The untold truth of Savannah Guthrie

Savannah Guthrie became co-anchor of NBC's Today show in July 2012. Since then, she's helped keep the morning show at the top of the ratings in the critical 25-54 age group demo, which drives the most lucrative ad rates. While Guthrie sometimes reveals tidbits about herself on the show, she generally keeps it professional, preferring to probe her interview subjects' personal lives rather than revealing her own. So let's turn the tables on her and dive into the untold truth of this popular member of the press.   

She's a lawyer

It's fairly well-known that Guthrie is a lawyer. After all, she still holds the title of NBC News chief legal correspondent. What's lesser known is the fact that Guthrie absolutely crushed it in law school, earning her "Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where she graduated magna cum laude," according to AdWeek. She also aced the Arizona bar exam, receiving the top score when she passed it in 2002.

Guthrie's interest in law actually came after her start in broadcast journalism. According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she had already been working at local affiliate TV stations in places like Butte, Mont. and Tucson, Ariz. when she was "inspired to apply to law school by watching the Simpson and Menendez brothers trials on Court TV." She then worked for a few years at "a white-shoe D.C. firm" before getting back in front of a camera for Court TV, then eventually NBC News in 2007, where she's worked ever since.

Her first marriage only lasted four years

As of this writing, Guthrie is married to consultant and PR guru Michael Feldman. They wed in March 2014, and have two children together, a 3-year-old daughter, Vale Guthrie Feldman, and an 11-month-old son, Charles Max Feldman. Guthrie was previously married to BBC News producer Mark Orchard until, according to Radar Online, their marriage ended as dubiously as it began.

National Enquirer story alleged Guthrie came between Orchard and his first wife, reporter Anne Kornblut of The New York Times. Radar reported that Guthrie and Orchard's 2005 marriage began to unravel relatively quickly, citing divorce documents that stated they were "living apart" in Washington DC by August 2008. The Hollywood Reporter said the split took place when Guthrie was working long, stressful hours as a White House correspondent for NBC News

Perhaps the drama surrounding her first marriage was the reason Guthrie and Feldman decided to keep their wedding (and first pregnancy) a secret until after they walked down the aisle.   

Her on-air chemistry with Matt Lauer wasn't an act

On Nov. 29, 2017, Guthrie had to announce colleague Matt Lauer's termination from Today due to "inappropriate sexual behavior." Having only learned about his firing just hours before, Guthrie was clearly distraught about the situation. "I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here," she said, adding, "How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don't know the answer to that."

That's not the first time Guthrie has been candid about her affection for Lauer. In fact, she surprised him on his 20th anniversary with Today by popping into the show even though she was on maternity leave at the time. When a shocked Lauer said he couldn't believe she came in, Guthrie said (via People), "I just want to say, we adore you... One of the things that is so wonderful about you is that from the second I walked in here, one of the things I noticed is that Matt knows every single person's first name and last name. He knows the name of their dog. He knows how their mother is doing." Guthrie also tweeted about Lauer that day, calling him "a class act, great friend, and once in a generation talent."

Those feelings are mutual. In a 2014 interview with Variety, Lauer said Guthrie directly contributed to him re-signing his Today contract. "I love working with her," he gushed. "I am having a good time. I love the direction the show is taking."

She once confused her husband with Lauer

We already mentioned that Guthrie and Lauer have a close professional and personal relationship, but that bond took an awkward turn when Guthrie accidentally referred to her husband as "Matt" while discussing her maternity leave on Today. "Where is my Freud texbook?" Guthrie jokingly asked after the slip, while also admitting that she's mixed up her at-home and on-air other halves before.  

Everyone had a good sense of humor about the slightly embarrassing gaffe. Lauer jokingly said, "Shh, that's our secret!" and later, "Matt at work, Mike at home. I'm not paying for college for Vale and Charlie, all right?" Guthrie's actual husband didn't even seem to mind, especially when he brought both kids to the set for a visit and joked that he'd instructed their daughter to say "Hi Daddy!" upon seeing Lauer.

She cut her second maternity leave short for Today

Though it was announced that she would return from her 2017 maternity leave on March 3, Guthrie returned to the Today couch four days early, according to Page Six. Though she said she was "delighted" to be back, Guthrie also said, "Yesterday, I admit, I got a little weepy because it's a transition. It's the end of an era," apparently referencing her nearly three-month sabbatical after giving birth to her son.

As for why she cut her leave a little short? Page Six said Today producers begged Guthrie to return to stave off a ratings slide they believed was triggered by her absence. "They needed Savannah to bail them out, so they rushed her from maternity leave. NBC claimed it was because of the influx of news, but the reality is that the show was down double-digits and they needed her," a source told the tabloid. 

