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Megyn Kelly on why she 'adores' Judge Judy: 'She tells it like it is'

TODAY's Megyn Kelly explains why she finds a kindred spirit in TV's toughest gavel-banger, Judge Judy Sheindlin.
Judge Judy on Megyn Kelly TOODAY
Judge Judy on Megyn Kelly TOODAYNathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: Today

Some people are bashful and timid, forever at a loss for words. Suffice to say, Judge Judy Sheindlin is not one of them. Her command of the law is rivaled only by her sharp zingers and unflinching candor when she's presiding over small-claims cases.

Those who watch her syndicated show, which has been a ratings hit since its 1996 premiere, know that her tongue lashings are legendary when she's faced with clueless litigants.

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“Either you’re playing dumb, or it’s not an act,” she told one unfortunate man in her courtroom.

Sheindlin retired from the bench after 25 years, and went on to bang her gavel on TV. The former New York Family Court judge has got legions of celebrity fans — including Amy Schumer and Samuel L. Jackson— and the list includes our very own Megyn Kelly.

So we talked to Megyn about the origins of her fondness for Judge Judy.

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Tell me about the first time you met Judge Judy. What was the experience like?

She came on my set on "The Kelly File" and it was like meeting the mentor I never knew. She is much softer in person, but still a firecracker.

What about her makes you such a fan?

I love that she doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I love that she calls out b.s. when she sees it. I love when she says, "That doesn’t make sense! And if it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true!" I love that she’s confrontational, bold, strong, successful ... and unapologetic for all of it.

Do you get starstruck around her?

I get a little starstruck, yes. Her good opinion means something to me, so I do get a little nervous about saying or asking the wrong thing while with her.

Why is she your dream guest?

Because she tells it like it is, and has a fearlessness we see too infrequently in today’s day and age. It’s refreshing.

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As a recovering lawyer, have you gotten any advice from her?

Yes, I’ve gotten advice from her. Sometimes I’ve followed it; sometimes not, but it’s always been sound and smart, and I’m still pretty thrilled that I’m even able to speak to her privately as if we were friends.

What has surprised you the most about Judge Judy — meaning, what’s she really like?

Nothing surprised me. She was as awesome as I thought she’d be. Tough but sweet, confident but self-deprecating, smart but relatable, empathetic but not a coddler. I adore her!