When you think of Gayle King, you probably instantly think of her bestie, Oprah Winfrey. They met in Baltimore in 1976, while working together at a television station, and, according to the Chicago Tribune, they pretty much became instant friends. Their life-long bond is one to be admired, and there’s no doubt that they’re #bestiegoals, but King isn’t just Winfrey’s sidekick. King has managed to forge her own career in the television industry, proving that she’s just as talented as her famous BFF. As of this writing, she’s co-anchor of CBS This Morning and editor-at-large at O, The Oprah Magazine. Pretty impressive, no?
King is the kind of person who lives and breathes all things media-related, even if it means she’s living her life sans sleep so she can watch the news at the crack of dawn. That’s just one fun fact, and there’s so much more about this dynamic television personality that many are unaware of.
What if we told you she rarely cooks, she’s a pro at turning a thong into a camisole, and she once unknowingly dated a married man? We’ll go into those stories and more as we explore the untold truth of Gayle King.
Her love of television
From the age of 6 until she turned 11, Gayle King and her family lived in Turkey due to her dad’s career as an « electronics engineer for the federal government. » Her mom, a homemaker, took care of King and her three younger sisters, according to The New York Times. Life in Turkey was definitely an experience. King told BuzzFeed, « My dad said one day I’d appreciate it but then I never thought of it as ‘what a great experience I’m having.' »
One reason she may not have been too keen about the living situation is because she didn’t often have access to a television. That reason alone could explain why she’s now a self-proclaimed media junkie — or, as Oprah Winfrey said to the Times, « She loves television more than anybody I know. »
These days, every room in King’s house has a television, she told Us Weekly — even her bathroom!
She’s runs on three or four hours of sleep
In February 2019, Thrive Global reported that Gayle King doesn’t get home until after midnight most nights. Then, every morning, « she has two alarms — one at 3:22 a.m. and the other at 3:45 a.m. » Why? Because King loves to watch the morning news at the ungodly hour of 3:30 a.m.
If you’ve already done the math, you’ll realize this means King isn’t getting much sleep at all with her nutty schedule. And she even admitted to the publication that she feels « so out of whack » with the limited amount of shut-eye she receives. In the past, there were nights she made it home at a reasonable hour, but King would stay up chatting on the phone with her best friend, Oprah Winfrey. The New York Times reported the besties « used to talk four or five times a day. » However, when King got hired on to co-host CBS News in 2011, she had to put the kibosh on some of their late-night phone sessions after she would fall asleep with Winfrey still on the line.
Everything she wears gets logged
Every time she shows up on our television screens, Gayle King looks absolutely dazzling in her brightly colored frocks and matching jewelry. Come to find out, there’s a lot that goes into getting her camera-ready. In a 2015 interview with The Cut, she revealed, « We have a big notebook where I track what I wear — the colors, the styles, accessories. » But being in front of countless viewers every morning means King doesn’t only go to great lengths to ensure she doesn’t wear the same ensemble twice — she also makes sure everything is… tucked into place. « I wear Spanx every day, » she told The Cut about donning the popular body-shaping undergarment.
She also gets creative with her clothing and creates her own pieces. On her Instagram account, she shared a picture of herself posing with a pair of purple lace underwear. The unmentionables looked oddly familiar to viewers because King had actually worn them as a camisole for a taping of CBS This Morning. « Fashion tip! Thong underwear which I HATE can be used as a Cami-just cut out the crotch! » her Instagram caption read.
TMI, but thanks for the pro tip.
Her outfits are planned weeks in advance
Not only does Gayle King keep track of every single thing she wears while filming the CBS morning show, but most of her outfits are planned three weeks in advance, CBS This Morning’s « wardrobe guru » James Swift told Fashionista.
King is the first to arrive on set — which makes complete sense because she wakes up long before the sun rises every single morning. Being an early riser has its perks, though. She gets dressed by picking out « the color she wants to wear for that day. » And when her co-host Norah O’Donnell arrives, O’Donnell coordinates her outfit with whatever King has chosen for the day. « We don’t want to match too much, but we want to have something that works well with [King’s outfit]. Norah then works off of what Gayle pulls, » Swift explained.
Basically, King sets the fashion tone, and O’Donnell follows her lead.
She’s a ‘legendary friend’
Her long-lasting friendship with Oprah Winfrey is just one of the many relationships Gayle King treasures. What most people don’t know about King is she treats everyone in her inner circle like gold, including fellow television personality Maria Shriver. Shriver explained to The New York Times that, after her father Sargent Shriver’s January 2011 funeral, King took the time to write emails to her and her four brothers, « praising each of them for their remarks at the funeral. » Shriver shared, « She’s a legendary friend, a supporter. »
United States senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Cory Booker also spoke of how outgoing King is, even among strangers. « Gayle has a talk show everywhere she goes, » he said. « In the supermarket. On a movie theater line. At a restaurant. »
King’s ability to chat with anyone is one thing. But once someone is given the honor of being King’s friend, she doesn’t let go of them no matter what.
She won’t make her turn her back on Charlie Rose
In November 2017, The Washington Post published a bombshell report accusing Gayle King’s then-CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose of sexually harassing eight women. Rose was fired after the news broke, and King took it hard. She and Rose had developed a strong friendship over the years. And, perhaps surprisingly, have continued to keep in touch since the scandal.
