Barbara Walters announced on The View Monday that, after 37 years with ABC, she’s planning to retire next summer – but she admitted in a new interview with ABC News that she’s not entirely sure what she’ll do with her free time.
“I heard my daughter when she was a little girl saying on the phone, ‘My mommy doesn’t drive, my mommy burns the meatloaf, my mommy can’t do anything but television,’” she said. ”I want to find out if there’s something I can do besides television.”
Not so fast: For the next year, Walters, 83, who assured her “View” colleagues, “I’m not walking into the sunset!”, will continue to anchor and report for ABC News and appear on “The View” and in specials throughout the year, including a “20 Years of 10 Most Fascinating People” special in December, an Oscars special and a May career retrospective. After her official retirement, she’ll remain an executive producer of “The View,” and will make occasional appearances.
“I did not sleep last night,” she said of announcing her plans to retire. “I thought, ‘Am I doing it now? Should I do it later?’ But then I thought it was better to go when people are saying, ‘Why is she leaving?’ than, ‘Thank goodness she’s leaving!’”
Still, Walters added that if the decision had been left to her daughter, Jacqueline, she would have stopped working long ago.
“For 25 years, she wanted me to do this,” she said. “She keeps me sane, she keeps me grounded. Children do that. My daughter’s in her forties and I’m very proud of her. I think a lot of working women struggle with the job and being home – and there’s never a right answer. Whatever you do is wrong, but whatever you do will turn out eventually to be OK.”
And though Walters’ storied career has included interviews with world leaders, Oscar winners and everyone in between, she said, “I never talk about ‘the one interview’ because I couldn’t pick one. I talk about the interviews I want to do and didn’t get.”
“The queen never does an interview. The pope doesn’t do interviews,” she added. “Somebody said, ‘Why don’t you tell the queen it’s your last year on television?’ I don’t think that’ll make a difference.”