These days, television journalist Jane Pauley is happy and healthy — but things didn’t always come so easily for the star. While Jane currently hosts CBS Sunday Morning, she hit a few bumps in the road beforehand, starting in the early 2000s. After nearly three decades in television, Jane — who had been on Dateline, NBC Nightly News, Today, and more — abruptly disappeared from the small screen in 2001. Though she returned, she never addressed the rumors as to why she took a leave of absence, and just two years later, she decided not to renew her contract with NBC. But in 2004, the star sat down with her colleague Matt Lauer to open about that confusing time, revealing she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Before receiving her diagnosis, she explained that “life had become a little hard to navigate and it was becoming harder to prepare for Dateline interviews. I had had some months of depression.” It was then that a doctor gave her the news. “He explained that he thought I might be suffering hypomania. I’d never heard the word before. But it sounded to me like big time mania — really bad, big mania,” she said. “It was not that. It means mild mania. But the bottom line was he was saying I was suffering from bipolar disorder.”
While it came as a surprise to viewers, Jane described the diagnosis as, “both a shock and a relief. I knew for too long, I’d not been well. I hadn’t felt well in almost a year.” The star revealed that it was a combination of taking antidepressants and steroids for hives that caused her to have horrible moods swings, which eventually landed her in psychiatric evaluation.
She was prescribed Lithium, sharing, “I definitely am better. It just is stabilizing. It allows me to be who I am. A mood disorder is dangerous. You’ve got to get those dramatic waves of highs and lows stabilized. It’s dangerous if you don’t.”
After her revealing interview, the star launched The Jane Pauley Show — though the gig was short-lived, prompting her to return to Today to host a weekly segment, a spot she held until 2013. She followed up by releasing her second book, Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life, in 2014, and joined the CBS Sunday Morning team as a correspondent, taking on the hosting role in 2016 after Charles Osgood retired. Jane has continued to be honest and upfront about her diagnosis, hoping she can help end the stigma around mental health. “I’m celebrated for simply telling a story. People tell me I’m just so marvelously courageous, but this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a total blessing,” she stated. “Giving support is as therapeutic as getting it.”