ann curry is saying her good-byes.
The veteran journalist and morning-show host has confirmed rampant speculation that she'll be stepping down from Today after 15 years, announcing on the show Thursday that her departure is "not easy" but that she is deeply grateful to viewers, whom she described as "the real Today show family."
"This is not easy to say but today is going to be my last morning as a regular cohost of Today," she said on the show, choking back tears.
"I will still be a part of the Today show family but I'm going to have a new title and a new role," she added. "This is not as I expected, to ever leave this couch after 15 years, but I am so grateful, especially to all of you who watch. Because Matt [Lauer] and I and everyone who sits on this couch, we often call ourselves a family, but you are the real Today show family. You are why I have ventured into dangerous places and interviewed dictators and jumped off of planes and off bridges and climbed mountains and convinced the Dalai Lama to come [to] our studio."
Through tears, she apologized for turning into "a sob sister this morning," and intoned to viewers, "I have loved you, and I have wanted to give you the world."
The send-off comes hours after USA Today published a lengthy interview with Curry, in which she admitted that breaking the news to viewers was going to be the most difficult part of her farewell.
"That's what makes me more emotional than anything," she said. "I don't want to leave them. I love them. And I will really miss them."
Particularly painful, she lamented, were early media reports about her departure. "I don't know who has been behind the leaks, but no question they've hurt deeply," she said.
Curry also gave props to cohost Lauer, calling out their "terrific relationship" on a "history-making" show.
"You know, Matt and I have had great on-air chemistry for 14 years, been part of the No. 1 winning team for a history-making number of years," she said. "We've had a terrific relationship for all these years, and he's such a star...He's funny and glib, and he knows how the show works. It's been my honor in this last year to sit next to him."
If there's anyone else who knows a thing or two about sitting next to Lauer, it's Katie Couric, and the former Today show cohost provided words of support for Curry.
"It's a tough time over there for everybody," she told the New York Daily News Wednesday at a media luncheon in Manhattan. "I do think that Ann is a trouper for stepping up and giving it her all every day."
So what lies ahead for the veteran journalist?
Quite a bit. She'll transition into a new role as Today show anchor-at-large and NBC News national/international correspondent, in which she'll lead seven-member team covering global news stories.
Aside from filling in as anchor on NBC Nightly News, she'll also produce stories for Dateline, Rock Center, NBC Nightly News and, of course, Today.
In other words, we'll happily be seeing more of Curry down the line. We wish her all the best!