She is known throughout America, but Lara Spencer was not always a high-flying TV presenter. The co-host of Good Morning America worked its way up, starting with important journalism in Penn State. “My first taste of the company was the glamorous work of pulling camera cables so that they wouldn’t get confused while the football matches were being filmed,” Spencer told Marie Claire. She started working as a reporter for the WDEF-TV of Tennessee, Long Island’s News 12 and WABC-TV Eyewitness News in New York City, where she got her debut as an anchor.
“Going from reporter to anchor is like going from broad receiver to quarterback,” she said. “As an anchor, you play the plays and you have the feeling of the show – and you know when you need to be happier or slower.” Within four years, ABC came to call via Diane Sawyer. Spencer became a national correspondent for Good Morning America, before finally graduating as a co-host. It was a long way for Spencer, but she made it. However, that does not mean that life at the start of the morning show has been a breeze.
From the fierce debate after some comment she made about a certain famous child at GMA, to her drama behind the scenes in the morning, this is the unprecedented truth of Lara Spencer.
Success has been a habit for Lara Spencer
The bikini body from Spencer made a big dive in 2017. Per People, the 48-year-old GMA host, was on vacation in Nantucket with family when she shared a picture of herself in a swimsuit on her Instagram. The answer to her washboard abs was a mixture of surprise and confusion – where did that fantastic body come from? It appears that Spencer has been in good shape for most of her adult life after diving while she was a student at the High City Garden City on Long Island.
“Looking back, I realize that literally putting yourself on the edge of the platform is very much like doing live TV,” Spencer told Marie Claire. “It takes the leap in science and with a lot of practice it will be fine.” She went to Penn State for an athletic scholarship and was able to continue her diving. Spencer also excelled in swimming and was called an All-American Athlete, who graduated with the 1991 class. She returned to the university in 2014 as acting marshal before returning home that year.
“We wanted someone who represents hard work, intellect, and charisma, and Lara is all that and more,” the director of the Homecoming Executive Committee of Penn State said in a statement. Spencer was chosen for “her passion for Penn State, her continuing interest in university activities, as well as her dedication to service.”
Lara Spencer denies sitting in Donald Trump’s lap
When Donald Trump was still a presidential candidate in 2015, Lara Spencer sparked controversy when she seemed to be sitting on his lap for a photo. Trump was at ABC to be interviewed by GMA co-host and ABC news presenter George Stephanopoulos. Spencer had just worn a Donald Trump costume for GMA’s Halloween show a few days earlier, which, according to The Daily Beast, became a topic of conversation between her and the former apprentice. When a GMA photographer spotted them chatting, they took pictures that would be very controversial – but Spencer said it did not look the way it looked.
The photo seems to show the presenter who was sitting on Trump’s lap with her arm around him and vice versa, but neither leg is visible in the shot. According to Spencer, it is an optical illusion. She insisted that the Republican candidate was sitting on a stool at the time – and she did not fully share that with him. “Let’s clarify this – I’m standing next to Donald Trump,” she posted on Instagram in response to the backlash. “Said goodbye quickly and welcomed him to the GMA studio for the first time since he announced his candidacy.”
Network resources supported her account, but many of Spencer’s Instagram followers were still unimpressed. “This man who does not respect women does not apologize and you welcome him with open arms,” said an angry user (via the Daily Beast), adding: “That’s wrong with America.”
Lara Spencer came for the future king.
The Trump controversy was a big thing in America, but Lara Spencer caused global controversy in 2019 when she apparently mocked Prince George on an episode of Good Morning America. She and her co-hosts talked about the curriculum followed by the son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Spencer seemed to find the fact that George was studying ballet very funny. “In addition to the usual first or second class things, such as math, science and history, the future king of England will set up the Play-Doh to engage in religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things,” Spencer said, as if she wanted to make her colleagues and the studio audience laugh.
“Prince William says,” George absolutely loves ballet, “Spencer continued. “We will see how long that takes. […] Between religious studies and computer programming, I just want to go back to the Play-Doh!” It was not surprising that the response to her comments was quick. The hashtag #BoysDanceToo exploded on social media (via Town & Country), with countless male dancers speaking on behalf of the prince and criticizing Spencer. “I found these comments very disturbing,” said the famous choreographer Travis Wall, best known for So You Think You Can Dance, in a video response on Instagram. “You have now added fuel to the fire to a huge problem in this country that is bullying.”
… and quickly admitted that she missed
The day after she made her ill-advised comments about the future King of England, Lara Spencer apologized on Instagram. She called her comments “insensitive,” and urged her followers to pursue their dreams, no matter what. “From ballet to everything that people want to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT,” she wrote in the post. “I am fully convinced that we must all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain and enjoy every minute of it.” The mail received thousands of likes, but for many it wasn’t good enough.
