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Gayle King speaks to Dennis House

Gayle King and Dennis House have been friends for more than 30 years and were co-anchors on WFSB in the 1990s. She refers to House as her “former TV husband” and adoringly calls him “Denzel.”

In this edition of “Conversations with Dennis House,” King talks about her career, their time together, her children, her new role as grandmother and so much more.  And, of course, they talk about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover.


Dennis House: “It’s been so long. You and I were paired together as co-anchors back in 1995, and we remain so until you left in 1999.”

Gayle King: “What did I used to always say? I’d walk in the studio, I’d go, ‘Denzel, you are…’”

House: “‘Swell’…Those were special times. In fact, over my shoulder, Gayle, is the Emmy you and I won for best newscast I think in 1996.”

House: “I think good things are happening [for you] because I’m a big believer in karma; you’ve always treated people super well, Gayle. And you’ve lived a good life. And you’re kind and you’re caring. And so good things are happening.”

House: “I want to talk about the big news of the last week. And that is this magazine that I picked up at Barnes and Noble…I was so excited and so proud.”

King: “I was traveling this weekend, and every newsstand I went in, I was rearranging the covers.”

House: “So, Gayle, I did that too. As you know, there are a few other covers. So when I bought my copies, I moved one of yours to the front so everyone would see it. Why not?”

King: “So I used to do that with Oprah Magazine. I would go and rearrange. When I went to my local CBS, they said, we can tell you were here because of the Oprah Magazine.”

House: “It gets people to buy it. Right? If they see it, they buy it. How did this all come about, the swimsuit edition?

King:  “They reached out to me when they first called me. I thought I was being pumped. The editor in chief of the sports magazine said my name had come up three times in the last week. And so she thought, ‘This must be a sign.’ What am I doing? ‘Well, we’re doing something about legacy. We’re doing something about longevity. We want to talk to women who she said were crushing—her words—at the top of their game, who are smart, who are good at what they do. And then she proceeded to tell me there’s a few things that I had done. And I went, oh yeah, I did do that. Oh yeah, I did do that. I wanted to talk to favorite daughter Kirby, favorite son Will and Oprah. They are my inner circle kitchen cabinet. And they were all really excited. So I said, let’s do it.”

House: “You look absolutely beautiful. What is the message that you want to send to other women through this photo shoot?”

King:  “That there are no limits. Here I am 69 and feeling fine. And I’m on the cover of Sports Illustrated in the Country edition.”

House: “I’m so proud.”

King:  “Even you have to laugh. I mean, there are no limits. Women come in many shapes, sizes, colors, jobs. It speaks to the evolution of Sports Illustrated. When it first started 60 years ago, it was all bada boom. There’s still certainly some of that. But they’ve added other members to the team. And I think it’s great.”

House: (laughing) “Well, so you know how these things work. But you’re going to get some proposals from men across the country. And have you received anything yet?”

King: (laughing) “I said to my sister, could you check my DMs? Is there anything interesting in there? …Oprah said to me, if you don’t get a man after this, forget it. Just pack up and go home.”

King:  “Something happened at 50; I knew I probably wasn’t going to live another 50 years. You could live to 80. But at 50, it hit me that I probably won’t live to be a hundred. But the day after I turned 50, I got a subscription from AARP… I called them up and said please take me off your mailing list. I didn’t want to get early bird specials and coupons to go to movies. Now I look at it as we should celebrate that. We should say it: it’s a different day. Turning 50 means something different. It doesn’t mean that your best days are behind you. I don’t feel that at all. I ended up doing CBS Mornings when I turned 50 something. So it doesn’t mean that life is over. So, I feel that I should have embraced AARP better than when I did back then. I was with John Batiste over the weekend. He was telling me he is going to be performing with the Rolling Stones. And that tour is sponsored by AARP, which I think is kind of funny.”

House: “That is funny. Well, people are working longer and longer. Do you see yourself working for many more years? Barbara Walters worked for many years. Leslie Stahl is, I just saw, in Israel recently at the age of 83. So, people are out there working really hard at older ages.”

King:  “You know, I don’t have an age cutoff. I mean, I don’t see myself doing this at 80, but never say never…But I’m not sitting here thinking I’m going to retire in two years. I still really, truly love what I do.”

House: “When did you know you wanted to interview people for a living?”

King:  “I didn’t have the ‘bug.’ I remember going to University of Maryland thinking what am I going to major in. I majored in psychology because I thought I’d be a good child psychiatrist, child psychologist…I thought I’d be good as a lawyer…But I got a job at a TV station when I was in college. And I just got hooked. I got hooked on this business.”

House: “I know you’ve interviewed lots of famous people over the years. Is there a person out there you would love to interview but has said no?

King:  “I want Beyonce and Jay-Z together… they have both said no.”

House: “Well, now that you’re on the cover of a magazine, that could change, right?”

King:  “Maybe I need to send them this and say, ‘Hey, I’ll sign it for you, Mr. and Mrs. Carter.’”

House: “You’ve often referred to as Connecticut as your real home because you were there for so long and you still love this state. What’s your favorite memory?”

King:  “1981 to 1999 I was there…I lived in Newington, Meriden, Glastonbury, Greenwich. I feel I know the state very well. I have a 203 number. I feel I became a woman there. I got married there. I had my children there. I got divorced there. I had a lot of career successes there. It just holds a very special place in my heart when people tell me, ‘Oh, I’m from Hartford.’ And I said, ‘Where in Hartford?’ And then they say Farmington or Avon. And I go, ‘That’s not Hartford.’ And so they’re surprised that I know this…I just know so much about that state. So it will always hold a special place to me. Always.”

House: “I remember you gave me a piece of advice that I imparted upon the next generation at my workplace the other day. And that was when you speak in public, it’s someone’s event. You once told me this. You said it’s probably the biggest night for some person here, so make sure that you really make it a big deal. And so I did. And so I always remembered you said that because you’re right. It may seem routine, but it’s a really huge deal for this organization to this person.”

King:  I always stop at Louis’ Lunch all the time. Jeff in there. I love that place.

House: Well I love that you’re loyal. That’s great. That, yeah, that’s what makes you Gayle King and you know, that’s what makes you so successful and so lovable. So Gayle, best of luck with everything and awesome to talk with you.