The stunning transformation of Savannah Guthrie

Millions of viewers tune in every morning to be greeted by the sunny smile of Savannah Guthrie, the long-time co-anchor of NBC's Today Show (via Forbes). But it was a long road from her years as a local news anchor just starting out, to the confident journalist who took on President Trump during the controversial town hall event last night.

Born on December 27, 1971, in Melbourne, Australia, young Guthrie was just two years old when her family moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up. Parents Nancy and Charles raised their three children grounded in their Baptist faith with a focus on their individual personalities, and as Guthrie explained in an interview with Refinery 29, with an "emphasis on who you are and who you are when no one is looking." This fundamental belief has pervaded Guthrie's life and has even played a role in how she raises her own children. Her parents always stressed that who you are is much more important than how good you are at sports or your physical appearance. And even though Guthrie played tennis and took piano lessons, she's not shy about the fact that she didn't excel at either (via Biography and Business Insider).

The death of Savannah Guthrie's father when she was 16 changed her life

When she was just 16-years-old Savannah Guthrie's father died of a heart attack. Up until that time, her mother Nancy had been a stay-at-home mom. Suddenly thrust into the harsh reality of supporting and raising three kids on her own, Guthrie's mother was able to get a job working in public relations for the University of Arizona where the Today host and her sister, Annie, were luckily able to attend tuition-free (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Dubbed by Refinery 29 as, "an unlikely role model for the laidback dreamers," Guthrie admitted to the outlet that she wasn't much of an overachiever in life until she had to be. Explaining, "I wasn't much of a go-getter in my younger years. In high school, I was kind of a slacker. It was only in college when I started taking journalism classes that the fire was lit, and I really wanted to accomplish things. Before that, I was happy to hang out with my friends and listen to grunge music and wear my chunky heels."

Reflecting on that difficult time of her life in an open-letter essay to her mother that she wrote for Good Housekeeping in 2017, Guthrie shared, "I think about when Dad passed away so suddenly ... I remember how we clung to each other for dear life in the years that followed. Your strength and selflessness in the face of that shock amazes me to this day."

After graduating, Savannah Guthrie went from journalism to law

Savannah Guthrie graduated cum laude with a journalism degree from the University of Arizona in 1993 and promptly moved to Butte, Montana, where she got her big-break as an anchor on a local TV station. Unfortunately, the station closed down just 10 days later and Guthrie found herself forced back home to Tucson, unemployed. Pulling herself up by her bootstraps, she quickly found a job as a reporter and anchor in Columbia, Missouri, where she worked for the next two years with a focus on legal journalism that would earn her the "Excellence in Legal Journalism Award" from the Missouri Bar (via Business Insider).

In 1995, Guthrie was offered a job at an NBC affiliate in her hometown of Tucson, where she thrived for five years until getting an offer with a big market Washington D.C. affiliate in 2000 that would have her covering the 9/11 attacks and other major news stories at the time (via Biography).

But a burgeoning career in broadcast news wasn't enough at the time. Inspired by her background in legal journalism and the OJ Simpson and Menendez trials that were so prevalent at the time, Guthrie quit journalism and pursued a career in law. In 2002, after receiving the highest score on the Arizona bar, Savannah Guthrie joined Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, and specialized in white-collar criminal defense for a year (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Savannah Guthrie then returned to her roots as a journalist

In a commencement speech Savannah Guthrie made to the 2019 class at George Washington University, she revealed that just a few months before starting a prestigious job as a law clerk for a federal judge, she quit her legal career to return to journalism. She told the graduating class, "It wasn't my dream. What I really wanted was to go back to my roots in journalism. I still had that nagging hope that one day I could really make it in television news" (via Today).

After working as a CourtTV correspondent from 2004 to 2006, she found herself in the role of NBC News legal correspondent, and after a much sought after interview with Sarah Palin was offered the role of NBC's White House correspondent in December of 2008. Her enigmatic personality and comfort in front of the camera caught the eye of higher-ups at NBC that were contending with the controversy of Ann Curry's sudden departure as co-host of the morning program.

After many guest appearances onĀ Today, Guthrie was officially offered the role of co-host in 2012, and she's been with the show ever since. Although controversy regarding allegations against Matt Lauer, and the sudden departure of Curry, left Guthrie with the challenge to breathe life back into a show that had suffered in both reputation and ratings, she took on the task and succeeded in following her dreams (via Business Insider).

Savannah Guthrie found love and motherhood in her 40s

With a failed first marriage to BBC journalist Mark Orchard that ended after five years in 2009, Guthrie turned towards her professional goals putting her personal life on hold. But that same year she met media consultant Mike Feldman and after dating for five years, the two married in 2014 with the exciting news that a baby was on the way, as well, something Guthrie had thought was off the table as a 42-year-old woman. Just five months after marrying they welcomed a daughter, Vale, and two years later they were blessed with another child, a baby boy, Charley. The 48-year-old recalled to People, "When we found out we were pregnant, I don't think there were two happier people on this planet." Guthrie further described the perks of becoming a mom later in life, stating, "Now, I can really take my time and enjoy our kids."

Thankfully, Savannah Guthrie followed her dream of becoming a successful TV journalist, and today she has both the family and the career she always dreamed of.