Gretchen Carlson is a proud mother of two children. But she admits that not every aspect of parenting is easy. And now, the star has revealed her biggest fear about the modern world – and the potential damage it’s doing to her kids.
Carlson was born in Anoka, Minnesota, on June 21, 1966. She was the class valedictorian in 1984 at Anoka High School. The now 52-year-old developed an interest in music at a young age after taking up the violin.
As a child, she took part in and won several competitions in the instrument both locally and nationally. When she was in the eighth grade, Carlson performed a solo with the Minnesota Orchestra. She also studied at the esteemed Aspen Music Festival and School for five summers.
Carlson began participating in beauty pageants as a young woman. She was named Miss Minnesota in 1988 and went on to compete in the Miss America pageant the next year. For her talent, she played the violin.
The star was crowned Miss America in 1989, becoming the third person from her state to win the title. Subsequently, Carlson went to Stanford University to take a degree in organizational behavior. And after graduating, she began a career in television.
Carlson started out as a political reporter for a local station in Richmond, Virginia, before serving as a reporter and weekend anchor in Texas and Ohio. She then got a job as a CBS News correspondent in 2000. Two years later, she started working for The Early Show.
After a few years at CBS, Carlson shifted to Fox & Friends, where she worked for several years. Then in 2013 she got her own series, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson. But the current affairs show was canceled in 2016 amid a scandal.
Carlson was fired from her position and promptly filed a lawsuit against Roger Ailes, a Fox News chairman. She claimed that she was sexually harassed by him and dismissed for rebuffing his advances towards her. After Carlson went public with the allegations, six other women also accused Ailes of sexual harassment.
Ailes resigned in July 2016 after a public outrage. Two months later, 21st Century Fox Corporation made an apology to Carlson and confirmed that it had agreed a settlement with her. It has been reported that she had been awarded $20 million. Ailes died in 2017 at the age of 77.
Carlson was made chair of the Miss America organization’s board of directors in January 2018. A few months later, several former winners of the pageant called for her resignation, claiming that she was unfit for the role. However, she is still serving as chair. In 2017 she released the book Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back and she is currently working on a series of documentaries as a staunch advocate for the #MeToo movement.
The star is married to Casey Close, a former professional baseball player and sports agent. The couple tied the knot on October 4, 1997, and live in Greenwich, Connecticut, with their two children. Carlson has been candid with her kids about the harassment scandal that she was involved in, in the hope that it will “empower” her daughter.
Carlson also said during a 2017 Q&A session that she had learned how to juggle life as a working mother. “I have always said that I’m a better mom because I’m a working mom. I feel more fulfilled in my life,” she explained.
The mother-of-two added, “I always say that when I’m at home, I’m giving 100 percent to my kids. When I’m at work, I’m giving 100 percent to work – but you can’t do both of those things at the same time.” But Carlson admits that parenting has its difficulties, and in September 2018 she revealed her greatest fear as a mom.
“I’m really lucky to have two teenage kids: Kaia, who’s 15, and Christian, who’s 13,” Carlson said during an interview with People. However, she admitted that she was still learning when it came to motherhood. “I think sometimes your kids say things to you to get a reaction, and I need to have a better poker face with all that,” she explained.
Carlson also admitted that she wanted to be better at controlling her temper. “I wish I didn’t yell,” she confessed after she was asked if there was one parenting moment she would have liked to change. “My husband’s really good at this. He can control his emotions a lot more, so I need to do better at just sort of taking it in.”
Then Carlson was asked about her biggest worry as a parent. And she didn’t hesitate before revealing what it was about kids in the modern age that frightened her the most. “Social media,” she said quickly.
Carlson revealed that things were extremely different to how they had been when she had been a teenager – because children today were a lot more exposed. “When I was growing up, we did crazy things, and we took crazy pictures, and we put them in a shoebox and put them up in a closet,” she explained. “Nobody ever saw them again.”
Carlson continued, “Now, all that’s living out in full realm for everyone to see.” Carlson added that she was particularly concerned about what kind of impact social media was having on her children’s image of themselves. The television star argues that young people can become too wrapped up in looking for validation online.
“I especially just worry about self-esteem for my children,” Carlson shared. “Everything’s a like or a dislike, or who’s Snapchatting you or who’s on your Instagram.” And she described the consequences of that, saying, “That’s really tough for parents.”
Carlson declared that she believed social media is a major problem today and worried that it could change her children and how they behaved. “I think it’s actually a huge crisis for parents and kids right now,” she said. “And so I think that that’s like my greatest fear, is that they’re going to think that that is telling them who they should be, as opposed to who they really are on the inside.”