“I find Lara Spencer’s answer insensitive and her apology is a cop”, tweet recording artist and theater actor Shoshana Bean. “Not good enough for me. … This statement must be made in the air on the same forum that it has so freely assessed and criticized.” Bean tagged GMA in the tweet, and the producers apparently agreed with her, because Spencer offered more apologies a few days later. “I ruined it,” she said. “The comment I made about dance was insensitive, it was stupid and I am very sorry. I learned about the courage a young boy needs to pursue a career in dance.”
Shoshana Bean was not the only celeb to condemn Spencer for her remarks about boys in ballet. According to People, Rosie O’Donnell, George Takei, Derek Hough and Debbie Allen have all spoken out against her.
Is Lara Spencer’s GMA career on thin ice?
Was Lara Spencer already walking on thin ice on ABC when she made those appalling remarks about Prince George? In 2018, with the fight between Good Morning America and its fierce rival (NBC’s Today) warming up, GMA made some changes, reducing Spencer’s hours from five days a week to just three. Producers wanted more focus on the favorite trio of Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Michael Strahan, according to PageSix. Sources claim that “the Spencer team was leaking a story to people” making it seem like it had been her decision (she wanted more time to “build on her lifestyle brand,” the statement claimed) while reportedly not true used to be. “Lara is good at her job, but it’s not like the [ratings] are affected when she’s not in [the show],” the insider said.
The higher ups did not waste time updating the promotional material. According to Fox News, new publicity shots for ABC’s flagship morning show with only Roberts, Stephanopoulos and Strahan were rushed out. In what another insider described as a “heartless” movement through the network, one of these new posters was placed at a bus stop right outside the ABC News offices on the Upper West Side, where Spencer would undoubtedly see it. “They posted it there so it would be in her face every day when she comes to work,” the source said.
GMA staffers were reportedly ‘thrilled’ about Lara Spencer’s reduced role
At least one insider felt that GMA producers had been “heartless” in the way they dealt with Lara Spencer, but according to page six, most GMA staff members were “excited” when they heard that her hours had passed. “She treats staff badly, she yells at people and she makes a lot of extra work for people,” an insider revealed. This was confirmed by an ABC source who spoke to Fox News about the backstage response to the new workload of Spencer. “The GMA people are happy to be pushed out,” they claimed. “She’s a bully and a blazer.”
Fox News also claimed that Spencer is a difficult person to work with. Allegedly she “shouts at her producers every day” and does not always face her co-hosts. Spencer was apparently also unhappy when Michael Strahan got a full-time appearance at GMA because she wanted the leading position at the anchor office. An internal source, however, invalidated the notion that there was a gap between Spencer and Strahan (“Lara and Michael are very close friends,” the source told E! News), but this was not the first time a rumor about a feud had surfaced.
Is there a secret feud between Lara Spencer and Amy Robach?
Another Good Morning America colleague that Lara Spencer is reportedly not working with is Amy Robach. According to reports, Spencer was not at all satisfied when Robach took over the news from departing Josh Elliott. Spencer only co-hosted a few weeks later, while rumors about a gap between her and Robach were blazing in the press. “When Amy was promoted to news anchor, GMA apparently felt it was necessary to increase Lara’s title to keep her happy,” TMZ claimed.
Speaking to RadarOnline, an insider from GMA said, “One of the grievances Amy has with Lara is that she is shamelessly flirting with the male staff and guests. Amy says it has been fooled and she hates seeing it.” Michael Strahan was about to join the team and Robach was apparently worried that the “ick factor” would not be in the charts. “Lara is a married woman, and it’s just unprofessional in Amy’s opinion,” the insider added.
However, the alleged beef between Spencer and Robach would be more than just flirting. Robach had to undergo a double breast amputation after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is said that Spencer rejected her during her treatment. “Lara never went to Amy in the hospital or even called her to see how she was doing,” claimed RadarOnline.
Lara Spencer is a New York Times bestseller
Lara Spencer is not just a published author, she has done something that every writer dreams of – and she has done it twice. The co-host of GMA released her second book, Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures, with rave reviews in 2014. “The new book made it to the New York Times bestseller list, just like my first, I Brake for Yard Sale, in 2012,” Spencer told Marie Claire. “I am happy because now I know that I am not as fond of vintage furniture. Others are as addicted as I am.”
Spencer has blood in her blood. According to HGTV, she spent a large part of her childhood frequently with second-hand stores, garden sales and auctions with her family. Over the years, she has become a bargain professional, although she insists that her ability to find much is not the reason why she loves flea markets so much. “It’s not about the money,” Spencer told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s about creating really nice, personal rooms that have a lot of character and make you smile.”