It was a surprising move for Guthrie to bend to the supposed whims of the Today show brass, considering her feelings towards her first maternity leave, which she blogged about in 2014. "The biggest surprise for me from maternity leave is how completely and totally I've been able to just check out and be consumed by this little baby and by family and what's happening at home, she wrote. "It's amazing and kind of transforming to give your mind and your heart and your soul a break from the crazy, busy world and just be focused on something that's so simple and true and from the heart. It's just been magical."

She once compared breastfeeding to going to the bathroom in public

In August 2011, long before Guthrie welcomed her first child, she hosted a segment on Today called "The Professionals." It was a panel discussion in which Donny Deutsch, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, and Star Jones discussed trending topics, one of which happened to be breastfeeding in public. Guthrie segued to the topic by asking, "You have to go to the bathroom, but you don't do that in public— hopefully. Is there a difference?"

Deutsch seemed to pick up on her loaded words, saying, "If I said that, I would get in big trouble," but Snyderman and Jones didn't really mention it. Moms on Twitter, however, had a field day with Guthrie's remark, slamming her offensive comparison under the hashtag #NIP (Not In Public), reported People.

Guthrie seems to have reversed her feelings on the matter after breastfeeding her own daughter, Vale, who was born in 2014. According to the Daily Mail, Today co-anchor Hoda Kotb revealed as much when she said she visited baby Vale at a feeding time. Kotb said Guthrie "just whips it out and she goes, 'What? It's like a toe. I don't even care anymore.'"

She's a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan

Though she was raised in Arizona, Guthrie and her entire family unabashedly root for The Philadelphia Eagles every Sunday during the NFL season. They even wear custom jerseys when cheering on The Birds, like any respectable member of Eagle Nation would.

The source of the rabid fandom seems to stem from Guthrie's husband. She once blogged, "Mike insists that [Vale] wear her Eagles jersey for every Eagles football game. One time I didn't put it on. The Eagles lost. Mike said, 'She will wear that Eagles jersey from here on out.' So I don't mess with it." 

The real question is: how bad does Guthrie hate the Cowboys?

She lost her father at a young age

During a 2016 Hollywood Reporter interview, Guthrie revealed that her father died of a heart attack while in Mexico on a "scouting trip" as part of his job as a mining engineer. She was a teenager at the time. "When you're 16, you think you're so grown up, but the first thing I thought was, 'We still need him,'" Guthrie said of the tragedy.

Her faith helped guide her through the loss. In her blog for Guideposts, she wrote, "To me, at 16, it felt like a betrayal of everything I'd believed in. How could God let this happen to my dad—a good man who was only in his forties? How could he do this to our family?" Her anguish gradually led to acceptance. "Somehow, God comforted me," she wrote. "And there were blessings amid the grief. Mom found a job in public affairs at the University of Arizona, which made tuition more affordable for my sister and me. Both of us lived at home during our college years. We arranged our weekend plans so there was always one of us home with Mom." 

Her kids' names have special meaning

Celebrity baby names can quickly veer into some bizarre territory (Looking at you, Pilot Inspektor), but Guthrie played it relatively safe with both of her kids, Vale Guthrie and Charles Max. That doesn't mean that each moniker doesn't hold a special meaning.

In her 2014 maternity blog, Guthrie revealed that choosing Vale's name was a combination of borrowing the name from a friend and just plain liking the way it sounded. "When she was born the first thing I thought and kept saying was, 'She's so peaceful. She's so serene,'" Guthrie wrote, "And that word Vale really conjures all those images of a valley by a peaceful stream and something restful and calm and beautiful."

The naming of her son, Charles Max, was much more straightforward, as both names are a nod to the boy's paternal lineage. His middle name, Max, is in honor of Guthrie's grandfather of the same name. His first name is an homage to Guthrie's dad, whom she lost to a heart attack at 16-years old. "He was a 5,000-watt bulb who could turn a mundane trip to the post office into a rip-roaring tale," Guthrie told Today of her dad.

She didn't get invited to the prom

During a Today segment (via Twitter) that featured the team sharing throwback prom photos, Guthrie had to share a picture from her 9th grade winter dance instead. She said she was "never invited" to her prom. 

The show hosts shared their photos as part of a discussion about an Illinois high school that decided to institute a prom lottery, in which students were randomly assigned dates. Both Guthrie and Carson Daly—who also did not attend his prom—thought the lottery idea was great.

Guthrie still feels some kind of way about her big dance snub. "Once you're there it's not like you're locked to that person, you can mix and mingle but I like that it involves everyone," she said, adding, "Again, not asked to prom so I think it's explained." Aww, poor Savannah!

She's not afraid to go makeup-free

Makeup-free selfies have become all the rage, and Guthrie has gotten on board the all-natural train on more than one occasion. The most notable examples were the photos taken after the birth of both of her children, for which she chose to eschew a glammed-up look. 

"Honestly, it didn't even cross my mind to have fixed-up hair and makeup," she told Today in 2014 after the birth of her daughter, Vale. "Those pics were taken in the hospital room a few hours after she was born, so the only makeup I'm wearing is joy!"

