Katie Couric’s former nanny slams her tell-all memoir
Katie Couric’s former nanny has blasted the former Today show host, who accused her of becoming creepily possessive and trying to sabotage her marriage in her scathing new memoir.
In her upcoming book, Going There, Couric claims that her daughter’s caretaker Nancy Poznek became increasingly attached to her when she was living in New York while her late husband Jay Monahan lived in Virginia.
She writes she was ultimately forced to fire Poznek – who is called ‘Doris’ in the book – after she ‘managed to grow deep, twisted roots into our family and my psyche, leaving me to imagine I couldn’t function without her.’
But in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Poznek slammed the claims and accused Couric of falsely painting her as ‘delusional’ in order to sell copies of her book.
It was Couric, Poznek says, who heavily relied on HER to take care of the television star at home, just as she needed constant coaching from producers at NBC’s Today show in the early 1990s.
Poznek, who worked for the family from 1991 to 1994, said Couric’s home was such a mess that the TV anchor wouldn’t shower all weekend because she was so exhausted, and that working for her was like nannying a ‘teenage boy’ in addition to taking care of baby daughter Ellie.
Katie Couric reveals she allegedly had an ‘alarmingly codependent’ relationship with former nanny Nancy Poznek, in her new memoir, Going There. Pictured from left to right: Poznek, baby Ellie, Jay Monahan, and Katie Couric in 1991
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Poznek, now 76, denied the claims and accused Couric of falsely painting her as ‘delusional’ in order to sell copies of her book
She recalled how at home Couric would pick her nose and wipe it on her pillow and even once sniffed Billy Joel’s shorts when she rented his beach house in Martha’s Vineyard.
Poznek had a front row seat as Couric and her first husband Jay Monahan drifted apart once she became a television star, only having sex three times in the past three years Monahan had confided to her – on New Year’s Eve.
She claims that Couric was so overwhelmed, Monahan didn’t feel he could tell her he had stomach problems and was popping Tums antacid ‘like candy.’
His health problems later developed into colorectal cancer that killed him at the age of 42 and Poznek claims that Couric was ‘guilty’ because she ‘wasn’t around for him all those years’.
Couric devoted pages of her memoir to disparaging Poznek, now a 76-year-old retiree living in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Even with her scathing swipes at celebrities, former colleagues, and ex-boyfriends, the vitriol directed at Poznek is startling.
Going There will be published in late October by Little, Brown and Company
Couric claims in the book that in the three years she worked for her, Poznek managed to create an ‘alarming level of codependency’ with her in ‘such a subtle, crafty way’.
Couric likened herself to a ‘gaslit woman in peril in a Lifetime movie’ and said that Poznek made her feel ‘completely responsible for her happiness and wellbeing.’
Couric claimed in the book that she fired Poznek when she became jealous about Monahan spending more time at home because she wouldn’t have Couric all to herself.
Couric writes that ‘the scales fell from my eyes’ and she realized that Nancy was ‘delusional’ and ‘trying to destroy my marriage’.
Sitting in her living room, Poznek told that she was ‘shocked’ when she read the stories, which were reportedly exclusively on DailyMail.com last week.
She said: ‘I was extremely upset. This is going to be in the book forever, it’s not true and I have to live with that all the time.
‘If I ran into Katie Couric on the street I wouldn’t look at her, I wouldn’t say anything. Maybe before this story came out I would have but not since that. I don’t want anything to do with her.
‘After all those years I imagine she doesn’t care. She doesn’t need the money, she figures she’ll go down with a bang, the book will sell zillions of copies.
‘If she really felt all those things, why didn’t she get rid of me at the time?’
A HAPPY BEGINNING
Poznek became a nanny to the stars at the age of 19 when she arrived in California with $2.50 to her name and slept in the Los Angeles airport until she got her first job.
Since then her clients have included Mick Jagger and Diana Ross and she says she stayed in the job for decades because she loves children.
Another perk was that wealthy families often travel and Poznek loved to go with them, calling herself an ‘expert’ at traveling with children – her record is six in one trip.
