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 moment the confident journalist took on President Donald Trump during a controversial town hall event in 2020.

Guthrie's journey to becoming one of the most recognized names in news was rather unconventional, but the unusual path she took to the top may have just made her a better reporter. So is the fact that her life has not exactly been an easy one; Guthrie has suffered more than one heartache over the years, but her personal life is now thriving alongside her professional career. From her childhood in Australia to her becoming a household name, here is a closer look at how Savannah Guthrie has transformed over the years.

Savannah Guthrie moved across the world when she was just 2 years old

Born on Dec. 27, 1971, in Melbourne, Australia, young Savannah Guthrie was just 2 years old when her family moved to Tucson, Ariz., where she grew up. Having her entire life uprooted might have been difficult for Guthrie, but she wasn't old enough to remember moving across the globe.

That doesn't mean that being born in another country didn't have an impact on Guthrie's life, though. "Growing up and knowing that I was born in Australia was always this interesting exotic part of my history that I love," she revealed to People.

Her childhood in Tucson may not have been as "exotic" as the land down under, but Guthrie did have a happy youth. She even got a head start mixing with famous people — or at least one person who would grow up to be famous. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, one of her high school classmates was Olympian and professional football player Michael Bates.

Savannah Guthrie's parents raised her to be true to herself

Savannah Guthrie's parents, Nancy and Charles, raised their three children grounded in their Baptist faith with a focus on their individual personalities and, as Savannah Guthrie explained in an interview with Refinery29, 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 (via Guideposts). 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).

Guthrie was particularly close to her father, describing him in a piece for the Today website as "always strong, sometimes terrifying, loyal to the end, and disarmingly gentle and tender when it counted." It's her dad's integrity, though, that had the biggest impact on Guthrie. While she said that his "moral clarity" could be "intimidating," Guthrie's dad "tempered it ... with kindness and mercy."

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 Refinery29 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, she 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 on Today, Guthrie was officially offered the role of co-host in 2012, and she's been with the show ever since (via Business Insider).

Co-hosting the Today show was a big risk for Savannah Guthrie

Joining the Today show was a big moment in Savannah Guthrie's career, but it was also bittersweet as it was a turbulent time for the show. Guthrie was brought on as a replacement for Ann Curry, who was unceremoniously and unexpectedly booted from the position in 2012. "I still don't really understand," Curry told Elle in 2020 about being replaced, noting, "I know I did nothing wrong."

The co-hosting gig went to Guthrie, but NBC seemed to want to draw as little attention as possible to the switch and her debut was met with very little fanfare. The entire situation was tense, and Guthrie wasn't even sure if she wanted to accept the position when it was offered to her. While, as she told The New York Times, "anyone would dream to get to host the Today show," she didn't relish the idea of landing the prestigious job in the midst of so much upheaval. "I wondered, 'If I do this, and if it's such a controversy, it would be so easy to fail and never work in this business again,'" she said.

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.

Savannah Guthrie thrives as "a working mom"

Savannah Guthrie's career can be grueling, but she isn't complaining — even when she has to wake up at the crack of dawn to co-host the Today show. Getting up at 3 a.m. may be rough, but Guthrie likes that it allows her to spend more time with her kids since she's usually done with her work day by lunchtime. "I come home and I see so much of my kids, and that means everything to me," she told Refinery29.

Guthrie has mastered the art of balancing her work life and her home life — if such a thing can truly be done. Even though, as she told Refinery29, "having kids changes everything," Guthrie still feels like everything in her life has aligned. "I often reflect on how lucky I am and how, in a cosmic sense, the timing was so perfect," she said, adding that "as a working mom," working for Today "is a dream come true."

Savannah Guthrie co-wrote a children's book for her daughter

Savannah Guthrie put her creative writing talents to good use in 2017 when she co-wrote a children's book called Princesses Wear Pants. Guthrie wrote the picture book with Allison Oppenheim after they discovered that both of their daughters were obsessed with all things related to princesses.

The book isn't your average fairy tale, and it sends a powerful message of empowerment. Guthrie got the idea for the book after seeing Kate Middleton donning pants. "I said, 'Princesses wear pants,'" Guthrie told Today. "That's when I said, 'That's a book.'" Guthrie and Oppenheim created a character named Penelope Pineapple who is the epitome of a storybook princess. She loves to get all glammed up, "but she also wears pants while getting things done." Through the book, Guthrie wants to show her daughter — and all kids — that, princess or not, the most important thing is to "be a person of substance."

As Guthrie told Xfinity TV, though, Princess Wear Pants is "not anti-princess." She explained, "Our princess has dresses... but the pants are really just a way to talk about that princesses are more than what they wear, they're what they do."

