Robin Roberts (left) and Maya Angelou
D Dipasupil/Getty; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
05/29/2014 at 08:00 AM EDT
Maya Angelou is remembered as a giant of literature and a champion of civil rights. But Robin Roberts
also cherishes the quieter, more personal moments she shared with her friend.
"Oh boy, it's still hard for me right now to talk about it," the Good Morning America
anchor, 53, told PEOPLE Wednesday of Angelou's passing
at age 86.
"She was somebody who meant a lot to all of us. I had the privilege of knowing her and being in her home on several occasions, and she was just a woman of great grace, elegance, a true renaissance woman, and her words and her spirit will live on."
Appearing at a Paley Center for Media gala in New York celebrating her former employer ESPN's 35th anniversary, Roberts also recalled one of the author's lesser-known talents.
"She can cook," said Roberts. "My special moments are in the kitchen when she's whipping up something. She made this great asparagus dish. She can cook everything."
"Just those moments are exactly what she said – that 'You don't always remember what people said, you don't remember what people did, but you remember how they made you feel.' That's her. … I always walked away feeling good about life."
Roberts also spoke briefly about her red-carpet appearance
with girlfriend Amber Laign
at last week' GLSEN Respect Awards in New York.
"I'm just very happy that people loved to see us, and it was a wonderful event that we attended, and I couldn't be happier," she said.