You can find Lara Spencer on HGTV, too
If she doesn’t co-host Good Morning America, Lara Spencer still spends time in front of the camera for her HGTV show, Flea Market Flip. Each episode follows two teams as they shop for second-hand bargains, which they then try to set up and sell at a profit. Spencer called the show her “passion project” during an interview with Daily News from New York. “I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember,” she said about her love for redecorating. “So it was a natural jump [to do a show] in which you go to a flea market, find pieces with great potential and redecorate them.” However, it appears that this process is not nearly as simple as that.
A number of participants from the past have spilled on how Flea Market Flip really works, and it is apparently not how it appears on the screen. Each team gets “helpers” to bring their build to life, and sometimes it is these talented people who do most of the work, according to former participant Charlotte Smith. The negotiations between the teams and the sellers are also not as they seem. “They must stop to show the people who sell at the flea board that they would be on TV,” another former participant, Sarah Trop, revealed in her blog. “[They] stop filming from different angles and let us explain why we bought what we did.”
Lara Spencer was the victim of a makeup scam
Lara Spencer may seem a little blunt with some of her opinions, but she’s far from being harsh when it comes to her makeup. According to Good Housekeeping, the GMA co-host “almost always has perfect makeup every time she stands in front of the cameras.” This fact did not go unnoticed by a smart online scammer, who decided to use the name and image of Spencer to promote a fake skincare brad. When the TV presenter heard about this, she went to Instagram to warn her fans about the advertisements and the fake products they were working on.
“I write because fake stories and ‘advertisements’ are floating on the internet that I started a ‘skincare/beauty brand’,” Spencer wrote. “I have not given permission to use my name or likeness in any way and I have no links with these products. We will work with the authorities to identify the operators of these online fraud sites, but I would like to help everyone spread the word ! ” For many, the warning came too late. “I wish I had seen this before being scammed,” complained one of the followers of Spencer.
Spencer is not the only HGTV star that happened to this – Fixer Upper’s Joanna Gaines was also exploited by scammers, spreading false information about the designer who stopped her super popular show to start her own beauty line.
Body-shamers attacked Lara Spencer’s legs
Lara Spencer was praised in 2017 for her athletic body, but she has also experienced what it is like to be the target of online trolling. In 2018, the journalist and TV presenter posted a photo of her Emmy outfit on Instagram and the answer was pretty shocking. The HGTV star (who wore a silver Alice + Olivia dress and Revolve boots in an instant) was brutally embarrassed by bullies who told her not to expose her legs at her age.
“I’m ashamed of you,” wrote an Instagram user (via AOL), “don’t you see that you don’t have ‘young’ legs? #SaggyKnees.” Another user said that Spencer “looked stupid” and reminded her that she was no longer 20, while a so-called GMA co-host fan decided to drag her children in. “I love you, look at you every day, but you are a mother,” she posted. ‘What’s the matter with that outfit? That would have embarrassed children. “
Age is a sensitive subject for Spencer, who struggled with the fact that she needed a hip prosthesis before she turned 50 because of a diagnosis of hip dysplasia. “I felt that there was a stigma attached to a hip prosthesis, and I didn’t know if I’d be the same,” she told People. “I entered this abyss of:” What am I going to say to people and my children? ” … But this is not a problem of an old person, it is a problem of an active person. “
Why did Lara Spencer divorce her husband of 15 years?
No one could deny that Lara Spencer looked beautiful when she married tech entrepreneur Rick McVey in 2018. The GMA co-host wore a sleeveless Adam Zohar lace dress for the outdoor ceremony and she looked a million dollars as her son Duff (one of the two teenage children she shares with ex-husband, David Haffenreffer) walked her through the aisle. Based on the photos they share on Instagram, Spencer and McVey are absolutely in love. That is great to see, but what exactly went wrong between her and Haffenreffer?
“After much thought, care and attention, we have decided to end our marriage”, they said in a joint statement in 2015 (via page six). “It’s a sad decision that didn’t come easily, especially because we respect and love each other and our children.” It all sounded very friendly, but sources close to the couple claim that their 15-year relationship was incredibly tense towards the end.
“Lara was the primary breadwinner,” an insider told RadarOnline. “Although David comes from old money, Lara earned considerably more. She wore the pants in the relationship.” The fact that Spencer “could never get along” with Haffrenreffer’s parents also became a problem, as did her behavior towards other men, the source added. “Lara’s flirting just contributed to the wedding as time went on.”
This article originally appeared in nickiswift.