NBC Weatherman Al Roker revealed that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer on the Today Show on November 6, 2020, according to USA Today.
The 66-year-old anchor talked about his decision to publicly announce his diagnosis, explaining, “I don’t want people thinking, ‘Oh, poor Al,’ you know, because I’m gonna be OK.” Within the week, Roker will be undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Roker has been married to his wife Deborah Roberts for over 25 years. During his diagnosis announcement he said, “You hear the word ‘cancer’ and your mind goes, it’s the next level, you know? … I feel badly, because I didn’t tell (my wife) Deborah (Roberts) to come with me.” Roker continued, “In hindsight, boy I wish I’d told her to come. She was upset. And once she got past that, the reporter in her kinda took over. And then she’s been at everything ever since!” Here’s what you need to know about Deborah Roberts and her marriage to Al Roker.
1. Deborah Roberts & Al Roker Are Both Accomplished Journalists
Things may get a bit intense at the Roker household from time to time, as both Roberts and Roker have had a career in journalism for decades. The two even work for rival networks – with Roker at NBC and Roberts at ABC. While they may have a little competition between them, their careers helped them meet.
Roker and Roberts met in 1990 when Roberts joined NBC as a general-assignment reporter, according to People. At the time, Roker was still married to his first wife, WNBC producer Alice Bell. Roker and Bell were married for 10 years and had one daughter Courtney together before divorcing in 1994.
“Al was so sweet,” the 60-year-old reporter told People. “He showed me pictures of his daughter and talked about his family.” But, she adds, “I just thought he was a nice guy, and that was that.” Since meeting, the two kept in touch for a few years while Roberts moved to Miami and Atlanta for work. Two years later in 1992, Roker and his wife had separated, and Roberts moved back to New York to work for Dateline NBC.
Roker and Roberts’ relationship evolved from friendship to romance throughout the years. Roker wooed her by surprising her with flowers and food after she came home from reporting at the Olympics in Barcelona, according to People. Roker proposed to Roberts on New Year’s Day in 1994 in the Grand Canyon and the two married September 16, 1995 in New York City.
2. The Couple Has Raised Three Kids Together
Roker and Roberts have worked to parent three kids together. Roker has one daughter whom he adopted from his previous marriage with Alice Bell. The two welcomed daughter Courtney in 1987. Roberts became a stepmom to Courtney, and she has admitted it wasn’t always easy.
“There were times when we were the dueling girls,” Roberts told People in 1999. “Sometimes I was feeling, ‘Why is Courtney getting her way? I want my way.’ And Courtney was doing the same thing. It’s not a piece of cake, but it’s a lot better than it was. Courtney and I have both matured.”
Roker and Roberts welcomed two kids of their own: Leila (born in 1998) and Nicholas Albert (born in 2002). “A nurse held her up for Deborah to see,” Roker wrote in Guideposts magazine in 2003. “My wife started to cry and so did I. I held my new daughter and looked into her eyes. Is this how Mom and Dad felt when they held me? I wondered.”
Roker and Roberts also have one son Nick, who is “somewhere on the (autism) spectrum and maybe obsessive-compulsive,” Roker wrote in an essay for Guideposts magazine in 2019. Nick has grown up with developmental delays. “Do I get frustrated with my son sometimes? You bet,” Al wrote his essay. “But then I remember my dad, how understanding he was. And Deborah reminds me that I have to show my son not only that I love him but that I like him as well. More than that, I admire him.”
3. Roker & Roberts Wrote a Book Together
Al Roker and Deborah Roberts decided to write a book together about their lives, family, and marriage in 2016. In their book, titled Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times, the two share stories about their childhoods, marriage and children.
“While I have written about my personal struggle with weight and fatherhood, this was something that I was not used to,” Roker told People in 2016. “Writing about my marriage was something that I really wasn’t anxious to share.”
Roberts added that it was also difficult for her to open up about the deaths of both her childhood best friend and her father. “I hesitated to reveal such intimate times, but ultimately decided I wanted to be true and honest,” she told People.
4. Health Has Been an Important Factor in Their Marriage
Prior to writing his book with Roberts, Roker wrote his own memoir in 2013 titled Never Goin’ Back: Winning The Weight Loss Battle for Good. In the memoir, Roker opens up about how he grew up on an unhealthy diet and how he struggled with his weight behind the scenes. In 2002, Roker lost 160 pounds after he had gastric bypass surgery.
Roker has admitted that his weight has played a factor in his marriage with Roberts, who is an athletic person. “She was upset about it, she was frustrated, she was angry,” Roker wrote for Today.com in 2013, noting they had a “mixed-weight marriage.” He added, “She thought, ‘Why don’t you care enough about yourself and why don’t you care about me and our relationship enough to change?’ And I said, ‘Look, it’s not about you. It’s about me.'”
Roker has worked to continue living a healthy lifestyle for himself and his family. “Once it clicked for me, my wife and I were able to run together, do activities together,” Roker wrote in the same Today.com essay. “In fact, it did cause one problem. My wife’s been a runner for 30 years, and I started running two years ago, and within a year I ran the New York City Marathon. It kind of ticked her off a little bit; she said, ‘Wait a minute, I’m the runner in the family!’ But that’s a good problem to have.”
5. The Couple Values Their Free Time Together
With three kids and two significant careers, Roker and Roberts appreciate family and couple time. The two especially love spending their weekends together.
Roberts and Roker welcomed the New York Times into their home to show a typical Sunday in 2016. They shared how a relaxing day goes, which begins with coffee and a healthy breakfast. The two then attend a “church express” service at St. James’ Episcopal Church, which they’ve been attending for 15 years.
The couple enjoys a typical relaxing Sunday, including a significant dinner. “Sunday dinner is a big deal in our house, too,” Roberts told the New York Times. After dinner, the family winds down, but not with television, as they don’t have televisions in the bedrooms. “It’s almost like there’s too much TV,” Roker joked.