Poznek was hired by Couric through an agency she was working for in New York and recalled going to her office in 30 Rockefeller Center, the Today studio, to meet her.
Poznek said: ‘Jay was there and they seemed like a happy young couple, the way she was pregnant, she looked like a little barrel.
Couric, pictured with Poznek and her daughter Ellie in an undated photo, writes that she sometimes joked that her little girl had ‘two moms’ and that she and Poznek were a ‘couple in a weird kind of way’
Katie Couric, daughter Ellie and Nancy Poznek at the Four Seasons Beverley Hills, 1991
‘They’d only been married a couple of years and we hit it off great’.
Couric hadn’t given birth yet and after their daughter Ellie arrived, Poznek joined them for three weeks in Maurertown, Virginia, where they had a house.
Couric’s parents took a liking to Poznek as well, especially her mother, and they were all excited about the future.
Poznek moved into a room in Couric’s Manhattan apartment and settled in.
Initially her duties were to look after anything related to Ellie from Monday to Friday for $700 a week, roughly $70,000 a year in today5’s dollars, but that quickly expanded to seven days a week and involved cooking and traveling with the family on holiday.
In the beginning at least, Poznek said there was a strong connection with her employer.
Couric writes that she sometimes joked Ellie had ‘two moms’ and that she and Poznek were a ‘couple in a weird kind of way’ as Monahan was in Virginia working often.
Poznek said: ‘Katie and I were so similar as people, we’d come out with the same sentences. Jay used to say we pick at each other like monkeys’.
Poznek became Couric’s ‘proxy’ at major events like Ellie’s first birthday where she hired a clown while her mother was in Barcelona covering the 1992 Olympics.
Poznek showed DailyMail.com a letter that Couric wrote to her in 1992 asking why she wasn’t going to be with them for Thanksgiving and Christmas
Pictured: Handwritten notes from Katie to Nancy. In her book Couric claims her nanny ‘seemed to have no friends, no one special in her life, she wanted to be part of the family’
Couric bought Poznek expensive presents like sweaters, boots and an antique perfume bottle engraved with her name that Monahan had found.
Poznek said: ‘Katie said I couldn’t do it without someone like Nancy. I was important to her, I took care of her. Even Jeff Zucker (former Today executive producer), said as much.’
When Ladies’ Home Journal did a shoot of Couric and her family, she spent an hour on the phone begging them to include a photo of Poznek in the magazine.
She was unsuccessful but the editors sent Poznek a print as a ‘consolation prize’, she said.
Poznek showed DailyMail.com a letter that Couric wrote to her in 1992 asking why she wasn’t going to be with them for Thanksgiving.
The letter said: ‘We’ve come to think of you as a member of our family. Families are together on holidays!’
LIFE WITH KATIE AND JAY
Soon Poznek’s role extended to waking Couric up at 4am so she could get to the Today studio.
NBC would call Poznek and tell her to make sure Couric had the things she needed because she was more organized than her boss.
When Couric came home she and Poznek would go out for a couple of hours and then the ‘packet’ – material to prepare for the next day’s show – would arrive from NBC and Couric would have to study it.
Poznerk said: ‘She was not a smart person, as in she’s studied the packet but Jeff Zucker helped her through it.’
Pozek said that she was turned off by Couric’s manufactured charm that she deployed for her job.
She said: ‘She’d say to Jay and me: “I have to go out and schmooze.” I’ve seen her operate, I was with her when she was interviewed by People magazine, she reels these people in, they think she’s their best friend.
‘As soon as she goes out she puts on that smile and that cutesy thing. Now she’s too old for that cutesy thing.’
Meanwhile, when she got home, Couric would discard clothes all over the house and her room looked like a ‘disaster.’
Poznek was hired as Couric’s nanny before the news anchor had given birth to her first daughter Ellie (pictured) and recalled going to her office in 30 Rockefeller Center, the Today show studio, to meet her and her late husband Jay Monahan
Soon Poznek’s role extended to waking Couric up at 4am so she could get to the Today studio. She claimed she would get calls from NBC to make sure Couric had what she needed for work because she was more organized than her
Monahan would have to push Couric into the shower because she wouldn’t wash all weekend, Poznek claimed.
