What You Don't Know About Gayle King

There are some people in our popular culture that demand attention by being fearless, oftentimes kind, dynamic, and powerful — one such person who perfectly fits the bill is Gayle King, the iconic reporter and TV personality who has dominated the airwaves for years.

King is a reporter, editor, television host, and cultural icon. She has spent her career working in the finest newsrooms, reporting groundbreaking stories, and, of course, spending time with her fearless and iconic best friend, Oprah Winfrey. At first glance, it really seems like King has it all — the career, the connections, the reputation. But there's a lot about her that we don't know.

King may have been by Winfrey's side as they've dominated talk and news television, she may have interviewed Barack and Michelle Obama, and she may have been named one of the world's most influential people. But King is so much more than what we know, and it's time that everyone finds out the depths that King's life has taken her. So here's what you don't know about Gayle King.

This interview was a standout moment in Gayle King's career

When you're Gayle King, your career has included all kinds of standout moments. We're convinced that King has all her clips and broadcast news stories filed away somewhere so she can revisit her storied career as a journalist whenever she wants to, but there is one moment that she made a point of highlighting. In a sit down with USA Today, King revealed that a standout moment in her career was when she interviewed Barack and Michelle Obama together. 

It was the Super Bowl, and according to King, the network that hosts the Super Bowl gets to do an interview with the president of the United States during halftime. It just so happened that the network was CBS, and King was called on to interview the Obamas — their first interview together — live. "That was super cool and super nerve-wracking, because you're live and you have to stick to your time cues," King said. "I'm told I don't always do that (sticking to time cues) well." But she pulled it off. Of course she did, she's Gayle King.

Gayle King was one of Time 100's most influential people in 2019

Gayle King's influence on pop culture and news reporting is palpable. Her reach was clearly something that needed to be highlighted and celebrated, because in 2019 King was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. Oscar-nominated director and producer Ava DuVernay wrote about King for the magazine's storied issue, and she did not hold back her praises when it comes to King's ability to observe and honor the truth in journalism. "What most don't understand about Gayle is that this perfected proximity to others is a superpower that the best journalists possess," DuVernay wrote. "To be present, but not centered. To observe. To bear witness. Gayle has long honed this craft." 

DuVernay praised King as one of the "all-time great broadcast interviewers" and made a point of highlighting King's dedication to authenticity and kindness. "To see her for the truth seeker that she has always been," DuVernay concluded. "Our eyes are now open as we bear witness to her, standing right in front of us, gracefully in the center." What an icon.

Gayle King has suffered some hard setbacks in her personal life

Gayle King is not only a journalist, but a celebrity. Because of that, she's dealt with personal difficulties in public. As noted by Refinery29, King suffered some setbacks in her life — her father passed away when she was in college, her mother passed away when she was 40. To top it off, when her kids were just 6 and 7, King found out that her husband was having an affair. 

Here's where things get tricky. King and her ex-husband got divorced, and when she was asked while completing a Vanity Fair questionnaire (via Entertainment Tonight) what "living person she most despises," King said that she was "not a huge fan of the woman who [she] caught naked with [her] ex-husband on June 24, 1990, at 9:16 p.m.," adding that she "[doesn't] remember the details."

The sharp quip prompted King's ex-husband to release a statement, which he gave to Entertainment Tonight. "I have been haunted with this life altering choice," the statement read. "Though I have dealt with this privately, I publicly apologize for the major transgression that dramatically changed all of our lives." Word to the wise, don't mess with King.

Gayle King has two kids, one of whom got married at Oprah's house

Imagine knowing Oprah Winfrey and going to her home — you can't, can you? Well, Gayle King can because she is Winfrey's best friend, and her kids are close to the talk show icon as well. King has two kids, Kirby and William, both grown and living their adult lives. King even brought up the fact that her kids are "potty-trained and employed" while being interviewed by USA Today

"It's very busy, but I like it," King said of her career. "My kids are grown — they're 31 and 32. I like to say 'potty-trained and employed.' It's not like I have to rush home and cook dinner or tuck anybody in or read anybody a story or give anybody a bath." 

But Kirby called on her mom's best friend for a wedding day favor, and we sure are jealous. As noted by USA Today, Kirby got married to her now-husband, Virgil, at Winfrey's house in December of 2020. It was a small ceremony with just six people in attendance, including Oprah Winfrey and her longtime partner, Stedman Graham. Can you even imagine?

