MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts is going back to Hampton Roads this weekend to be the grand marshal for the LGBT Community’s PrideFest.
Between 1999 and 2001, Roberts was an anchor for NBC affiliate WAVY. Thomas tells the Daily Press, it was there, while working at WAVY, he met his future husband and privately started telling co-workers he was gay.
“I was very close with my colleagues, and I knew about their lives,” he said. “And ultimately I wanted them to know about mine. I didn’t want to hide him from my co-workers, and I didn’t want to hide that part of me.”
He spent three years at WAVY, anchoring afternoon newscasts alongside Don Roberts and also doing some investigative and consumer reporting. He left in December 2001 to take a job at CNN, where he anchored “CNN Headline News” and covered major stories such as the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster and the Iraq war. He moved to MSNBC in 2010. He is also preparing to co-host the Miss USA pageant for the third consecutive year.
It was during his tenure at CNN when he took the big step, coming out in public in 2006. He was the first prominent network news journalist to acknowledge being gay.
“My sexuality had been a burden that I carried alongside my career ambition and my great love for the work I do,” he said. “I was very self-conscious about allowing that side of me to hold me back. There had been closeted news anchors who showed up for work one way and went home another way, but there hadn’t been a trailblazer in the field..
“Finally I decided that the successful part of my career and the successful part of private life weren’t mutually exclusive. I took a great leap of faith in 2006, and now I can tell you that what I used to think of as a burden has now come to be a blessing.”