Melissa Rivers sat down in an exclusive TODAY interview, her first on television since the September 2014 death of her inimitable mother, comedian Joan Rivers.
Melissa opened up to Matt Lauer Monday about the last conversation she had with her mother, their creative collaborations and the recent controversies that have plagued E!’s “Fashion Police.”
Melissa, 47, said the pair had “a very normal conversation” the night before her mother underwent a minor throat procedure, during which she stopped breathing.
“All she said was, ‘Ugh, I hate having to do this. Getting old sucks,” Melissa recalled.
She read a poignant passage from her new memoir, “The Book of Joan,” about their final night together in the hospital.
“I slept on the cot next to my mother’s bed that night with some of the lights still on and the TV blasting, just the way she liked it,” she said. “In the morning, when it was time to remove the ventilator, she was surrounded by those who loved her most and whom she loved most. I lay in the bed and held her for a while. And after a few hours, she was finally gone. I didn’t have to tell her I loved her. She knew. She didn’t have to tell me she loved me. I knew.”
On working together:
The mother-daughter duo were longtime creative partners, appearing together on the red carpet and on various reality shows, such as “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?”
Melissa said their working relationship was “pretty amazing.”
“It doesn’t mean that we didn’t have creative differences,” she added. “Oh, there were some huge fights, but the amazing thing was was there was this chemistry. And we were a team. I was the straight man. She was the funny one. I would set it up. She would hit it out of the park. If you come across a partnership like that once in your life, as a performer, you’re lucky.”