Gayle King balances her career with organized chaos

The best journalists are the ones with notepads and scraps of paper everywhere — their desks may look like a mess, but they know exactly where everything is — and that seems to be the way that Gayle King goes about her career. We have to say it certainly has worked for her. In a sit down with Refinery29, King was asked what she looks for when she's in the process of hiring someone who is at the very on-set of their career. King responded, "I want someone who's organized, because I'm very disorganized." Amazing. 

King explained that she's be the type of person to get in the car and then ask where it is that she's going. Basically, organized chaos is the name of the game. As such, she said that she's always looking for people who are on their A-game. "I don't want someone who's sitting there looking at the clock and doing the bare minimum," King said. "Someone who won't wait for me to give them suggestions and instead will give me some suggestions." Note to self: Do everything that King suggests career-wise.

Gayle King's longtime CBS co-host was accused of sexual assault, sending her reeling

The media industry has been rocked by a number of sexual assault cases, and Gayle King's world was shaken when her longtime CBS co-host Charlie Rose was accused of sexual harassment. As noted by Refinery29, Rose was fired from PBS and CBS following the accusations, leaving King "reeling." 

King considered Rose to be a friend, and the revelations about his behavior sent her for a loop. "I think that the thing that made the show successful was the chemistry among the three of us, so I feel a tremendous sense of loss," she said. 

King explained further that the situation was made even more difficult given how much she looked up to Rose. "It's extremely difficult to come to grips with the fact that someone that you cared about could potentially be capable of the things we read," she said. "I am glad that if there's anything good that's come out of this, it's that women finally feel emboldened to speak up."

Gayle King landed her first job in television while still in college

Gayle King knows how to hustle. She shared with USA Today that she landed an entry-level position at a news station while she was still in college and "became hooked." She worked her way up the ladder, landing a gig as a production assistant at the Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate station. She told USA Today that her career was heavily influenced by CBS News' Pam Coulter, a radio reporter with whom King had interned.

After King landed her high-profile job at CBS, she called Coulter, who would not stop singing King's praises. "She says, 'Gayle, this is so great that you're at CBS. I love watching you, I think you're so good,'" King recalled. "And so I said, 'well I was just calling to thank you because I've never forgotten your generosity or all the things you showed me' and she said, 'have we met?'" 

King had to remind Coulter that she had worked for her as an intern back in the day, which she found very funny. "Clearly, I was not a standout intern," she said. "I learned a lot from her."

Gayle King gets up at 3:22 a.m. on the dot and doesn't rely on coffee

Trying to get out of bed seems like the most difficult task of the day — the blankets are all warm and the coffee hasn't brewed yet — but not if you're Gayle King. 

In a sit-down interview with Refinery29, King's former employee revealed that the media mogul gets up at exactly 3:22 a.m. every day and hardly ever complains about it. We complain about getting up at 7 a.m., meanwhile King has practically lived an entire work day already. So why the specific time? King likes to read all the morning papers and see what different news stations are reporting before she heads into work. Her car picks her up at 4:30 a.m. to take her to CBS, and her reporting day goes from there. 

Want to know the kicker? King doesn't drink coffee. She told USA Today that she only ever orders a white hot chocolate when she's at Starbucks.

Who is Gayle King's lifelong best friend? That would be Oprah Winfrey

Gayle King was working as a production assistant early in her career when she met a young news anchor, also at the start of her professional life. Although the two worked in different departments, they bonded due to their close age and their experiences as single, young Black women working in the news industry. They quickly became best of friends, their bond having lasted a lifetime. So who's this best friend? That would be literal icon Oprah Winfrey. 

King and Winfrey are now known as the dynamic duo who inspire positive female friendships everywhere. At some point in your life — if this hasn't happened yet — you will be referred to as the "Gayle" to your best friend's "Oprah." King and Winfrey not only bonded over their shared experiences, but found friendship during a literal snowstorm. As noted by O, The Oprah Magazine, King couldn't make it home after work one day due to the weather, so Winfrey invited her to stay at her house. They've been by each other's side ever since. Invite us to a King-Winfrey slumber party any day.

