Details About Gayle King's Relationship With Her Kids

Very few broadcast journalists are as recognizable as Gayle King. After getting her start at WJZ in Baltimore, the Maryland native built a career that's made her one of the most successful television personalities of all time. While she's best known for her work as a correspondent on "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Mornings," King has a long list of credits that include "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Entertainment Tonight," and "The Gayle King Show." All that, and she's also a dedicated mother. In 1986, King — alongside her ex-husband William Bumpus — brought her daughter, Kirby Bumpus, into the world. In 1987, she gave birth to her second child, William Bumpus Jr.

But being a mom isn't always easy for the veteran reporter. During her appearance on the "We Are Family" podcast, King stated that motherhood is "a lot of work." And yet, despite not wanting to be a stay-at-home mom, she enjoys the process. "I loved every single stage," she told Drew Barrymore in 2020. "And still do ... still do." Although King's children choose to avoid the limelight, the public moments she's shared with her kids are truly adorable. Here's what makes King's close-knit relationship with her "favorite" kids so special.

King publicly expressed excitement about her daughter's wedding

In 2019, Kirby Bumpus got engaged to her boyfriend, Virgin Miller. This prompted Gayle King to tell everyone about her daughter's engagement on Instagram. Kirby even left some of the wedding planning up to her mother. King, however, couldn't stop herself from immediately thinking about grandkids. In an interview with People magazine, King revealed that she bugged her daughter about baby names before the wedding even had a date. "She goes, 'Mom, my womb is empty and I would just like to plan the wedding,'" King said. "I said, 'Give me a freakin' date so I can start working on this!"

Kirby married Miller in December 2020, although King wasn't allowed to announce the news until February 2021, when she gushed over the newlyweds on social media. According to King, the service was held at Oprah Winfrey's house and only had six people in attendance, thanks to the pandemic. However, while the ceremony didn't go as planned, King couldn't contain her excitement. "The day was gorgeous and so was Kirby!" she wrote. "I call that perfection ... Anybody have tips on being a good mother-in-law?? I'm all ears and taking notes!"

George Floyd's passing made Gayle worry about William's safety

46-year-old African American George Floyd died in May 2020 as a result of police brutality, kicking off a slew of protests. While Floyd's death and the following demonstrations opened many people's eyes to the racism, corruption, and other problems that plague American police departments, it also scared the mothers of Black men across the world — including Gayle King.

As a parent, King did her best to inform her children about the problems they'd face due to the color of their skin. When her son was young, the CBS anchor had "the talk" with William Bumpus Jr., stating, "If there ever is a police encounter, you do exactly what they tell you to do" (via YouTube). Though William managed to avoid police violence, Floyd's death renewed her fears. King publicly expressed her concerns for her son during a 2020 interview with ET's Kevin Frazier. "You know what it's like to have a black son," she said. "I mean, I now worry about Will — who's 33 years old — walking his freakin' dog in the neighborhood. You know, because I think everybody is on such a hair trigger these days."

King gave Kirby a baby shower she'd never forget

As a doting mother, Gayle King pestered Kirby Bumpus about a grandchild long before she tied the knot. So, when Kirby revealed her pregnancy to her mother in 2021, we can only imagine how ecstatic King was. Given that Kirby's wedding was disrupted by the pandemic, King took the opportunity to go all out for her daughter's baby shower, which quickly transformed into a full-on spa weekend at the Montage Laguna Beach resort. There, Kirby and 16 of her closest friends and family members enjoyed an outdoor dinner at Broadway by Amar Santana, a seaside yoga class, meditative sound baths, and the actual baby shower, which was held on the resort's lawn.

King received some help from her daughter's best friend, Erica, as well as Oprah Daily creative director Adam Glassman and event planner Jeannie Young Savage. In an interview with Oprah Daily, Kirby suggested that the baby shower was more than successful. "It was the first moment to celebrate a lot of things that happened in the last two years — and Mom definitely went all out and outdid herself," she said. "The thing I keep saying is that I can't even call this the shower of my dreams because I didn't even dream something like that for myself."

