Katy Tur shares her reaction to her father coming out as transgender

·3 min read

Katy Tur is opening up about her tumultuous childhood, and her reaction to her father coming out as transgender.

The NBC News correspondent, who is the daughter of legendary Los Angeles broadcasters Zoey (formerly Bob) Tur and Marika Gerrard, sat down with CBS Sunday Morning to share her experience.

Growing up, the broadcaster believed her parents, who were known for reporting the news from their helicopter, were "the coolest people in the world." Tur shared that she even "knew how to fly a helicopter" as a kid.

"It was a really unique and interesting childhood that nobody else had," said Tur, 38, who chronicles her experience in her new memoir, Rough Draft.

However, she also witnessed her parents' struggles up close. In 2013, Tur received a phone call from her father during which he told her that he was transgender.

"My dad said, 'I am a woman.' And I said, 'what?' And my dad said, 'I am a woman. I am transitioning,'" Tur recalled. "I'm going to become a woman."

Tur said she was at first "puzzled" by the announcement, replying, "You've got to be joking. Are you kidding? What are you talking about?"

"My dad was adamant," she continued. "'I'm the wrong person. I'm going to become the right person. Don't you see this is why I've been so angry?' ... It was a lot."

Tur, who is married to CBS Mornings anchor Tony Dokoupil, said her father would experience "fits of anger" when she was younger, and would become "abusive." She added that they did not get the police involved because to do so would hurt her father's career and ability to provide for the family.

"Something would set him off, and he would get so, so out of control that he would throw his fist through a wall," recalled Tur, who sat with her mother during the interview. "And it happened often. I mean, we would go to the store, buy plaster, plaster [the walls] up. The violence was always there. It felt like it was normal, like that was just how a relationship worked. It got angry, it got violent. You yelled and you screamed, and then everything was fine."

In response to Katy's claims, Zoey Tur acknowledged the outbursts in a separate interview with CBS Sunday Morning's Tracy Smith, during which she said she "failed" her daughter.

"Throwing batteries? Probably, yeah. Punching walls? There were a couple. I was in the news business and I — we — were under … extraordinary pressure," Zoey said. "I could be very intimidating, for sure. And, you know, and if the kids felt I was intimidating, I apologize. I did the best I could."

Author and NBC News correspondent Katy Tur. (Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune)
Author and NBC News correspondent Katy Tur. (Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune)

Katy and Zoey are estranged, and have not seen each other in 10 years. However, Zoey told Smith that she is comfortable with Katy sharing these stories.

"If it takes an act of public humiliation, in front of a camera, to make Katy feel better, and feel vindicated, so be it," Zoey shared. "I'm happy to do that. I love her that much."

Tur's memoir doesn't only address with her family situation, however. She repeatedly went toe to toe with Donald Trump during the former president's 2016 campaign, and was subsequently targeted by the then-presidential hopeful.

The journalist also encountered rampant sexism early on in her career. An excerpt published by Vanity Fair chronicled how at one of her first jobs she was told that her “boobs looked too big” for TV, and that she needed to adjust her style, as Yahoo Life previously reported.

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