Gayle King was praised by her colleagues for her calm composure during her career-defining interview with troubled singer R. Kelly.
Kelly was previously arrested and charged with aggravated sexual abuse. His interview with King was his first since he bonded out of jail last weekend.
Kelly was agitated and aggressive during the explosive interview which aired on CBS This Morning. King, 64, remained calm and unbothered as Kelly stood over her while loudly professing his innocence.
Her quiet composure sparked hundreds of memes on social media, including the meme below.
“I was not scared,” King told the Oprah Magazine, where she serves as editor-at-large. “I never thought he was going to hit me.“
King said she realized how scary the scenes looked “after Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay… But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave,” King explained.
“So what I was really thinking to myself was: I’m not done with this interview, so I’m going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say ‘This is over.’ So I didn’t interrupt his anger and let him have that.”
Sources say the interview saved King’s career as an anchorwoman. She was rumored to have one foot out the door at CBS when her contract ends soon.