King and Kirby recreated a 1986 photo following the birth of her grandson

On September 20, 2021, Gayle King announced on "CBS This Morning" that Kirby Bumpus had given birth to Luca Lynn Miller the prior week — and King was head-over-heels for her grandson immediately. She also revealed that Kirby's motherly instincts came to light when she reminded King to support Luca's head. "I was holding him, Kirby goes, 'You know, you have to support his neck.' Uh, okay! I actually know how to do this!" King said.

Along with publicly expressing her excitement, King took the time to restage a 1986 photo from when Kirby was first born. On November 22, 2021, Kirby shared a set of images on Instagram featuring King, Luca, and herself sitting on a couch. Notably, the pictures match a photo of King, her mother, Peggy King, and baby Kirby. Everything is identical, from the women's poses to their orange and off-white ensembles. "Luca, Mom, and I had to recreate this pic of my Grammy, my mom, and I shortly after coming home from the hospital in 1986," Kirby wrote. "I'm so grateful for these invaluable moments I've had with my mom over the last few weeks and get all the feels when I think about our new dynamic, along with Luca's growing love and relationship with his Gaia as he grows up!"

King and William eat at Red Lobster every year for his birthday

As a mother, Gayle King understands the importance of annual family traditions. While many of these, like their yearly Thanksgiving trip, coincide with holidays, others are far more easy-going. For example, King and her son, William Bumpus Jr., have dined at Red Lobster on his birthday for 28 years.

On April 28, 2019, King wished her son a happy birthday on Instagram, revealing that the two go to the restaurant annually to celebrate the occasion. Along with a collection of photos of the event — and a video of everyone singing to William — King revealed how this tradition began. "Since he was 8 he has wanted to go to @redlobster on this day so we do (he LOVES the biscuits)," she wrote. "Tradition continues w/fav daughter & her FIANCÉ! & family friend swipe left for @redlobster birthday song & will's 'embarrassed' face ... we thought that was hilaaarious ! happy birthday to WILL!!"

King and her children celebrated her Hall of Fame induction in 2018

Given that she's been a broadcast journalist for over 40 years, it's hard to call Gayle King's career anything but a massive success. In fact, her influence on the industry is so huge that she was inducted into the Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame in 2018, joining the likes of Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey and cementing her legacy. Oprah, King's well-known best friend, not only helped the anchor celebrate, but also delivered remarks praising King. "I can't tell how thrilled I am to be up here in this room with all of you," King said during her speech. "I can't tell you what it means to me."

Naturally, Kirby Bumpus and William Bumpus Jr. also attended the ceremony. While King's speech referenced the many notable figures in the crowd, her related Instagram post focused on her appreciation for her "favorite people" at the event. This, of course, included her children. "'Bout last nite .. yep this really happened induction into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame!" she wrote. "WOW ... all my favorite people were there ... thank YOU favorite people swipe left ... to see 'errrrebody.'"

King rejected an offer from Oprah Winfrey to stay close to her kids

For most, juggling a family and a career is a difficult task. On one hand, it's nice to be able to provide for your children. On the other, focusing on work may make you disregard vital aspects of parenthood, resulting in a fractured relationship with your kids. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Gayle King revealed that she never intended on letting motherhood run her entire life, saying, "I knew from the time that I was pregnant that I was not going to be a stay-at-home mom." 

However, King never let her career prevent her from bonding with Kirby Bumpus and William Bumpus Jr. During a 2020 appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show," King revealed that she turned down a major job from Oprah Winfrey for the sake of her children. Hoping to transition into acting, Winfrey offered King the opportunity to take over as host of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." However, doing so would've forced King to relocate to Chicago, affecting the lives of her two kids. "In the end, I decided to not take her up on that offer," King told Barrymore. "Favorite daughter Kirby, favorite son Will, their well-being to me was more important than whatever career opportunity I could have had at the time ... and I don't regret that."

