Catt Sadler discusses her unexpected role as poster child for the Time's Up movement

PHOTO: Catt Sadler attends The Tot holiday pop-up celebration at Laduree at the Grove on Dec. 4, 2017 in Los Angeles.PlayDonato Sardella/Getty Images
WATCH E! News host leaves network over pay disparity with male co-host

Catt Sadler never expected that quitting her job at E! over a pay disparity would make her the poster child for the Time's Up movement.

"[To] be brought into this cause in this way has been crazy," she told Cosmopolitan in a new interview. "I just blinked and January was over because I have been fielding so many messages, emails from women all around the world, that are fed up or needed a reminder to stand up for themselves."

Sadler announced she was leaving the network in December after discovering that a "similarly situated male co-host" was paid nearly double her salary for the past several years.

The 43-year-old told Cosmopolitan that her exit from the network was a gradual decision.

PHOTO: Catt Sadler talks to Cosmopolitan magazine where she speaks about quitting her job at E! and becoming a symbol of the Times Up movement. The story also features original photos of Sadler in her Los Angeles home. Mary Kang/Cosmopolitan.com
Catt Sadler talks to Cosmopolitan magazine where she speaks about quitting her job at E! and becoming a symbol of the Times Up movement. The story also features original photos of Sadler in her Los Angeles home.

"It wasn’t this overnight [move] -- ‘Oh my gosh, I’m leaving E!’ It was months of me starting to see the picture very clearly," she said.

Sadler finally reached the point, she said, where "I couldn’t imagine walking back into that building, as many hours as you work a day, every day, knowing that they completely rejected my value."

Since leaving, the on-air personality has found acceptance from both celebrities and young girls.

She recalled turning on the Golden Globes red carpet coverage on E! and seeing Debra Messing confront the co-hosts about Sadler's pay gap.

"I flipped on the TV and five minutes in Debra Messing said what she said, and I was on my bed watching with the rest of the world. My jaw just dropped and I went, ‘Oh my god, this is actually happening,'" she said.

At the same time, young girls across the country have been reaching out to her.

"I’ve done interviews with so many girls across the country in the last month for their school projects because they’re having conversations [about equal pay] now at 12," she said. "This gets me really emotional because I’m just like, ‘Wow, I wasn’t having those conversations when I was 12. I was passing notes in class and getting somebody to say yes or no to being my boyfriend.’ They are so savvy now, and I love that."

Meanwhile, Sadler said she's still sorting through her emotions and hasn't decided whether she will take legal action against the network. She's also trying to figure out her next move.

"For the first time in my life I am in the driver’s seat, and I can maybe curate and strategize and figure out what this new season of my life looks like," she said, adding, "I’m really good at what I do and I knew the truth. If somebody doesn’t want to hire me for that, good. I don’t want to work for you either."

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