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Meredith Vieira opens up about past abusive relationship

Host/Executive producer Meredith Vieira speaks onstage at the

Host/Executive producer Meredith Vieira speaks onstage at the 'The Meredith Vieira Show' panel during the NBCUniversal portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 14, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: GETTY IMAGES / Frederick M. Brown

In the wake of high-profile domestic-abuse issues in the NFL, newswoman Meredith Vieira spoke Wednesday about abuse she herself had suffered.

"I was in an abusive relationship many, many years ago as a young woman," Vieira, 60, said on her syndicated talk show. "We would have a fight and he'd just sort of grab my arm. And I, you know, I didn't think a lot about it, and then it turned into [him] pushing me against the wall, and then it went beyond that to [him] actually taking his hand and grabbing my face and saying, 'I could ruin your career if I wanted to and no one would want you.' "

She recalled being thrown into a shower, "naked in scalding water, and then he threw me outside into the hallway. . . . I hid in a stairwell for two hours."

Vieira conceded that, "A lot of people say, 'Well, who would stay in that situation?' Somebody maybe who doesn't have the wherewithal to get out, the means to get out."

Though Vieira had the economic means she says, "I kept in this relationship and . . . I think part of it was fear. I was scared of him and scared if I tried to leave something worse could happen to me. Part of it was guilt, because every time we'd have a fight he would then start crying and say, 'I promise I won't do it again' and I would feel like maybe I contributed somehow to this."

She says she only escaped after "I was offered a job in another state."

Vieira married CBS News journalist Richard Cohen in 1986. The couple have three children.

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