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Illustration by Chloe Cushman

What I’ve learned: Abby Huntsman

The rising media star’s decision to start over offers a lesson in gratitude and growth

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When Abby Huntsman left “The View” to move back to Utah in January 2020, it may not have seemed like she was on her way to bigger and better things.

Who is Abby Huntsman?

Abby Huntsman, daughter of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and granddaughter to billionaire businessman Jon Huntsman Sr., was a rising media star. But after getting a taste of her dream job atThe View” — with celebrities, bright lights and unending demands for her attention — Huntsman wanted out.

Where is Abby Huntsman going?

A chance to work on her father’s gubernatorial campaign in her home state of Utah was a ticket away from the city. With her husband and three children (all under the age of four) in tow, Huntsman made the trip back west. But instead of a celebratory homecoming, the year left her family recovering from the coronavirus disease and a defeat in her father’s bid for governor.

Here’s what she learned through it all. 

About family:

Our whole family was under one roof for a couple months during the campaign — except for my two brothers, who are in the military. We all got sick with COVID-19. I look at my family and everyone is so different — in terms of personalities, careers and even religion. But we would always rally around who was having a tough day and help them. That’s what family is for in tough times.

About losing:

The loss was hard on all of us. My dad is the most resilient in our family. When we were all sad, he said, “We are going to be fine. This is the career I got into, and we’re going to keep fighting.” I woke up many days being frustrated and not understanding. But every day I would do that, I thought, “I’m wasting a day here.” You can’t look back with regrets. You just have to be grateful for the opportunity. 

About being moderate:

I’ve never felt more down the middle and a little lost politically — and there are a lot of people who feel the same way. My advice for people who are feeling anxious is turn off the TV and just be present with whoever’s in the room with you. 

About motherhood:

Isabel is 3 and the twins are turning 2 in June. They recently started running around, which is a blessing and a curse. I feel like I don’t have enough hands! I’ve had to learn a lot of patience. Sometimes, you just have to chill out and realize things are going to be OK. It’s so magical to see the world through their eyes. My kids can be mesmerized by a flower or a stick. They find joy in the smallest things, and you realize how quickly we lose that.

About adaptability:

This year, I quit my job, we lost the campaign, I got COVID-19. You can check the list of how many things didn’t go as planned. But I honestly wouldn’t change it. I think it teaches you resilience. If you never experience failure, you don’t know what it feels like to really succeed. 

About careers:

Career needs to be something that makes you happy when you wake up in the morning. A year ago, people would say, “You have it all,” and on paper, I did. I went from living in New York and working at “The View” to doing laundry and wiping mac ’n’ cheese off the floor every day. It’s the opposite of where I thought I would be, but I’ve never felt more sure about what living a happy life means. Now, I am so engaged with my kids and myself. I can actually hear the birds chirping. In New York, there were so many days where I’d be rushing to work, checking Twitter, calling the nanny, studying up for the show and just running on that treadmill. Birds never crossed my mind. 

“If you never experience failure, you don’t know what it feels like to really succeed.”

About what’s most important:

The coronavirus put everything into perspective. Now, we are so thankful for health. Family and health are more important than any job. While this year has been the hardest of our lives, it has also been the most fulfilling. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

This story appears in the January/February issue of Deseret MagazineLearn more about how to subscribe.