Despite Rose being booted from the network and his reputation tarnished, King never condemned him. She told The New York Times that « you can hold two ideas in your head at the same time. » It was her way of saying she believes his accusers while also believing Rose, as she explained, « That is, you can believe and empathize with the women, but also think that not all men accused of wrongdoing should be banished for life. » An interesting concept, indeed, but it was even more proof of King’s unwavering support when it comes to her pals. Those who know her best weren’t surprised by her statement at all, including Oprah Winfrey who told the Times, « Her friendships are strong and so, you know, when [the Charlie Rose allegations] happened, [King] said, ‘I feel terrible, but I don’t think you abandon people when they make a mistake.' » Winfrey added, « You certainly don’t abandon them when they’re down and everybody else is turning away from them. »
She has a lot of fears
Gayle King has described herself as a « terrified flyer, » and she told Forbes « turbulence really gets to [her] now. » She added, « I’ve been known to grab a stranger, lay my head in their lap and have them pet me like a puppy. » And she wasn’t lying, either.
In November 2017, King shared a photo on Instagram from one of her many travel excursions, showing herself holding the hand of a kind passenger. « Just had holy ‘s#*t’ moment on VERY BUMPY flight grabbed stranger’s hand, » her caption read. She continued, « Swipe left to meet my new best friend thanx DENNIS ADLER & flight attendant James who smiled the whole time & said not to worry. »
But her fear of flying has an advantage. « It’s amazing to me how quickly you can connect with strangers in times of trouble, » she explained to Forbes.
Oh, and flying the friendly skies isn’t the only thing that ruffles her feathers. She told the publication she’s also terrified of heights, even though she semi-conquered that fear by « climbing over the Sydney Harbour Bridge » while on vacay.
Are men ‘intimidated’ by her?
Gayle King is very open about her private life, and not much is off-limits — not even the story about her ex-husband, William Bumpus, cheating on her. « I’m not a huge fan of the woman I caught naked with my now ex-husband on June 24, 1990, at 9:16 P.M., » she once told Vanity Fair in a Q&A feature. King and Bumpus divorced in 1993, as King shared on her XM Satellite Radio Show (via CBS News). Bumpus later issued a public apology to his now-ex. « I have been haunted with this life altering choice. Though I have dealt with this privately . . . I publicly apologize for the major transgression that dramatically changed all of our lives, » he said in a statement to Page Six.
Ever since her marriage came to a dramatic end, the mother of two hasn’t remarried, though she was linked to United States Senator Cory Booker at one point, as reported by Page Six. So, why no longterm partner? Well, according to the Seattle Times, King implied that she never married again because « men are intimidated by her and her celebrated soul mate » — also known as Oprah Winfrey. Yeah, we can totally see that.
She asks tough questions on dates
Gayle King isn’t afraid to ask tough questions during interviews, which was obvious during her highly publicized March 2019 sit-down with R&B singer R. Kelly. But her penchant for getting serious extends beyond her career. Even in her personal life, she likes to roll up her sleeves and grill her dates on their personal convictions. As she shared during an appearance on the talk show Harry (via Page Six), one of her go-to questions is: « Do you think O.J. Simpson is guilty? » Well, that’s one heck of an icebreaker.
On Harry, King also mentioned it was time she added another question to her list. « It never occurred to me if somebody asked you out and you’ve been on a couple of dates, they are not wearing a wedding ring. It never occurs to me to say, ‘Are you married?’ It really didn’t, » she said.
Sadly, King found this out the hard way when she unknowingly dated a married man. The man allegedly claimed he and his wife were separated but they lived in the same house and had no plans to divorce. « And I was like, ‘Check, please, I know that story,' » King said.
She isn’t much of a cook
Gayle King appeared on The Talk (via Working Mother) and revealed she has never been big on cooking. To prove the kitchen is one area of her home she rarely frequents, she told the show’s hosts that she once moved into an apartment and didn’t realize the stove wasn’t functioning until three months later!
Her lack of time in the kitchen isn’t something she’s necessarily proud of. She expressed some regret for not cooking for her two children, Kirby Bumpus and William Bumpus Jr., as much as she thinks she should have. She told the show, if she could « do it over, » she would « do cooking differently. » She explained that she felt a bit of sadness that her kids would never look back on their childhoods and ask one another, « You remember that dish mom used to make? »
Thankfully, we’re sure her kids have so many other wonderful memories they can hold on to. And besides, King was climbing the ranks as a working mom during their formative years, and take-out food tastes just as good, right?
Surprise! Her birth name isn’t Gayle
When it comes to all of the details surrounding her personal life, Gayle King is an open book… wide open. She has been known to give updates about her weight-loss journey on social media, and she even documents how many pounds she’s lost (and gained) for her oodles of followers on Instagram.
So, what else is there about the CBS This Morning co-anchor that we haven’t already discussed? Well, she let Us Weekly in on a huge secret: Her birth name isn’t Gayle. Yes, you read that right! « I changed my name from Gail to Gayle in seventh grade because I liked to make a loopy y, » she told the publication.
We know, we know. That sounds like the most frivolous reason to ditch the « i. » But she’s been using her revamped name for decades now, and, not only does it fit, but we kind of love it!