The #MeToo movement impacted Savannah Guthrie's career

After she joined the Today show, Savannah Guthrie struck up a friendship with her co-host Matt Lauer. There seemed to be genuine affection on both sides. "From the day I met Savannah, I knew there was something special about her," he told Variety in 2016. Guthrie was stunned the following year when Lauer was fired following allegations of sexual misconduct. Moments after learning about the accusations, Guthrie had to go on air where she said she was "heartbroken for Matt" (via CNN). Guthrie didn't defend her co-anchor, though, and she professed heartbreak "for the brave colleague who came forward to tell her story." She asked, "How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?"

The aftermath left Guthrie reeling. "She's not herself," a source told Entertainment Tonight after Lauer was fired. "She's visibly shaken."

More allegations were brought against Lauer in 2019 and again Guthrie stood with his accusers in the true spirit of the #MeToo Movement. "This is shocking and appalling," she said on Today, adding that she and her co-host Hoda Kotb "support ... any women who have come forward."

A severe eye injury almost blinded Savannah Guthrie

Savannah Guthrie very nearly lost the sight in her right eye in 2019 after her son, then 2 years old, accidentally injured her. She explained on Today that "Charley threw a toy train right at my eye and it tore my retina."

Things were touch and go for a while, and Guthrie even temporarily lost her eyesight in that eye. The TV personality had to undergo five laser procedures following the injury, which caused her retina to detach. Fortunately, the laser surgeries were enough to repair the damage, although Guthrie came close to needing a more invasive retinal surgery. Her ophthalmologist, Dr. Annie Negrin, told Today that her patient was "really lucky" the laser surgeries were successful.

While it was a serious and painful injury, Guthrie understood that Charley was just being a playful kid and was determined to keep him from feeling any guilt over the incident or even knowing how seriously he'd hurt his mom. "I was FaceTiming with my mom to tell her, and he came running in and said, 'I did it! I did it!'" she told Today after the injury occurred.

Savannah Guthrie broadcasted from her basement during quarantine

In March 2020, Savannah Guthrie had symptoms that could have been COVID-19, but, instead of calling in sick, she decided to stay at home and broadcast from her basement. "I wasn't feeling my best, a little sore throat, some sniffles, I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but we are in different times, aren't we?" she said on Today.

Guthrie's symptoms were mild, and she was back in the studio two weeks later. But things weren't the same, as she and her co-host, Hoda Kotb, had to remain six feet apart. "We're practicing our social distancing," Guthrie said on the show.

Guthrie and her husband, Michael Feldman, also had to adjust to quarantine life, which included Zoom classes for their kids. As she said in an interview for The Scott Brothers, though, she and Feldman work well as a team and managed to hold down the fort. One of their biggest challenges was explaining the pandemic to their kids. "I want Vale and Charley to be aware of what's going on in the world, but they don't need to be that aware," she said.

Savannah Guthrie revealed her "lifelong struggle" for self-acceptance

Savannah Guthrie may look like she has it all, but, like the rest of us, she's only human. Being rich and famous is all well and good, but it's not enough for Guthrie to quell the doubts she has about her appearance. "It's a lifelong struggle for me," Guthrie confessed to Health in 2020. "I've never once felt good about how I looked on the outside."

Guthrie is gorgeous and was featured in People's "Beautiful Issue" in 2019, but validation from others doesn't necessarily equate to self-acceptance. This is what Guthrie has spent so long striving for. Learning to love how she looks is a journey, but Guthrie is determined not to pass her own feelings of inadequacy on to the next generation, saying that it's "just not healthy" and "holds us back from joy." Guthrie wants her own daughter to grow up confident and loving her own reflection. "We should be happy and proud of our bodies," she said.

Savannah Guthrie shocked herself when she clapped back at Trump

Savannah Guthrie found herself even more famous during the 2020 election when she and former president Donald Trump went head to head during a town hall hosted by NBC that she moderated in October. While many praised Guthrie for, as The Guardian put it, "keeping Trump in check," questioning him on controversial topics including the way he handled the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, others accused her of being a "Joe Biden surrogate."

Guthrie has long had a reputation of not shying away during interviews, with The Scott Brothers noting that her "favorite interview tactic is to ask the one question [her] subject would rather not be asked." In spite of this, Guthrie is still surprised by how hard she came down on Trump for seemingly endorsing conspiracy theories. "You're the president," she said at the town hall. "You're not like someone's crazy uncle who can retweet whatever."

After the event, Guthrie admitted to being "shocked at myself" to The New York Times. "I don't even know if it's a good thing that I said it," she said. "That just came out."