Sometimes things got too personal like when she and Couric were driving to the mall with the windows rolled up. Couric told her: ‘I wouldn’t inhale if I were you’ – because she had farted.
‘One time when we were in Key West, Jay said to me, come on you gotta come with me. He took me up to the bedroom, she was in the bathroom and he said look – it was her pillow, she’d picked her nose all night, all the (boogers) were lined up,’ Poznek said.
‘She was like that. She’ll drink out of a milk carton and when her underwear were dirty she’ll turn them inside out’.
Couric rarely cooked and didn’t diet – Poznek recalled that she was ‘built like a little wrestler’ and ‘never saw a man make a pass at her – Jay had nothing to worry about there.’
Monahan, a lawyer, had his quirks too and was heavily into Civil War history, going so far as to reenact important battles on weekends with his friends.
Although their relationship ultimately deteriorated, Poznek said there was a strong connection with her employer in the beginning. Pictured: A birthday cake baked by Katie Couric for Nancy in 1992
He would tell Couric: ‘It’s better than gambling, drinking and chasing women.’
Bawdy humor was a fixture of life with Couric and one time while driving to a speech in Miami, Couric joked to Monahan: ‘Why don’t you have sex with Nancy?’
He looked at her and said: ‘No thanks, I’m not that hungry.’
According to Poznek there was ‘no filter’ with Monahan and when he went to the bathroom he would say: ‘I have to go pinch a loaf.’
Poznek does not think that Couric was jealous or that she suspected she was having an affair with her husband.
She said: ‘I think she was glad because she didn’t have to entertain him. That’s why I was the buffer. She was tired, he’d say he was taking Nancy to the store and we’d be driving around the roads.
‘He was so interested in the Civil War, he said that’s what saved him when she was at the Pentagon and she was gone for the war in Iraq. He was totally into it.
‘He’d walk around in his underwear in his house playing the bugle.’
COURIC CLAIMS SHE GOT CREEPED OUT
In the book, Couric claimed that soon after hiring Poznek she felt things were getting a bit strange.
She claimed that Poznek said: ‘I don’t want to go away on weekends, I want to feel like I’m part of a family.’
Couric’s reaction was: ‘Wait a second, and sympathy’. In the memoir, Couric says she told Poznek: ‘OK, of course you can be part of our family.’
Going There claims that Poznek once once asked Couric for a hug before bed time because ‘it would make me feel better.’
Couric claims Poznek ‘seemed to have no friends, no one special in her life, she wanted to be part of the family.’
Couric ‘lightly embraced’ Poznek who hugged her back ‘a little too tightly, resting her head on my chest like a child,’ the memoir says.
Couric claims this became a regular thing before and it was ‘creepy’ but she let it go because she was ‘completely dependent’ on Nancy because of her demanding schedule.
Couric claims Poznek – who worked for her from 1991 to 1994 – ‘managed to grow deep, twisted roots into our family and my psyche, leaving me to imagine I couldn’t function without her.’ They are pictured at Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1994
Poznek began working for the family full time, joining them on their luxury vacations in Hawaii, Disneyland in California, Key West, Florida (pictured) Jackson Hole and Anguilla in the Caribbean
Not true, Poznek said.
The first hug was the other way around because Poznek is taller than Couric while another time Couric kissed Poznek on the lips.
Poznek said: ‘When we traveled and there was a one bedroom suite I’d sleep in bed with her. She doesn’t like to be alone and she doesn’t like confrontations.
The idea that Poznek was the one becoming dependent on Couric was not true, Poznek said, adding that Couric was the hugger, not her.
She said: ‘She was like that. If you did something for her she’d give you a hug.
‘She was the one that was needy. It was like taking care of a teenage boy. She wasn’t organized’.
Couric wrote that she had the ‘nagging feeling something was not right’ and likens it to the film The House of The Spirits when Ferula becomes obsessed with Clara, played by Glenn Close and Meryl Street respectively, ultimately climbing into her bed one night.
But the ‘daunting’ thought of finding another nanny was too much and the hugs seemed like a ‘small price to pay.’