Gayle King didn't intend on becoming a television personality

A lot of people get into the news industry with a lot of intention — it's a career path that is very demanding, is fraught with grueling hours, and isn't exactly the easiest terrain to walk — and, according to Gayle King, she had absolutely no intention of becoming a journalist. She told USA Today that while in college, she majored in psychology, hoping to help people in tough areas of life. She also considered going to law school, as she "thought [she'd] be great in front of a jury trying to argue [her] case." But neither path forged itself for King, and journalism ended up finding her. 

"You'll talk to [ten] different people and get [ten] different stories of how we started in this business, but for me it was really by accident," she said. "It wasn't something that I intended to do. I got an entry-level position and there you go to something else and then something else and something else and here I am." A success story, an inspiring journalist, and an all-around inspiring human being.

Gayle King is divorced, but has turned this setback into a positive for her

Getting divorced is hard — and getting along with your ex is that much harder — but Gayle King has seemed to find peace with her separation. She told Refinery29 about how she met her ex-husband, how she came to terms with his infidelity, and how she turned a difficult position into a career-boosting perspective. 

King met her ex-husband while he was standing in line at a Safeway store in Kansas City. He accused her of cutting the line, threw in a line about her ability to make him smile, and that was it. "Obviously, the marriage didn't work," King said. "But I have Kirby and Will, so that first meeting was so worth it." King revealed to Refinery29 that she believed her ex-husband held "a lot of resentment" towards her and her career. She said that while he would probably deny that, it's something she believes to be true. 

"If that marriage hadn't ended, would I be at CBS? I don't know," King said. "But I believe with every fiber in my body that you can find the right person that celebrates you and encourages you."

What does Gayle King consider to be her most standout reporting?

Gayle King has covered groundbreaking stories, but some have really stood out. When asked by USA Today what stories she considered as standout reporting in her career, King shared two: the Newtown elementary school shooting and the murder of Bakari Henderson. 

Newtown stood out to King because she served as a news anchor in Connecticut for 18 years, "so [she] really felt intimately connected with that story." Henderson's murder stood out to her for a different reason, not only because he was only 22 years old, but also because racism played a major role in his death. 

"A young black man graduating from college, going on a trip with friends in Greece, and they get in an altercation with people in a bar and they end up literally beating him to death," King shared with USA Today. "That story affected me deeply, because as a person of color — and I do think this was racially motivated — because Bakari was the only black kid with a group of white friends." King said that Henderson's family recalled that his life was over in 30 seconds, something that she found very difficult to reconcile with.

Gayle King is a working journalist for CBS and the editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine

Gayle King is not just a popular culture figure, but she is a working journalist and editor who spends every day working like crazy. She told USA Today that every work day is different, and while it comes with its challenges, she wouldn't trade it for anything. "The hours are crappy, but I love this job. One day I could be in Texas talking to immigrant moms. ... Another time I could be at the White House," King said. "I have another full-time job at [O, The Oprah Magazine]. I've been there for 18 years. I'm there until about 6:30 to 7 p.m. ... It's very busy, but I like it." 

King really must love the work, because those hours seem insane. But it's a career path that she's said she's learned so much from, and that she wouldn't be where she is in life if she hadn't taken risks to get there. "Don't take a foolish risk, but I think it's good in life to take a risk," she shared with USA Today. "I also believe that I don't care who you are, how big you are, everybody always has something to learn."

You won't believe how much Gayle King is worth

Gayle King is one of the most recognizable news figures in the country, and her net worth certainly is reflective of her status. As noted by Celebrity Net Worth, King has a net worth of $40 million, due to her career as an on-air journalist, author, and editor-at-large of O, The Oprah Magazine, where she's worked since 1999. In addition, King also served as a correspondent on the highly watched The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was the host of The Gayle King Show that aired on the OWN network in 2011. 

Celebrity Net Worth revealed that CBS paid King a $5.5 million salary from 2014 to 2019, a total of about $30 million in gross earnings. But King upped the scale and renegotiated her CBS pay to $11 million a year. 

King certainly knows how to spend her money well. She purchased a $7 million Manhattan penthouse in 2008 and owned a 10,000-square-foot home in Connecticut (bought in 2000, sold in 2008). King keeps her public records for her homes under an LLC owned by Oprah Winfrey called the Overground Railroad LLC. As if we could love her any more.