Conan O’Brien gave his first interview since leaving NBC on tonight’s “60 Minutes,” speaking openly about the polarizing late-night debacle while minding his contractual obligation not to disparage NBC.

Sporting the scruffy red beard he started growing the day after walking away from “The Tonight Show,” O’Brien discussed the emotional strain of a network he had worked at most of his adult life. “I got very depressed at times,” he admitted. “It was like a marriage breaking up suddenly, violently, quickly.”

O’Brien commented on the rift with NBC. “It just felt like the tone went very quickly from, ‘Take your time, we understand this is a tough decision,’ to, ‘Let’s go.'” After a while he said the relationship “started to get toxic” and he was “not sure they even want[ed] me.” It was then he made the decision to leave.

In a separate interview with “60 Minutes,” O’Brien’s wife Liza Powell described her husband’s reaction to the late night catastrophe as “watching someone’s heart getting broken.”

O’Brien made sure to add that he “started to feel better almost immediately” after embarking upon his national “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.” In addition to the tour that wraps up in June, O’Brien has started working on a new late night show on TBS that is expected to debut this November.

When “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft asked O’Brien about his feelings toward Jay Leno, Conan joked that he needed to consult a copy of the non-disparagement agreement he keeps in his wallet before commenting.

(Source: CBS-TV and

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