Last month, longtime TV broadcaster Larry King spent his 87th birthday in the hospital. A problem with his blood flow, which caused Larry to seek treatment, capped a terrible year marked by the tragic deaths of two of his children this summer.
Larry, however, accepts that heartbreak and tragedy are inevitable parts of every life. “John Kennedy said life isn’t fair, which is so true,” Larry exclusively tells Closer in the latest issue, on newsstands now. “A lot of life is luck. I have no control over it.”
But by any standards, it’s been a difficult time. Larry’s oldest son, Andy King, 65, unexpectedly died of a heart attack in late July, followed by his daughter Chaia King, 51, who succumbed to lung cancer a few weeks later. “Losing them feels so out of order. No parent should have to bury a child,” Larry says. “Both of them were good and kind souls and they will be greatly missed.”
The eight-times-married journalist has been facing these hardships alone. In 2019, Larry filed for divorce from Shawn Southwick King, his wife of 22 years and the mother of his youngest sons, Chance, 21, and Cannon, 20. (Larry is also father to Larry King Jr., 59, from an earlier marriage.) “I thought a lot about what I wanted the rest of my life to be,” Larry confessed about his decision to separate from Shawn. “There is nothing worse than arguing … I wanted to be happy.”
He filed for divorce four months after surviving a stroke, blaming their 26-year age difference as the root of their marital unhappiness. “It became an issue,” Larry confesses. “We overcame a lot but eventually it became a ships passing in the night situation.” Yet Shawn isn’t completely out of his life. “She still checks in on him,” confides an insider.
The TV star also receives a lot of support from his surviving children. Larry bursts with pride when he talks about his youngest sons, who have both set their sights on professional baseball careers. “He’s one hell of a pitcher,” he says of Chance, adding that Cannon “is also one hell of a player. They are two terrific kids. I introduced them to baseball and they love it.” Larry “wants to see his sons play professionally, maybe get married and give him grandkids,” adds the insider.
Work also continues to bring Larry joy and keep him engaged with life. Though Larry King Now ended its run on Hulu earlier this year, he continues to host PoliticKING With Larry King, a weekly talk show available on the streaming service. “He doesn’t want to stop. The biggest challenge for him is listening to the doctors who want him to de-stress by working less and resting more,” says the insider. But for Larry, work is a pleasure. “I’ve been given the gift of curiosity,” Larry tells Closer. “And I’ve made that curiosity into a professional career.”
Despite the heartbreaks he’s recently suffered, Larry, who over the years has also survived a heart attack, lung and prostate cancers, insists that he’s been blessed. “The truth is that every day of my life, good or bad, I pinch myself,” he admits. “I lived through so many things, but I keep bouncing back. I have so much to live for.”
For this story and more, pick up the latest issue of Closer magazine, on newsstands now.