Poznek said: ‘She was more codependent on me. In fact even in one article she said I couldn’t do it without somebody like Nancy just like she was codependent on Jeff Zucker.
‘She needed somebody like me.’
In the book Couric claimed that Poznek once turned away some friends of hers who had come to visit them in Virginia while they were on a weekend visit there.
Poznek said: ‘Why would I turn them away? They’re both there. You never had people, strangers come, or fans and all that. I wouldn’t turn them away. Why would I do that if they’re there?’
Another claim that Poznek disputes is the Couric once asked a friend to come round, then told the friend to watch Ellie so she could go and see a movie with Poznek.
Couric supposedly felt she and Poznek hadn’t had enough time together.
Poznek said: ‘That’s not true. She took me one time to a movie for my birthday. She didn’t want to be alone.
‘In her family she was the youngest, she was the center of attention. That’s what the celebrity did for her and now she doesn’t have that attention’.
TENSIONS OVER MONEY
While Couric was careful with her money, Monahan spent it, leading to tensions with not just his wife but her parents.
Couric didn’t go to designer clothes stores and instead used her charm to get items for free or at a discount.
Poznek had more than a hundred T-shirts because they were given so many as presents, she said.
Poznek said: ‘One time we went to Anguila for a week on vacation.
‘They didn’t want to pay the bill and they told me to go down and pay with their credit card. It was $12,000, this is 30 years ago, so a lot of money. I pay the bill, I go back, I tell them what it was. Katie said oh my god. You know how I reasoned this with her? It’s only two or three days of your pay and she was like, OK.’
Couric ‘didn’t question’ how much Monahan spent but Poznek said that their homes were ‘never beautiful’ and Monahan would prefer things he got from flea markets rather than more fancy items.
Couric’s biggest clothing splurges were a few items at Gap, which was next to their Manhattan apartment.
Poznek claims that Couric’s mother Elinor Hene got ‘annoyed’ that Monahan was freeloading off their daughter while she was ‘working her butt off.’
She said: ‘Her parents were also annoyed because Jay’s parents were using this house for two or three months, that house for two or three months.
‘Katie’s paying all the expenses. Katie’s parents called Jay’s parents moochers. The parents were getting disgusted with that, with Katie working day and night.
‘Jay liked the money in the beginning, but he spent it and he found that wasn’t going to make him happy.’
Couric sometimes gossiped about work and complained about her assistants – in the three years Poznek was with the family, Couric went through three of them.
Poznek said: ‘They couldn’t work for her. It wasn’t that she was nasty. You had to keep on at her like a child. They couldn’t deal with her.’
The late jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was so nasty to Couric in one interview that she called Zucker and told him: ‘Let’s save this interview for his obituary.’
On the day Roseanne Barr was due to come into the studio and be interviewed, Couric had a cold and couldn’t make it.
Roseanne supposedly said she only wanted to be interviewed by Couric and would come to her home if needs be.
According to Poznek, Couric said: ‘I don’t want Roseanne in my house.
Poznek recalled that Martha Stewart was ‘really nice to me’ and ‘always said hello.’
In Going There Couric ridiculed her and said that it was only after serving time in prison that she developed a sense of humor.
Poznek recalled staying with the family at Billy Joel’s beach house in Martha’s Vineyard in 1994 when Couric decided to have some fun with his personal items
She shared photos of Couric going into Billy Joel’s closet and smelling his shorts and posing with his belongings
The family took Poznek on trips to Hawaii, Disneyland in California, Key West in Florida, Jackson Hole and Anguila in the Caribbean.
In the summer in 1994 they rented Billy Joel’s beach house in Martha’s Vineyard and Couric decided to have some fun with his personal items.
Poznek said: ‘She was fooling around and said get the camera.
She was lying in bed, she put a pen in for a cigarette, she wanted to look like Billy Joel. She puts on Christie Brinkley’s hat and she’s modeling it.
‘She went into the medicine cabinet and pulled up Christie Brinkley’s Sun Up to make her hair look lighter. She goes into Billy Joel’s closet and pulls out his shorts and starts smelling them and pulls out his shoes and towel and poses with them.
