Details About Meredith Vieira's Marriage Revealed

Meredith Vieira is one of the most recognizable faces on TV. From her years on "Today" and "Good Morning America" to hosting game shows like "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and "25 Words or Less" — not to mention her unforgettable times on "The View" and her own talk show — Vieira has been a likable presence in our homes for decades.

Throughout all of those career accomplishments, she's had her husband Richard Cohen by her side for 35 years. According to Good Housekeeping, Vieira and Cohen met in 1983, when she was with CBS News' Midwest division. Cohen, who was also working as a journalist for CBS News, specialized in politics and was in Chicago covering the Illinois gubernatorial race. Vieira actually thought Cohen was "so obnoxious" at first, per the outlet. 

Despite that, Meredith was pretty sure she was going to marry him from that first moment. In an interview on "The Dr. Oz Show" in 2018, she said, "I looked at him and I thought, 'You are such a jerk,' and the next thought was 'I'm going to marry this guy.'"

Cohen, however, had to make sure Vieira could accept one big thing about his health.

Richard Cohen was diagnosed with MS at 25

When Meredith Vieira met Richard Cohen in 1983, he was 35 and had been living with multiple sclerosis for a decade. MS is a "potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system)," per the Mayo Clinic. 

Cohen told Vieira about his MS on their second date. He joked, per AARP, that if the fact that he had MS was going to be too much for her, "Why waste money on dessert?" Needless to say, it wasn't an issue for Vieira; she was all in. As Cohen told the outlet, he didn't want anyone he worked with to know he had MS because he was worried how it could affect his career.

Vieira didn't find it easy to keep his diagnosis a secret, particularly in the way it presented itself. She told AARP that people called him a snob, saying, "'I'll walk by him and he never acknowledges me.'" "My God, he can't see you," she thought.

The couple married in 1986 and have three grown children: Benjamin, Gabriel, and Lily. Over the years, Cohen also dealt with colon cancer in 1999 and 2000, per ABC News

Despite the health struggles, the couple maintains a playful relationship. "I've pretty much made fun of him all the time," Vieira said. "Because that's the kind of relationship we have. We poke fun at each other."

How Meredith and Richard handled COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to stay inside our homes, Meredith and Richard holed up in their New York home starting in March 2020. Their kids are spread out across the country, so the longtime couple had frequent Zoom chats and daily phone calls to stay in touch, she told Closer in August 2020.

The Vieira/Cohen family had some scares with COVID-19. Their eldest son, Ben, and his girlfriend contracted the virus in February 2020. "[Ben] had a fever, but he was very lucky — he never needed any hospitalization or anything like that," Vieira told Closer. "And he has since, for a while, tested negative and has been able to donate blood and plasma, so that has been a great thing to be able to give back."

Vieira and Cohen's middle child, Gabriel, was also affected by coronavirus. He and his fiancée, Ally, were planning to get married in September 2020 — but, as Vieira said (via Closer), "... they had to postpone that a year. They didn't want it hanging over their [heads] and they didn't want to put anybody else in danger," she explained. "I have to say, my kids have taken this very, very, very seriously."

How is Richard Cohen's health today?

As for Richard Cohen's MS, it's a progressive disease. In his 2011 interview AARP, he revealed he is "slowly losing his balance, eyesight, and strength." Meredith Vieira opened up to People in 2019, saying, "We definitely allow each other to vent. That's part of the deal. Certainly, he's allowed to vent because he's got chronic illness." She also noted: "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. She added: "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."

Cohen is legally blind at this point, the talk show host told People. But he's "doing okay," Vieira said. "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."

"Being with Richard and appreciating my life and how much I value my life and the lives of all of those around us," she said, via Closer.