(WJLA) - In her final days on the air, Barbara Walters was still landing some of the biggest TV exclusives – but says now it’s time to step down from the daily rigors of being a news icon:
"I don't know how I'm going to feel the next day..but now I just think it's time. I don't know what one more year would give me...an interview with the Pope?"
After five decades of historic entertaining and memorable one-on-ones, Walters admits that she will miss making news:
"That's the fun of this business -- when you are able to get an interview that's exclusive and different...that's what we all strive for. But I don't feel that I want to do another one and another one and another one. I feel content."
Beyond breaking down barriers and making headlines, Walters says it’s the people she’ll miss the most – many who make up “Team Barbara” and have been with her for decades, a rarity in the quickly-moving news business:
"I feel very close to them, we've been together for years. We walk to work together through Central Park...They will go one without me, because they are very talented, but I will miss them. These are the relationships that I will really miss."
In 1968, Barbara and then-husband Lee Guber adopted daughter Jackie. After four marriages, Walters candidly confesses that marriage wasn’t her strength, but beyond her groundbreaking work, admits that motherhood has been her biggest blessing.
“I wasn't very good at marriage, but the fact that I have Jackie is just wonderful -- it gives me pleasure every day.”
Barbara tells us that interviewing Washington’s most powerful people is one part of her history-making career she will also miss very much.
"It's always a privilege to interview a president, and to interview every one of them, I couldn't be more grateful."
In her revealing memoir, “Audition,” Walters shares numerous nuggets about both her romantic and reporting life in Washington.
Now, we want to know as she retires, which politician did she find the most fascinating riddle to try and unravel?
“Oh my goodness -- probably the most complicated was Richard Nixon, who wanted so much to be liked. Before you sat down for an interview, he would tell jokes to the cameraman, trying to warm everybody up, because he himself could not do it...The complication was what was so interesting about him."
And while she says she enjoyed every presidential interview and trying to reveal their real personalities, she also gave us insight to world leaders and their first ladies.
“I've interviewed Barack Obama five times. He's a pleasure to interview because when you get away from the political interviews, he's quite funny. Although Michelle says she's funnier."
It took nonstop hard work, passion, and daily drive to be Barbara Walters. Plus, a sense of humor. And as she steps down, this is the wisdom she imparts to anyone hoping to get ahead:
“Get your foot in the door. If it's something that you love to do, do it no matter what the salary and the beginning position is -- because that's where you will succeed. And number three: do your homework."