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By PEOPLE.COM/Kate Coyne
Updated Jan 16, 2018 @ 2:30 pm

Five years after leaving the Today show, Ann Curry is revealing how she made it through dark times—and her life away from the morning grind.

Sitting down exclusively with People for this week’s issue (on stands Friday), the anchor opens up for the first time about her exit from the NBC morning show in 2012, an ordeal that came complete with gossip-column speculation that her firing had been due in part to a lack of “chemistry” with her co-anchor Matt Lauer. (Lauer, 60, was fired in November for alleged sexual misconduct.)

Credit: Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Curry, 61, also discusses her reactions to the Lauer scandal, as well as her thoughts on her own experiences with sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

VIDEO: Ann Curry Breaks Her Silence Since Leaving 'Today': "It Hurt Like Hell."

“Most of the men I’ve worked with have been exemplary,” she says, but adds that she hopes sweeping change will soon help those who have endured harassment and abuse for too long. “I feel real hope that change is coming. That our daughters are not going to have to face what the majority of women in this country who’ve entered the workplace have had to face.”

And the mother of two, who returns to TV on Jan. 23 with the new six-part PBS docuseries We’ll Meet Again, isn’t fueled by bitterness toward her former bosses.

“I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard,” she says of her darkest days. “But I had to let go. And I learned that when you not only let go but open your arms wide and learn the lessons that an experience—no matter how bad—can teach you, that’s when you rise.”

This Story Originally Appeared On People