Tamron Hall: I'm #InspiredBy my stepfather, who 'was a great dad'

TODAY's Tamron Hall and her stepfather, Clarence Newton Sr.

For Tamron Hall, inspiration is all in the family.

As part of TODAY's #InspiredBy series, Tamron shared who has motivated her on Friday: Her stepfather Clarence Newton Sr.

Or, in other words, "The man I fondly call my dad."

He became a part of her life after her parents divorced when she was just seven or eight years old. At the time, she said, "The only thing I could think about was my parents getting back together."

Instead, her mother introduced her to Clarence. "We knew him, interestingly enough, because he was our landlord," Tamron said. "I knew this person as Mr. Newton."

#InspiredBy: Powerful stories of courage, strength, survival

Tamron called him "Mr. Newton" for the next 10 years, until one day she called home and he answered the phone. "I said, 'Hey Dad, is Mom home?'" she recalled.

"I don't know where it came from or what prompted it, but he was my dad at that moment and forever."

Her dad was there for her from the time she got her first job to the day she landed at NBC News, watching and cheering her on all the way. And when he got sick, she rushed to be by his side, where she was when he passed away. 

And even though he's gone, he continues to shape Tamron's life. "What he has left me with and what he has inspired me to do and what he has given me the confidence to do will never leave me," she said.

Tamron says their relationship taught her that sometimes what seems like a negative can actually be a positive.

"I think what I would want people to understand from my life is that sometimes things happen that we don't want. Divorce, no one wants that," she said. "It's easy to feel that life has shortchanged us somehow. But I don't look at life that way at all because you never know what's around the corner. And for me it was a great dad."

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