The news that Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts is gay (acknowledged via a post on her Facebook page Sunday) may be a surprise to some of the show's viewers, but her relationship with girlfriend Amber Laign has been an open secret inside ABC News for years.
"We love Robin and Amber, who we adore and have all known for a long time," said one executive. "We were touched by her Facebook message today and so thankful for the loving support she has in her life."
When Roberts, 52, returned to GMA in February after her six-month absence to recover from a bone marrow transplant needed to treat a blood disorder, Laign was at the party thrown on the set afterwards. Roberts included a warm remark about her when she thanked the people who supported her through her illness.
Longtime associates of Roberts have said she likely remained private about her sexuality because she comes from a conservative religious family. That may have become less of an issue after the death of her mother in Aug. 2012. As to why Roberts chose to come out now, the ABC News executive said it came after personal reflection on her return to health over the past year.
None of the gay TV news personalities who've come out recent years — a group that includes CNN's Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts and former GMA weather anchor Sam Champion — have faced any discernable backlash from viewers.
Robin Roberts and Laign have been together for 10 years, after being introduced through a mutual friend. Laign is a licensed massage therapist who specializes in treating patients with severe injuries. She is from the San Francisco Bay area.