Full disclosure here. We were already big fans of Sanjay Gupta's before interviewing him about his new show, a medical drama on TNT called Monday Mornings, which premieres February 4th. I had a chance to get to know Sanjay when I worked at CNN and CBS News, and know what an absolutely great guy he is.
But hearing him talk about his wife and three girls and we love him even more.
We wanted to know what Sanjay's biggest worry was for his girls. He has joked in the past about learning Navy SEAL Team 6 tactics to deal with the dating years. "I worry, of course, I think any dad would," he told me during a casual interview at TNT's studios in Atlanta. "My oldest is seven and I come home a lot and there are already a lot of those strange boys around the house so (I'm) going to have to start brushing up on my security tactics," he said with a laugh.
Watch to hear what Sanjay's biggest worry is for his girls.
But it's what he said next that really got our attention. When asked what was that one big concern he had for his girls, he said, "They won't like themselves."
Wow. Full stop. What a great thing for a father to worry about regarding his girls.
"I was having a conversation with Amanda Beard this summer," Sanjay said, referring to the American swimmer who is a seven-time Olympic medalist. "She's a beautiful woman... and she went through a period of time where she was hurting herself... You can't help but think of your own kids in that way."
Asked what he and his wife do to ensure their girls will grow up to like themselves, Sanjay said, "We do what we think is right. I got an email from Sage, my oldest, the other day... and it was the best email... She said, 'I love you daddy,' in the subject line, and she said, 'You taught me that I was strong, beautiful and smart."
Sanjay, I think you hit the jackpot. Sanjay agrees and plans to hold onto that email especially for those unpredictable teenage years!!!
One other funny takeaway from our conversation with Sanjay about his girls—there are consequences to being a chief medical correspondent who is seen on CNN and CBS' 60 Minutes. Sanjay told us what happened at school after he did a report on the health hazards of sugar. It was the first school meeting filled with parents, kids and teachers, he said. "And the principal comes over to me within earshot of many kids and says, 'I want you to know, Dr. Gupta, we are not going to be serving any more sugar in this school thanks to you.' And I thought to myself, 'I've just become the pariah of the neighborhood."
Not a chance, Sanjay!
Kelly Wallace is Chief Correspondent of iVillage—you can follow Kelly on Twitter.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.