After Megyn Kelly came to even further prominence during the 2016 presidential election campaign, the former Fox News star’s career has gone from strength to strength. Now, in fact, she even has her own morning show in Megyn Kelly Today. But as Kelly has become increasingly famous, certain aspects of her past have emerged that the host perhaps wishes had been simply forgotten. Take the following tidbits, for instance…
19. She wanted to be the new Matt Lauer
Kelly is seemingly nothing if not ambitious. Indeed, after climbing the ladder at Fox News and then making the leap to mega-stardom at NBC, she apparently had her sights set on another prize: The Today Show. And when Matt Lauer was ousted from his role on that program, rumors swirled that Kelly wanted to take his place. The coveted chair ended up going to Hoda Kotb, though.
18. She used to have abs of steel
Kelly hasn’t always worked as a journalist. In fact, back in the early 1990s, she even once flirted with a career in workout videos and appeared in Kathy Caiello’s Absolutely Abs. There, the future Fox News anchor can be spotted in the background in her lime-green leotard, crunching away.
17. She rebelled against her scholar dad
Kelly’s father was a liberal professor and an intellectual, and so she grew up with Ph.D. students gathered around, having abstract debates. But Kelly wanted no part of the scholarly life and would eventually quit her job as a lawyer in order to “get her hands dirty.” Sadly, Kelly’s father passed away when she was still in her sophomore year in high school.
16. She likes being a cowgirl
Kelly is apparently fond of the cowgirl life. Indeed, her husband Douglas Brunt has even claimed that her favorite childhood photo of herself sees her dressed in cowgirl gear. What’s more, the host’s idea of a dream vacation is apparently to spend time on a dude ranch.
15. She’s not really a Republican
While Kelly was once one of the biggest names on Fox News, she is – perhaps shockingly – not actually a Republican. In fact, the woman herself is an independent voter, though she admits that many of her political stances skew conservative.
14. She once insisted both Santa and Jesus were white
In one of Kelly’s arguably more bizarre Fox rants, she insisted, live on air, that it was a known historical fact that both Jesus and Santa Claus were white. The star was slammed for her ignorance. Perhaps she’s since written to Santa to ask for the gift of forgetting she said that out loud.
13. Her feud with Trump was the best thing that ever happened to her career
In a now-infamous moment during a 2016 presidential debate, Kelly asked Donald Trump about the apparently disparaging remarks that he had made about women. After the debate, however, the future president called his questioner “crazy” and a “bimbo” and said that she had blood coming from her eyes and “out of her wherever.” But Kelly arguably got the last laugh, as the moment turned her into a quasi-feminist hero and paved the way for Megyn Kelly Today.
12. Her first husband might have cheated on her
Kelly has strongly hinted not once but twice that her first husband cheated on her. Kelly married Dr. Dan Kendall in 2001, exactly 18 days after 9/11. But the union was not meant to be, and five years later they called it quits. However, they remain friends and Dr. Kendall once even appeared on her Fox show, The Kelly File. Kelly is now married to novelist Douglas Brunt and has three children with him.
11. A co-worker from Fox News said that she’s terrible to women
In February 2018 Kelly was the subject of an embarrassing story in the New York Post. There, a makeup artist from Fox News alleged that Kelly was extremely rude to her underlings – and particularly to female staffers. The accuser, Iren Halperin, had worked with Kelly in the past and claimed that the TV host had a record for being “extremely mean and rude to women.” Not great press for Kelly’s new image as a trailblazing feminist.
10. The set of her show is apparently super tense
Kelly has insisted that she wants her NBC show to be fun and “uplifting,” but the tone behind the scenes is allegedly anything but soothing. Rumor has it, in fact, that the vibe on set is so tense that staffers are prone to bursting into tears.
9. In her younger years, she ruined her credit
Kelly tried her hand at being a public servant by becoming a lawyer. Alas, her paycheck couldn’t keep up with her lifestyle in her early years, and she actually ruined her credit in her twenties. But considering that she was recently hired by NBC with a salary of some $18 million a year, we can assume that she got the collection agencies off her back many years ago.
8. Kathy Griffin once gave her the finger
Not everyone is buying Kelly’s transformation from Fox News mouthpiece to feminist hero. Indeed, when Kelly was asked to speak at The Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment” breakfast, she seemingly misjudged her audience in a big way. Talking about Trump, Kelly said that there was “much to admire about the man” – a remark that was met with boos and a big ’ol middle finger held aloft by Kathy Griffin.
7. She’s a bit of a diva
While Kelly might be striving to give off a down-to-earth, folksy vibe, whispers behind the scenes imply that she’s anything but. Kelly is reportedly quite the diva on set, in fact – and she gets whatever she wants. Indeed, when NBC sent her on a nationwide tour to visit affiliates in summer 2017, she got a charter jet with a staff of six to attend to her every need.
6. Her new show is filled with cringe-worthy moments
Some viewers of Megyn Kelly Today might want to watch the show through their fingers, such is her propensity for saying the wrong thing. In one astoundingly awkward moment on the show, she actually asked a Will & Grace superfan if he’d “become gay” thanks to Will. Oof.
5. She had an embarrassing spat with Jane Fonda
In one of Kelly’s most embarrassing moments on her show, she got into a truly bizarre feud with Jane Fonda. During an interview, Kelly tried to steer the conversation towards Fonda’s plastic surgery. Fonda was not amused, however, and promptly shut her down. And although the whole episode may have otherwise been forgotten after that, Kelly chose to add more fuel to the fire by later calling Fonda out on air. She even went so far as to dredge up old “Hanoi Jane” imagery, back when Fonda was a fierce protester of the Vietnam war.
4. NBC had to pull out all the stops to try and soften her image
In the lead-up to the launch of Kelly’s new show, NBC apparently went into overdrive to transform her image from having been a face of Fox News to becoming someone more like Oprah. She was on The Today Show, sipping cocktails and gossiping with Hoda Kotb. She went on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and told funny stories about her mom. And she even appeared on Ellen, dancing around in a goofy sumo wrestler suit.
3. Her show is suffering in the ratings
Despite NBC’s efforts at making her America’s newest sweetheart, however, viewers haven’t really seemed to buy Kelly’s transformation. Not only that, but her Today segment can’t quite seem to figure out its footing – and that seems to be reflected in ratings that are less impressive than the network may have hoped. Indeed, it was revealed that the numbers of 25-to-54-year-olds watching the third hour of Today in January 2018 were 30 percent smaller than they had been in January 2017, before Kelly had taken over.
2. Her dancing with Hoda Kotb was widely mocked
When Hoda Kotb randomly paid a visit to Kelly’s show – in what was no doubt an attempt to inject the set with a bit of joie de vivre – the two women broke out into one of the world’s most awkward, impromptu dance parties. And the critics couldn’t get over how cringe-inducing the moment was, with one writer dubbing it “22 nearly unbearable seconds.”
1. She lost an advertiser and an invite because of her Alex Jones interview
Perhaps Kelly’s most controversial moment at NBC was when she interviewed the right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Outside his own audience, Jones is probably best known for his belief that the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were staged and did not really take place. As a result, Kelly’s decision to interview him – and thereby lend him some media credibility – made many furious. Following the controversy, then, she was replaced as the host of an anti-gun violence gala, while J.P. Morgan Chase even went as far as to pull ads from her show.