What You Don't Know About Rachel Maddow

We may think there isn't much we don't know about MSNBC's Rachel Maddow — but there may still be a few surprising things you haven't heard. For instance, you're probably aware that Rachel Maddow is gay, but she actually was outed by Stanford University's school paper when she was a student at the school. And when the news reached her mom and dad, she admits that they took it hard.

"They would have had a hard time with me coming out anyway, but this was a particularly nasty way for them to find out. They're wonderful now, and couldn't be more supportive, but they took it poorly at first, which I don't fault them for ... First of all, they were having to deal with the fact that I'm gay. Second of all, they were having to deal with the fact that I'm gay in the newspaper. And third of all, they were having to deal with the fact that they've raised some sort of horrific, callous rug rat who would tell the student paper before telling her family," Maddow wrote in Newsweek.

Now, the elder Maddows are huge fans of their daughter's MSNBC show. She tells The New York Times that her dad sends notes for the show to consider, while her mom sends fashion advice. One message read: "Hi hon. Another great show tonight. I hope you don't mind a little fashion advice. I love your velvet jacket but I think it looks better for fall and winter."

Rachel Maddow suffers from cyclical depression

Rachel Maddow would seem to be in a happy place, with a high-profile career and a long-term relationship with photographer and artist Susan Mikula. But she also suffers from cyclical depression which began when she was just 11 or 12. "That's, you know, something that has been a defining feature of my life as an adult. And it's manageable, but it's real. And doesn't take away from my joy in my work or my energy, but coping with depression is something that is part of the everyday way that I live and have lived as long as I can remember," she told NPR.

She admits that the episodes, when they come, impacts her deeply. "It affects my ability to focus and my preparation. So because I tend to know sort of — I can tell it's coming — my depression isn't all the time, so if I'm coming up on a bout of depression, a few things happen, so I can tell it's happening. Like I just — I'm used to it. I lose my sense of smell and some other things like that happen ... It's like a train and you just ride until it slows down enough that you can get off. And if I know it's coming I will try to schedule my work life around not having to, for example, read a complete book ... And so I try to adjust my schedule around it to accommodate."

Rachel Maddow is comfortable around guns

You'd think that guns would be an anathema for a liberal like Rachel Maddow, but the opposite is true. "I'm actually kind of a good shot. My partner, Susan, her sister is a lifetime NRA member and a real gun enthusiast," Maddow told NPR. "And when Susan and I first met and I wanted to take her out on a date, she said, well, I'm doing this thing to support my sister at her club. And I thought, at her club? You're not really like a country club type person. What kind of — like some sort of dining club? What is this? No, no. Her rod and gun club. And I said sure. And so it was ladies' day on the range. It was an NRA event. And the idea was to make the various shooting sports more fun for the ladies. And so, Susan and I turned up. It was the best possible first date in the entire world."

She continued: "I don't believe that people who disagree in American politics are all that different from one another as humans. I mean, for the one thing, something that brings us together, no matter how much we disagree on a political issue, is that we both care about a political issue ... But I would hope that we could argue about that from a position of mutual respect."

Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson once appeared on the same show

Viewers might consider Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson as the stars of their respective networks, but they once shared airtime on MSNBC. The show, which debuted in 2005, was done in a debate-style format which persisted until the duo was split and Carlson joined Fox News. While it's not clear whether Maddow watches Carlson's show, The New York Times reports he definitely watches hers, and when his show goes off air, Carlson often goes to his office where he catches the beginning of The Rachel Maddow Show.

The two may not share the same political views, but Maddow says she bumped into Carlson very early into President Donald Trump's term and as she put it, "It turned out we had both thrown our backs out within one week of each other, with neither of us having ever had a back problem ever before in our entire lives," she said. "I had the gift of a very human-to-human, eye-contact moment with him, like: 'We're both doing this thing that's killing us, and killing us at the same pace.'" When Maddow and Carlson were described as parallel versions of each other, Maddow's response was to laugh and say, "Exactly."