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Ann Curry on Leaving NBC’s ‘Today’: ‘It Hurt Like Hell’

Ann Curry says she survived after being ousted from NBC’s “Today” by staying humble and true to herself.

“It hurt like hell,” the 61-year-old former “Today” co-anchor and NBC News veteran told People in an interview. “It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been honest and true. I’ve tried to stay pure. I’ve tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I’ve stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I’m also proud of myself.”

Curry left NBC three years after being pushed from NBC’s “Today” morning franchise after a year as co-anchor. Her awkward on-air departure from the program – NBC executives believed she and Lauer lacked on-screen chemistry – is believed to have been in a factor in the rise of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which eventually surpassed “Today” to become the nation’s most-watched morning program. Matt Lauer, Curry’s co-host at the time, was fired from NBC in late November, with the network citing “inappropriate” behavior in the workplace. He is one of a number of prominent media executives to lose their position in the wake of a surge of interest in sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.

“I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard,” she said of leaving NBC and “Today.”  “But I had to let go. And I learned that when you not only let go but open your arms wide and learn the lessons that an experience — no matter how bad — can teach you, that’s when you rise.”

“I can say today I’m stronger now,” she added in the People interview. “I’m smarter. I’m happier, as happy as I’ve ever been. And my compassion has only grown. When you go through the pain and learn the lessons, you will be changed for the better.”

Curry is returning to TV with a six-part PBS documentary series, “We’ll Meet Again,” which looks at individuals searching for people who changed their lives.

“I’ve always thought of journalism as a service profession,” she told People. “I’m in it to give, not to get. This show lets me explore people’s beautiful wishes to reconnect with the people who helped them survive.”

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