Katie Couric's Denzel Washington Interview Left Her 'Shaken'

When we watch an interview with a celebrity, chances are we won't hear about everything that really happened over the course of the conversation — unless the interviewer and his or her subject spills the beans, of course. That's exactly what happened when former Dateline anchor Katie Couric became the interviewee on the Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino podcast.

Couric was asked whether she'd ever conducted an interview where she felt her subject wasn't on the up and up, and while she appeared to skip that question, she did say it brought up an awkward memory of an interview she'd conducted with Denzel Washington in 2004. While Couric didn't get specific, other folks got busy and dug out a transcript, which showed a rather strained exchange between Couric and Washington (via HuffPost)

During the interview, Couric asked Washington whether "Hollywood folks should stick to acting," and not talk about politics. Washington replied, "I don't know what Hollywood folks are, first of all. Hollywood is a town that has some stars on the sidewalk. I don't know anybody from there. So, I don't ... that's like saying ... calling you a type of folks. I'm not a Hollywood folk. I don't know who they are."

Katie Couric remembers 'walking out and feeling shaken' after the interview

Katie Couric then tries to reframe her questions several times, and she is cut off each time. When she tries one last time by asking, "Are you an actor who would rather not —," Washington appears to have cut her off for a last time, saying, "No, I'm not that either," he said. "I'm a human being. My job is acting."

The former anchor tells the podcast's listeners that she didn't think she said anything wrong, and didn't know what happened. But she describes the experience as uncomfortable, and she also thinks that the actor "totally misconstrued a question I asked and kind of jumped all over me." The anchor eventually says she thought Washington was having a bad day, because the next day, he sent what Couric described as "a really big check" to her colon cancer foundation (via CNN).

Did the exchange make Couric feel any differently about Washington? "I love him. I admire him so much. He's one of my favorite actors. But I remember walking out and feeling really kind of shaken that he had kind of gone after me in a way that was completely, weirdly uncalled for," Couric said.

We're baffled too, Katie, and several media outlets have felt strongly enough about the incident to ask Denzel Washington about it, but he hasn't replied — at least not yet.