At the Cut’s How I Get It Done Day on Monday, March 4, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts spoke about her recent interviews with Jussie Smollett and Selma Blair. It was the first time Blair spoke publicly about her multiple sclerosis since being diagnosed last year.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Roberts said of meeting with Blair. “They had me go upstairs because we were going to do the walk-and-talk before we did the interview because of her strength. So I go upstairs to her room and she is together. That’s just what I said to her, she looked phenomenal. And then she spoke” — Blair was going through an MS flare-up that affected her speech during the interview — “and I didn’t want my, I didn’t know that she had that condition where it was very difficult for her to speak, but I made sure that my eyes didn’t look at her like I’m sure people do when they see somebody or hear somebody [like that]. I know not to treat people differently. And she told me that that meant a lot to her. I just started talking to her like a girlfriend.”
Blair said she had struggled with health problems since her son was born in 2011, and only recently realized she had “aggressive MS” because doctors initially didn’t take her pain seriously. “I was a little scared of talking [in this GMA interview,] and even my neurologist said no, this will bring a lot of awareness because no one has the energy to talk when they’re in a flare-up,” Blair said. “But I do, because I love a camera.”
Roberts said she loved Blair’s sense of humor throughout the interview. “I think she was so free in talking because she had she had seen my story, and she saw how difficult but how important it was for me to share as much as I could about my breast cancer and then my blood cancer disorder,” Roberts said. “It was just an easy, easy conversation to have with her. I’m so taken aback, and so grateful. I can’t remember the last time I did an interview that received so much positive attention, positive remarks. The MS community that has come out and rallied and is so incredibly grateful to her.”
At the end of the interview, Blair said her doctor predicted she would have 90 percent of her abilities back within a year, and she offered to interview with Roberts again. “I want to document the year,” Roberts told Bugbee. “I want people to be able to see the highs and the lows.”
Roberts called her interview with Smollett a “no-win situation” where she aimed to remain “neutral.”
“I’m a black gay woman, he’s a black gay man,” she said. “He’s saying that there’s a hate crime, so if I’m too hard, then my LGBT community is going to say, ‘You don’t believe a brother,’ if I’m too light on him, it’s like, ‘Oh, because you are in the community, you’re giving him a pass.’” Two days after her interview with the Empire actor, shortly after it aired, two Nigerian brothers alleged they were paid by Smollett to stage the attack.
Roberts said her team did the best they could given the information they had at the time, thinking Smollett was a victim when they interviewed him. “I pride myself in being fair,” she said. “There’s so many people who do not come forward because others are not believed. I don’t know how this is all going to end. We still talk to the [Chicago] police superintendent.”