Former ‘GMA’ Anchor Joan Lunden on Getting Kicked Off the Morning Show and the Realities of Aging

It’s been almost 23 years since journalist Joan Lunden ended her run as co-host of Good Morning America. The California-born anchor greeted viewers weekdays from 1980 to 1997 on the morning show.

Joan Lunden
Joan Lunden | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Lunden has written a new book about something we all have to face: aging.

What Lunden dishes about in her new book

Cheekily titled Why Did I Come Into This Room?, Joan Lunden’s new book released on Mar. 10. It’s very realistic and looks at the topic of aging head-on, from every angle, with a purpose of empowering women to face the coming years with anticipation and excitement, instead of dread.

As Lunden says on the book’s website, “I held nothing back in this book, I share how I have experienced all of these things and how many affected and isolated me . . . Because aging, while it can be stressful, is also beautiful, joyful, liberating, and exciting!”

Lunden gets brutally honest about her forced exit from ‘Good Morning America’

In her new book, the mother of seven confirms what had been whispered about for many years: that she had been forced out of her spot on the morning show, along with her co-host, Charlie Gibson.

“I wanted to be honest about that, which is the first time I’ve really talked about it,” she told AARP this week. “For years men have been working and at some point, they’re made to leave because they’re that age. It’s tough because, what’s your identity then? I certainly had that leaving GMA. My hosting role was so intertwined with who I was — you couldn’t separate them. . .”

Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson on GMA, 1990
Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson on GMA, 1990 | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Brian Stelter in his 2013 book, Top of the Morning, touched on Lunden and Gibson’s abrupt exit. The closest Lunden came to talking about it was when a Parade reader asked her if what Stelter had written was accurate.

She goes into much more detail in her new book, but at the time, she replied, “The executives made a decision that younger was better; they replaced me and Charlie Gibson with 30-something versions of ourselves. I agreed to say I was going on to do other things, and then I did them. I think they lost about 4 million viewers in a week. It was a calculated risk and it didn’t work.”

Lunden talks about surviving aggressive breast cancer

The journalist was diagnosed in 2014 with triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease that called for intensive treatment. Surviving cancer gave her a new perspective on aging. She decided she didn’t want to tell other women how to look younger or act younger. She wants to help them be proud of who they’ve become now and live fully as they are.

Joan Lunden with her new book, ‘Why Did I Come Into This Room?’

“I used to hear from people and they’d say ‘You still look so vibrant. Why don’t you write a book about what keeps you this way?,’” she continued in her conversation with AARP. ” . . . I thought, I want to write how to understand your body. And how to be the best that you can possibly be — mind, body and soul — at whatever age you are.”