King once scolded Kirby for breaking curfew

Despite her openness with her children, Gayle King has suggested that they should not refer to her as a friend. Though King may not appear to be all that strict, Oprah Winfrey once told a story about a time when she thought King's parenting went too far. In 2020, King sat with her long-time friend during Winfrey's Vision Tour to discuss topics ranging from divorce to parenthood. While some of the stories they shared were sweet, Winfrey mentioned that King once scolded Kirby Bumpus for breaking her midnight curfew while she was on a date. Winfrey insisted that Kirby's apologetic attitude was enough to earn forgiveness. King, however, thought otherwise. Instead of punishing Kirby, King demanded to meet with her date's parents to discuss the future of their relationship.

"My message to them — and I wanted us all to hear it at the same time — was 'Listen, I am not blaming your son for this because Kirby is old enough. She has to take responsibility for her actions. So I'm not blaming your son,'" King said. "'But, what I do know is that my daughter would have never done that. She would never have behaved that way. So I'm asking you to support me. I don't want them to continue to see each other because I think this is going in a very bad path.'"

Her children checked on King following her controversial R. Kelly interview

In January 2019, "Surviving R. Kelly," a three-part documentary, was released on Lifetime, detailing the musician's predatory actions over the course of his career. As numerous allegations floated all over the internet, Gayle King famously interviewed the artist about the documentary's claims. Kelly denied that he was responsible for sexual abuse, but King continued to push. This ultimately led to the viral moment in which Kelly stood up in a fit of rage and yelled at the camera, declaring his innocence.

While other platforms poked fun at R. Kelly's outburst, CBS called his actions "unhinged." Given the rumors about Kelly's character, the moment also made several close friends and family members worry about King's safety. During her appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in the days following the interview, King revealed that she wasn't afraid of R. Kelly during his outburst. Colbert asked if her family checked on her after the interview, and she responded, "Oh yeah. Favorite daughter Kirby, favorite son Will, Oprah called because they thought, you know, 'We were very very worried.' I guess when you look at that picture, it is very menacing."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

King taught Kirby and William the importance of being punctual

Given Gayle King's reaction to Kirby Bumpus' late-night escapades, one might assume that King is an overbearing parent. After all, it wasn't as if Kirby had a long history of breaking her mother's rules. As it turns out, King simply thinks it's very important to be on time, which she revealed during her appearance on Michelle Obama's "The Light Podcast."

In the episode "Excellence Is My Practice," King and Obama spoke about topics like motherhood and mental health. Eventually, the discussion came around to how the two taught their children to strive for excellence. According to Obama, one way of doing this is to teach them to be punctual. King agreed, then shared how she imparted this lesson to both of her kids. "I remember when favorite daughter, Kirby, favorite son, Will, I would always say to them, 'If you had a homework assignment and you were supposed to only do three things, do five, get your homework in early.'"

King did her best to keep her children out of her divorce

The beginning of the end of Gayle King and William Bumpus' 11-year marriage came in 1990 when King caught Bumpus in bed with her friend. That sounds traumatic, but King insists that she does not have any hatred toward her ex-husband. On her XM Satellite radio show, "The Gayle King Show" (via CBS), she said, "I was married to a cheater. I went to marital counseling. I have been divorced since 1993, so I'm all healed and everything. I have worked it out. I'm not bitter. I'm okay. I'm really okay."

Despite strenuous attempts to rebuild their marriage, King and Bumpus finalized their divorce in 1993, and King worked hard to ensure that this didn't negatively affect Kirby Bumpus and William Bumpus Jr.'s lives. King explained why during her appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show" in 2021. "Listen, I never said anything disparaging about their dad to the children. I would just tell my friends ... and my mom," she said. "But I would never involve the children because you don't — Dr. Phil says this all the time — you don't involve children in grown-up issues, and I really do believe that."