Arrested and held in captivity in North Korea for 140 days in 2009 — along with Euna Lee, a colleague from the Al Gore-run Current TV — Laura Ling becomes the host and principal correspondent of E! Entertainment Television’s documentary series “E! Investigates” with a probe of teen suicides Wednesday, Dec. 8.
“I do feel like some of the people we interview can relate to me a little bit more,” Ling tells Zap2it after having gathered material in Miami and Cincinnati recently. “With some of these stories, teen suicide in particular, people have gone through their own tragedies. I don’t want to say I didn’t have an appreciation of life before, but I think I have a greater one now. I just value every second I have.”
Pardoned almost five months after she was detained on the allegation of illegally entering North Korea from China, Ling was brought back to the United States (along with Lee) by former President Bill Clinton. She named Li Jefferson, her year-old baby with husband Iain Clayton, after both Clinton and her fellow-journalist sister Lisa Ling.
Familiar from “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “National Geographic Explorer” and ABC’s “The View,” Lisa co-wrote the book “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home” with Laura.
“My sister and I were extremely close before this all happened,” Laura says. “We would speak on the phone about 10 times a day, and now, we see each other every chance we get. She comes over now just to see the baby.
“My daughter has a very wonderful grandmother and an amazing father,” Ling adds of juggling career and first-time parenthood. “E! has allowed me to maintain a pretty good work-and-life balance, but I have been on the road a little bit. Fortunately, I don’t think my baby girl has forgotten me.”