‘She had a sense of humor about it.’
Poznek thought that Couric was a good mother and that ‘whatever time she had, it was for Ellie.’
But amid Couric’s whirlwind life there was one person who was almost cut out and it caused the tension which would lead to Poznek’s departure.
In the book Couric admits that she and Monahan grew apart when ‘my fame took up residence in our marriage like an overbearing houseguest.’
Couric admits that ‘I liked it when people stared at me as I strolled to a great table at a nice restaurant’ and writes that ‘the bigger I got, the smaller he (Monahan) felt’.
Poznek agrees with this and says that Monahan hated the celebrity life that Couric was drawn to.
One time they were sitting at a table in a restaurant and some people were chatting up Couric.
Monahan leaned over to Poznek and whispered: ‘Ego, ego.’
Monahan became frustrated that he wasn’t getting any attention from Couric and began to make comments to Poznek.
She claims he told her: ‘If she ever leaves me, I’ll take Ellie away from her.’
In her book, Couric claims she fired Poznek when she became jealous about Monahan spending more time at home because she wouldn’t have Couric all to herself
She said: ‘He was so scared of her leaving him, he never looked at another woman, he really, really loved her. At one point, this was later, three years later, he said, you know how many times we’ve had sex (since she was hired)?
‘It’s been three, on New Year’s Eve each year. I didn’t really see her kiss him or anything like that but from what I heard from Katie they were a very loving couple, they had the perfect life before the show came up.’
In perhaps her most explosive claim, Poznek says that Monahan was so worried Couric would dump him, he kept secret his stomach problems.
She would go out and buy ‘multiple packs’ of Tums for Monahan who was in pain and was ‘grabbing’ his belly.
He was so stressed that he couldn’t eat when they went out to eat, Poznek said.
She said: ‘He was afraid. He couldn’t tell her his stomach was bad.
‘She didn’t want to hear it, she had enough on her plate with her job. As you’re going along you see this man is getting down.
‘His dream life was to be a country lawyer in the Shenandoah Valley with Katie and the baby beside him and as time went on that’s never going to be.
Couric’s husband died aged 42 in 1996 following a battle with colon cancer
‘He wanted to hold on because he loved her. They never had an argument. He knew if he had an argument she’d divorce him, so he quietly kept to himself but this stress…’
Monahan died in 1996 aged 42 from colon cancer and Poznek sees a direct link between the stress of his marriage to Couric and the illness.
She said: ‘Katie comes and plays this grieving widow thing. The widow card and the reason she does that is because she’s guilty, she wasn’t around for him all those years.
‘He couldn’t function, this was on his mind all the time.’
In Going There Couric wrote that Monahan was working in Virginia and got sick of being away from his family so decided to move to New York.
The book makes it seem this was a development that came near the end of Poznek’s time with Couric, but she claims it was much earlier and that the tension built up over a longer period of time.
Couric claims that the final straw was Monahan wanting to quit work entirely to write Civil War histories, but Poznek says that wasn’t the case and things had been bad for a while.
Couric wrote that she was ‘excited’ to have Monahan home but Poznek ‘not so much.’
Poznek supposedly felt that he was ‘intruding on our relationship and the atmosphere in the apartment grew tense.’
According to Poznek, Couric wrote her a letter a few months before she was fired saying she knew Monahan could be ‘obnoxious’ but that she ‘loved her like a sister’ and hoped she wouldn’t leave
Katie Couric with daughter Ellie, Nancy Poznek and Jay Monahan and unidentified friends at Disneyland in 1992
Poznek supposedly told Couric: ‘You won’t believe what he said about you’ followed by some ‘bogusly hurtful remark’ that Monahan said.
Poznek supposedly told Couric: ‘If you think I’m going to keep working here while he sits around the house doing nothing, you’ve got another thing coming’.
Couric writes that ‘the scales fell from my eyes’ and she realized that Nancy was ‘delusional’ and ‘trying to destroy my marriage.’
Feeling she had ‘never been more sure of anything’ she told Nancy to pack her bags and get out.
