Meredith Vieira: I Was Abused

04/10/2006 at 04:00 PM EDT

Meredith Vieira: I Was Abused
Meredith Vieira
Yolanda Perez/ABC
Meredith Vieira, who is set to leave The View to replace Katie Couric on Today, was once in an abusive relationship, she reveals in the May issue of More.

"He would slap me and then make up, saying, 'I'll never do this again,' crying," Vieira, 52, says of a man she dated at the start of her career. "It escalated to the point where he actually threw me out of the apartment naked. I sat out all night in the stairwell, and the next morning he let me in."

Vieira says she began to plan her departure after that incident. "It took almost 12 months," she says. "I consider myself a pretty smart woman, and I got into this situation. … I can look back and go, 'Where was my respect for myself?' "

Years later, in an effort to educate the public about domestic violence, she made a TV documentary about the Framingham Eight – women who were jailed for killing their abusers.

Today, Vieira is happily married to her husband of nearly 20 years, journalist Richard Cohen. They have three children: Ben, 17, Gabe, 14, and Lily, 13.

Cohen suffers from multiple sclerosis, and Vieira tells More they are coping with the illness together. When Cohen gives himself a nightly injection of interferon, "We pour a drink; we both watch the needle go in," she says.

And they still play pool together. "Now, the man is legally blind, and he has trouble walking," she says. "He can't even see which one is the cue ball, which is the eight ball. And he beats me every time!"

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