Thomas Roberts followed own instincts in coming out a decade ago: ‘I thought: it’s time’
Last summer, Thomas Roberts became the first openly gay evening news anchor on a major US TV network when he hosted NBC’s Nightly News.
The newsman, whose regular show airs weekdays on MSNBC, came out publicly 10 years ago – long before fellow out cable television anchors Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow and Don Lemon.
‘I thought: it’s time,’ Roberts tells Metro Source. ‘This shouldn’t be a big deal, and if everybody at work knows, why can’t everybody at home that watches know?’
But, he admits: ‘It wasn’t something that was overly encouraged from all aspects of my life — whether it was from my agent, my now-husband, my then-bosses. There weren’t a lot of folks who thought this was a great idea.’
At the time, Roberts was a anchor at CNN Headline News and despite a sentiment that he not go public, he still felt ‘it was a great idea. I also wanted to do it for other journalists who were coming up in this industry.’
Since he is a pioneer in this regard, Roberts says: ‘…You get the three letters: G-A-Y, and that’s your biggest accomplishment in life.’
‘That’s your first descriptor, so that leads everything. It’s not that you’ve been doing this for 22 years or that you’ve recently done this or done that. … I think [it] is fine to help define me. It’s not the greatest thing I offer, but it is one of the many great things that’s in the mix of what I have to offer.’
He has no regrets.
‘Life has always been about timing,’ Roberts says. ‘Sometimes mine has been great, other times it’s really stunk. Most people can relate to that.’