David Letterman's Staff Was in Tears over Retirement News

04/04/2014 at 03:40 PM EDT

David Letterman's Staff Was in Tears over Retirement News
David Letterman
Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

Just before David Letterman took to the stage to make his retirement announcement, his director shared the news with the staff, leaving them stunned and emotional.

"Some people were teary. Many people didn't know it ahead of time," a source tells PEOPLE. "People are really in shock. People can't believe it. We always thought it was gonna happen – just like that."

The show's star guest also got caught up in the moment, the source said of the scene before Thursday's Late Show taping, when Letterman, 66, said he will leave his late-night talk show in 2015.

"Johnny Depp was there and he told Dave, 'You have some weepers back there.' Some people were upset."



But they were also rooting for their boss, who marked three decades on air and announced his exit with gratitude and his trademark humor.

"I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much," he told stunned viewers. "We don't have the timetable for this precisely down – I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God."

Said the source: "It was sad but also sweet and honorable the way he did. Everyone there wants the best for Dave."

Reporting by LIZ McNEIL



Related Video: Watch David Letterman's Retirement Announcement

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Bindi Irwin: Remembering My Dad
  • Bindi Irwin: Remembering My Dad
  • Adam Levine's Wedding Details!
  • James Garner: 1928-2014

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

What to Watch Today

From Our Partners