Guthrie repeated the barefaced look on Facebook in 2015, when she shared a no makeup selfe before embarking on a 15-hour flight to Australia, then again when son, Charley, was born in 2016. 

Granted, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wearing makeup or having one's hair done—even right after giving birth—it's just nice to see that someone like Guthrie, a high-profile public figure, didn't feel the pressure to do so.

She's got some pretty fancy digs

It's probably not a huge surprise that the co-anchor of a flagship network TV show lives in an expensive home, but it's kind of rare to get a glimpse inside said abode. And that's just what nosy Today fans—and prospective buyers, we suppose—got in June 2017 when Guthrie and Feldman put their Tribeca condo on the market via a public listing.

According to Sotheby's, who listed Guthrie's plush Lower Manhattan pad at $5,995,000, it only has three bedrooms, but it also features an Italian-designed custom kitchen, great room with "floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking coveted Reade Street," 10-ft ceilings and hardwood floors throughout, and a master bath that includes a "deep soaking tub and rainfall shower."

The condo also features the added bonus of being right next door to another Today personality, Jenna Bush Hager, so if you happen to be in the market, and $6 million plus $1,291 in monthly taxes are in your price range, you could be the new neighbor to the daughter of a former president!

She's terrified of frogs

Savannah Guthrie's unusual phobia first revealed itself in a 2011 Today show segment featuring a "country fair." The footage included a pretty innocent-looking bullfrog hopping around while Guthrie cowered in fear, pleading with Al Roker not to let it get near her. According to HuffPost, she later bravely participated in a "game of frog-jumping," although she still refused to touch an amphibian, instead spraying it with water to get it to move.

A few years later, talk show host and prankster, Ellen DeGeneres, took full advantage of Guthrie's frog fright by tossing a fake (but extremely realistic-looking) frog into her lap and then chasing her around the stage with it. "It's not real, so this is a way to get over it," Degeneres said. 

"Well that worked, obviously," Guthrie sarcastically replied.

She's a devout Christian

Guthrie shared in a 2017 profile for The New York Times  that she is a practicing Christian who regularly attends Sunday service at Trinity Grace, a non-denominational church in Manhattan. 

"It's a casual church, and I can go in jeans or a simple dress," she said, adding, "Michael is Jewish and usually doesn't come with us so I take Charley and Vale there in our double stroller. The service is about an hour and a half. Vale sits with me in the beginning when the songs are going on, and then goes to Sunday school."

Guthrie previously discussed her faith in a blog for Guideposts, writing, "At 42, I'd been waiting my whole life to have a baby. Every time I woke in the night for a feeding or heard Vale sigh in her sleep, I felt a fresh rush of gratitude for this incredible blessing from God." 

She also revealed that throughout the early, uneasy years of her career, she turned to the Bible, copying passages that "particularly spoke to her" into a notebook for future reference. She eventually filled three notebooks, but came to rely on a particular passage in times of stress. 

"Psalm 62:8, became my watchword: 'Trust in him at all times. Pour out your hearts to him,' Guthrie wrote. "I certainly did. I turned my loneliness, my frustration, my mistakes, over to God and told myself to be patient."

She was born in Australia

Though she grew up in Arizona, Guthrie was born in Melbourne, Australia. Her family moved down under when her dad, Charles, was transferred there for his job, but they were back Stateside by the time Guthrie was 2 years old. 

"I have no memory of it because I was too young, but growing up and knowing that I was born in Australia was always this interesting exotic part of my history that I love," Guthrie told People.

In May 2015, she returned to her birthplace for the first time as part of Today's Mother's Day programming. Alongside her mom, Nancy Guthrie, Savannah took in the sights of the country, but also went on an emotional trip down memory lane, visiting her childhood home as well as Melbourne's Sandringham Hospital, where she was born. "I think seeing the very place you were born is not something most people get to do or see,” Savannah said. "To get to go back with my mom, it's just really special."

Her sister is a poet

Guthrie has two siblings: a brother, Camron Guthrie, who is a pilot in the Air National Guard, and a sister, Annie Guthrie, who is a poet, as well as a teacher and marketing director at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. In 2014, Annie recited a poem she wrote for Savannah at her wedding, reported People.

In 2015, Savannah supported her sister's craft in a big way by proudly hosted a party to celebrate Annie's first book of poetry, The Good Dark, which took her 15 years to write. "I'm excited for the world to get a taste of the sister I know and grew up with in our little Brady Bunch family," Savannah told People. "Annie was always writing, always so interesting and deep and thoughtful." She added, "In college, we would take some of the same classes–like a humanities course–and Annie would read the same book twice because she was so interested and devoted, and I would barely read it at all."   

Savannah's kids will have to wait a while to get acquainted with their aunt's work, as it explores some complex territory. "The book might be a little complicated for Vale right now, but when she's 25, she may be ready," Savannah joked.