Poznek had a very different account of what happened.
She said that a few months before she was fired Couric wrote her a letter saying that although Monahan could be ‘obnoxious’ she ‘loved her like a sister’ and she hopes she wouldn’t leave.
Poznek said: ‘A few weeks before one morning I woke her up, she was in a t-shirt with tears in her eyes and said I will have a hole in my heart if you leave. She never knew what Jay was about, she never had a clue about how it was. She always just said when I wanted to go, is it because of Jay? She did not have a clue he was feeling anything’.
The final day came when Poznek and Monahan were arguing because he wanted her to spend the weekend in Virginia with them and she wanted the time off.
Couric arrived after a 14 hour day and said: ‘He can’t go, you’ll have to go’, and with that Poznek packed her bags.
Poznek denied she wanted to destroy Couric and Monahan’s marriage as she claimed in the book.
She said: ‘People destroy their own marriage. I was not trying to destroy Katie and Jay’s marriage.’
After being fired by Couric, Poznek spoke to Star magazine and did a story which described how Monahan walked around their home in his boxers playing his bugle.
Poznek says that the story was ‘funny’ and ‘nothing nasty’ and didn’t see the problem with it.
She also spoke with Globe magazine about a story and they asked her to do a lie detector test which she passed with ‘flying colors’, she claims.
In Going There, Couric claims that after that Poznek ‘got creative’ and allegedly posted stickers at payphones in rest stops in New Jersey which read: ‘Why does Katie Couric care more about her job than her child?’
Another read: ‘Why is her husband a pedophile?’ Both had a phone number which was Couric’s private number. One person who saw the stickers called Couric to warn her and said he took them down.
Poznek said: ‘I didn’t even have a car. That’s not true.’
Couric writes that she believes that the pedophilia claim came from a photo she once took of Monahan lying on the bed while on a family vacation with Ellie nearby. Monahan had undone the top button of his khakis to ‘give himself room to breathe’.
Poznek allegedly photocopied the image and turned it into fliers which she delivered to the lobby of the apartment they were about to move into, warning residents that a pedophile – meaning Monahan – was about to arrive.
Poznek said she was ‘shocked’ when she read the stories about Couric’s new memoir which were reportedly exclusively on DailyMail.com last week
Poznek called the claim ‘1,000 million times untrue’.
She said that she ‘never saw’ this supposed incident and said: ‘I challenge you to find a picture like that. It’s not in existence’.
The idea she printed up the fliers was ‘not true’, she said.
In 2005 Poznek was accused of doing something similar to another wealthy family in Manhattan who sued her, alleging she ’embarked upon an intentional and malicious campaign to harm, harass and disparage’.
One of the notes was sent to the eight-year-old son of Carol Feinberg, disguised as a child’s party invitation.
According to the lawsuit it read: ‘Why does your mother look like Morticia from the ‘Addams Family?’ and called Feinberg a ‘regal b***h’ who was ‘totally artificial, inside and outside’.
Poznek said it was a ‘fabulous story’ and her lawyers were ‘laughing at that one.’
Poznek said that the claim by Couric that ‘bothers me the most’ was that she might have done something to hurt Ellie.
In the book Couric writes that she hired a retired cop to watch her preschool in case Poznek turned up.
They decided against taking out a restraining order because they didn’t want more publicity and thought that if they ‘starve the beat it’ll slink away, which eventually it did.
Poznek said that you ‘move on’ after one job finishes and that you ‘can’t grieve for the child’ and she would never dream of hurting anyone’s baby.
Poznek told DailyMail.com that she is dreading Couric’s 11-city book tour to promote her book because it will put her back in the spotlight.
She said: ‘When she goes into these auditoriums she’s not going to be embarrassed to talk about it, and on TV?
‘They can’t wait until she comes on and you don’t think they’re going to bring up this delusional nanny?
‘I don’t care if she comes back at me, I’m going to say my piece.
‘Freedom of speech is my right, this isn’t about money’ – Poznek was not paid for this interview – ‘and I am entitled to have my say.’
Neither Katie Couric nor her representative responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.