Wednesday, May 29

Tom Brokaw Made It to 61 Years with Beauty Queen Who Proposed to Him — She Cared for Him as He Battled Cancer

Tom Brokaw and Meredith Auld started dating when they were still in school, and she steered their relationship to the next level.

Despite people thinking the couple was mismatched, she stayed with him and supported him through his cancer diagnosis.

After going into remission, Tom gave an interview where he noted some things first-time cancer patients had to be prepared for.

Meredith Auld was the reigning Miss South Dakota when she and Tom Brokaw were in a relationship, and the townspeople couldn’t understand the match.

Tom Brokaw on the "Today" show in an undated photo | Source: Getty Images

While the people of Yankton, South Dakota, thought it was apparent why the charming man would want to date the town’s beauty queen, they wondered why Auld wasn’t dating and marrying one of the town’s most eligible bachelors like Eldon Weinstock, whom they deemed sophisticated and clever.

Their daughter, Sarah Brokaw, revealed in her 2011 blog post how her father was also intelligent, attractive, and fun in other people’s view, but they felt he didn’t have any attainable goals or a clear direction in life.

Auld, who came from an affluent family and was a cheerleader and vice president in their school, was deemed not a good match for Brokaw, whom his daughter described as a “witty charmer.”

Tom Brokaw and his wife Meredith Auld at Woody Allen's New Year's Eve Party on December 31, 1979, at Harkness House in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Regardless, Auld ignored all the talk and listened to her heart and inner voice. In fact, she decided to move things along and take their relationship to the next level by proposing to Brokaw on June 9, 1962. She confirmed this to their daughter later, stating:

“Yes, I did the proposing, but Tom did the old-fashioned thing and called on Merritt and Viv (my mother’s parents) to ‘get permission.’”

Sarah’s mother revealed how Helen Desmond, the mother of one of her high school friends, led her to propose to Brokaw. When Desmond asked her what her plans with Brokaw were, she directed her question to Brokaw, and that’s how she ended up proposing.

Speaking to a friend before their wedding, the beauty queen noted how she didn’t know if they’d make any money but she knew “life will be interesting.”

The couple tied the knot on August 17, 1962, and are still happily married 61 years later. Sadly, their relationship wasn’t all smooth sailing as they faced some difficult trials.

Meredith Auld and Tom Brokaw at Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's book party at the Players Club on June 12, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

In August 2013, Tom was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer known as multiple myeloma. During a June 2023 interview, it was revealed that the television personality wasn’t expected to survive it.

The “Never Give Up: A Prairie Family’s Story” author admitted that he tried to control the disease by making changes in his life. He gave up his daily activities as a news anchor with NBC as he wasn’t the same person anymore.

Although it took months, Brokaw finally went into remission after undergoing lots of treatment. While it wasn’t a great time for him and Auld, in 2015, the journalist confessed this about his longtime wife:

“This cancer experience has just deepened my awe of her.”

Tom Brokaw and Meredith Auld on July 10, 2004, during the Allen & Co. conference at the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho | Source: Getty Images

The star said it was hard to say he loved Auld more for her support but that it definitely deepened their bond. The Presidential Medal of Freedom winner shared how they always cared for each other and he depended so much on his wife while battling his illness.

Brokaw admitted battling cancer is tough, so he had some advice for cancer patients. He revealed some important things a person facing cancer should know.

What Every Cancer Patient Should Know, According to Tom Brokaw
Brokaw once gave an interview where he dished out some advice to cancer patients on things they should know. One of those things was that the battle would be more complex than expected; for instance, he suffered spine fractures that no one warned him about. The now-retired news journalist even lost two inches in height.

The “A Lucky Life Interrupted” author also noted how life would change. In his own experience, he could no longer play golf, and his doctor worried about him going fly-fishing.

Brokaw recalled going hunting once and getting tired because he couldn’t perform the rhythmic actions the sport needed. He urged cancer patients to tackle their diagnosis by being upfront with their doctors.

The journalist recalled a weekend when he was invited to Indianapolis’ Final Four event but didn’t feel good.

The star also believed in asking all the tough questions and challenging medical professionals’ credentials because the community has a lot of arrogance. He also encouraged using websites like Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic to get more information.

Brokaw was on the Mayo Clinic’s board, which earned him a diagnosis and would send him to the reputable Sloan-Kettering. When things went wrong, he had enough confidence to confess what wasn’t working for him and what he wasn’t happy about.

Auld’s husband’s last advice to cancer patients was to make an effort when possible. He recalled a weekend when he was invited to Indianapolis’ Final Four event but didn’t feel good.

At the time, he struggled with a sinus condition due to his resistance being down, but he still forced himself to attend the event. The star shared how happy he was that he went and had a fantastic time!

Despite all that he’s been through, Brokaw, who has three daughters with Auld, has managed to live a very fulfilling life. He is also blessed with five grandchildren.

Sarah is quite successful as she is working as a psychotherapist, is also a philanthropist, and the New York Times bestselling author of “Fortytude: Making the Next Decades the Best Years of Your Life — through the 40’s, 50’s, and Beyond.”