The Heartbreaking Reason Barbara Walters Chose to Have Both Ovaries Removed

Barbara Walters is one of the world’s most respected journalists, a woman who broke barriers for her gender and gave viewers some of the hottest interviews of the twentieth century. Walters is enjoying a well-deserved retirement these days, but even though she is no longer active in the entertainment industry, people are still fascinated by her story.

Walters worked her way up the corporate ladder, spending time at several networks until eventually establishing the renowned talk show The View. Through it all, Walters dealt with some pretty serious health issues behind the scenes.

Barbara Walters’ early life

Walters was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1929. Walters’ father worked as a nightclub owner and entertainment industry executive when she was very young, and although his own career had mixed success, she learned a great deal from him about the tangled world of celebrity culture. Due to this, Walters developed a “no-fear” attitude when it came to celebrities, which contributed to her great success as an interviewer and reporter.

In the early ’50s, Walters began working in journalism, including becoming a writer for The Morning Show in 1955. Eventually, she joined the cast of NBC’s The Today Show, moving on from light assignments and weather reports to more serious stories and hard-hitting news.

By the ’60s, Walters had made a name for herself as a journalist who took no-nonsense and prioritized the story above all. 

What is Barbara Walters best known for?

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In 1976, Walters joined the ABC network in a widely publicized move that brought her a great deal of press. That same year, she moderated a presidential debate and landed several major interviews that only served to further her fame.

Walters became a pop culture personality, almost as much as the celebrities and power players that she interviewed. A few of her biggest interviews include chats with Michael Jackson, Monica Lewinsky, Anna Wintour, and Sir Laurence Olivier.

Barbara Walters arrives at the New Amsterdam theater for the Dana Reeve Memorial Service April 10, 2006 in New York City.
Barbara Walters | Clarence Elie-Rivera/Getty Images

However, it is possible that Walters’ biggest contribution to pop culture is the TV show The View, which Walters co-created in 1997. The show, which is still going strong to this day, features a roster of powerful women with insights into politics and pop culture, sitting around the table to debate current issues of the day.

For years, from 1997 until 2014, Walters was one of the co-hosts on the show, helping to moderate the discussion and at times, keep tensions between the other hosts at bay. 

Barbara Walters has had some health issues

Walters formally announced her retirement in 2015 and has been enjoying a quiet retirement ever since. While the legacy that she has created is one of power and purpose, Walters has had to overcome a lot of adversity in her life, including some serious health issues.

In 2010, Waters underwent major open-heart surgery in order to replace an aortic valve. The surgery was successful, but unbeknownst to many of Walters’ fans, she actually had another health issue around that same time.

In 2014, Walters revealed that more than five years prior, she had gone through a lumpectomy after discovering a lump in her breast. “There were other choices possible, this was mine,” Walters stated. “I told a few people and I am fine. I’ve had no recurrence.”

The legendary host also admitted that after her sister went through a serious bout of ovarian cancer, she decided to have both of her own ovaries removed as a precautionary measure. These days, as far as everyone knows, Walters is in good health and is enjoying her time away from the spotlight.