'Surprising Santa Claus': Who is Lara Spencer? Here's how much HGTV holiday special show's host is worth

During her decades-long stint as the news anchor of 'Good Morning America', Lara Spencer has managed to court several controversies. Read on to know more about them


                            'Surprising Santa Claus': Who is Lara Spencer? Here's how much HGTV holiday special show's host is worth
Lara Spencer (Getty Images)

For nearly two decades, Americans across the country woke up to Lara Spencer updating them on the latest news as the host of ABC's popular daytime news show 'Good Morning America'. But there's a lot more to this popular news anchor than just reading out news for us every morning. Read on to know more about Lara.

Prior to landing the coveted position of a news anchor on 'Good Morning America', Lara had to work really hard to get the job. The news anchor attended Pennsylvania State University on an athletic scholarship for springboard and platform diving. She graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism. Following her graduation, she joined the NBC page program to gain some experience.

Lara later went on to anchor several news shows before she got her big break as the host of 'Good Morning America' in 1999 as a national correspondent. Things began looking up for Lara, as her personal life too began flourishing along with her professional life. In 2000, the news anchor married former CNNfn journalist David Haffenreffer in 2000. The couple has two children together.

In 2015, Lara filed for divorce from her husband. In a joint statement made in 2015, the couple said, "After a lot of thought, care and consideration, we have decided to end our marriage. It's a sad decision that did not come easily, especially because we respect and love each other and our children." Although the couple's split seemed amicable on the surface, according to sources close to the couple, their relationship hit a rock in the final years of their marriage.

An insider close to the couple revealed to RadarOnline that Lara's significantly higher earnings and her flirty nature played a key role in the couple's split. "Lara was the primary breadwinner. Even though David comes from old money, Lara earned significantly more. She wore the pants in the relationship. Lara's flirting just wore on the marriage as time went by," revealed the source.

TV personality Lara Spencer arrives at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre on September 20, 2009, in Los Angeles, California (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Soon after her divorce, Lara met her second husband, tech entrepreneur Rick McVey. The couple reportedly met on a blind date, and after three years of dating, they tied the knot in 2018. Lara has also found herself in the center of several controversies during her long stint as a news anchor on 'Good Morning America'. In 2015, a photo of Lara appearing to sit on then Presidential candidate Donald Trump's lap began doing the rounds.

This sparked a lot of backlash against Lara for indulging a man who disrespected women. Although Lara clarified that she never sat on Trump's lap, and it was just an "optical illusion", Internet users had a hard time believing her version, despite the production and crew of the show confirming that the hostess was standing next to him, and not sitting on his lap. 

Lara once again made headlines for her snide comments against Prince George taking ballet lessons as part of his school curriculum. In 2019, the hostess mocked the future King of England for taking ballet classes. She said, "In addition to the usual first or second grade things like math, science and history, the future King of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things."

"Prince William says, 'George absolutely loves ballet.' We'll see how long that lasts. [...] Between the religious studies and the computer programming, I just want to go back to the Play-Doh," added Lara. 

Michael Strahan and Lara Spencer during ABC's 'Good Morning America' Live From Philadelphia broadcast at the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum on June 13, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Bill McCay/Getty Images)

She came under fire for her insensitive and ignorant remarks. Several male dancers and choreographers came forward to point to Lara that even men dance. The next day, Lara apologized for her remarks against Prince George saying, "From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain and love every minute of it." 

Despite her controversial statements and questionable actions, Lara has managed to amass a net worth of an estimated $20 million during her decades-long sting as a news anchor. At the peak of her career, she reportedly made $3 million a year. In 2018, Lara decided to step back from her news anchor duties to focus more on her production company and spend more time behind the cameras rather than in front of the cameras.

You can catch Lara on 'Surprising Santa Claus', HGTV's holiday special show.The show's host Spencer will drop into town and surprise two families by offering to give their home a complete renovation, just in time for Christmas. 'Surprising Santa Claus' premieres on December 25, at 9/8c on HGTV.

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