside and in nature, because I'm an earth sign."

And when she's not exploring the great outdoors, Vieira is enjoying small pleasures such as walking her dog around the neighborhood. Following her departure from Today, she told People, "I'm looking forward to getting up in the morning and walking in my flip-flops with our dog Jasper to this incredible little bakery nearby. I'm looking forward to finding myself again." 

She dedicates a lot of time to charities

In recent years, Vieira has focused the bulk of her attention on charity work. In fact, her low-key Twitter presence mostly centers around the causes she supports, such as Project Sunshine, an organization that meets the "non-medical, social-emotional needs of children dealing with illnesses," according to the charity's website.

Obviously, supporting great causes takes a lot of time and work behind-the-scenes. Vieira told Fresh 102.7 in 2012: "I've been actually very busy, believe it or not. Because all the things that I couldn't do when I was doing The Today Show, I committed to … a lot of it is charity work and then suddenly you look at your calendar and everyday you're doing something. But it's been wonderful."

While Vieira might get photographed attending a charity luncheon or event here and there, most of her time these days is probably spent supporting deserving organizations behind the scenes.   

She stepped behind the camera

In 2016, Meredith Vieira executive produced the Tower, a documentary about the first mass school shooting in the United States. Although it might surprise some fans that Vieira joined the project given its serious and heavy tone, she took it on because she wanted to start a conversation about gun-control in America, according to Parade

What's also interesting about Vieira's work on the doc is that she opted for a behind-the-scenes role that took her out of the public eye. Instead of narrating the doc, for example, Vieira chose to give other people involved with the project a chance to shine. 

By the way, if you think she's itching to get back in front of the camera anytime soon, think again. Vieira told Parade, "I'd love to do more projects like Tower. I like different ways of approaching storytelling, and not always with such heavy journalism. I have a kooky side too. I'm not ready to commit to one particular thing and sign a contract. I'm enjoying this time now, and want to see where it all takes me while I'm open to new things. I'm very lucky to have the luxury to sit back a little bit and maybe do some traveling."

She wants to enjoy her family and marriage

It's no secret that Vieira's hectic work schedule made it difficult for her to spend quality time with Cohen and their three children. "I was spending very little time focused on my family. It just stopped feeling right," she told HuffPost.

When Vieira saw an opportunity to relax with her family after leaving Today in 2011, she took it. Vieira explained on the show (recapped via the New York Daily News): "I've really had a great time, but time is one of those weird things, you can never get enough of it, and it just keeps ticking away, and I know that I want to spend more of mine with my husband Richard, and my kids, Ben, Gabe and Lily."

Although Vieira briefly revived her television career in 2014 for her short-lived talk show, she's now fully committed to "living in the moment" at home with her loved ones. She told Closer in 2017"I see life very much not in a pessimistic or fatalistic way, but more of a live-in-the-moment way. It's really about just appreciating where you are and valuing it. And in that way, every day is great!"

Get ready to see more of Vieira soon

In May 2017, Deadline reported that Meredith Vieira would executive produce Paramour, a movie inspired by the true story of BMW heiress Susanne Klatten. The film, starring talented actress Kristin Scott Thomas, will center around Klatten's passionate affair with a nefarious character named Helg Sgarbi. Filming is expected to start in 2018, so it's likely that the movie will be released in late 2018 or early 2019.

Considering Paramour is a more high-profile project in comparison to Tower, it's likely Vieira will do a lot of promotion for the film. And who knows? Maybe she'll even grace a red carpet or two in the future.