Barbara Walters' daughter once went missing.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Barbara Walters Once Hired A Green Beret To Track Down Her Daughter After She Ran Away

“He walks in and he said, ‘You’re going out west.’ I mean, what was I going to do? He was huge.”

Back in 1984, Barbara Walters was truly at the top of her game. Her eponymous primetime interview series was arguably one of the most popular shows on television, and everyone in the country knew her name. As a journalist and a television personality, she was unstoppable. But things looked different in her personal life that year. According to an upcoming biography about Walters, her daughter Jacqueline went missing from school in 1985 and the concerned mom hired a Green Beret to track her down like something straight out of a movie.

Walters, who died in 2022 at the age of 93, adopted a daughter named Jacqueline Dena Guber with second husband Lee Guber in 1968 when she was a baby. Jacqueline was Walters’ only child, and according to Susan Page’s upcoming biography The Rulebreaker: The Life & Times of Barbara Walters, struggled to fit in at the elite private school on the Upper East Side of New York that she attended as a teenager. Page writes that Jacqueline was “drinking booze, popping Quaaludes, and smoking pot,” per Page Six, adding that, “At thirteen, she would sneak out of the apartment in fishnet stockings and a miniskirt to party at Studio 54 and return home at four in the morning.” In an effort to turn things around, Walters enrolled her daughter in a residential high school program at the Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles. Jacqueline went missing two weeks after she was enrolled.

“For four frantic days, Barbara had no idea where her teenage daughter had gone,” Page writes in her biography, per Page Six. Jacqueline had run away from school, something she opened up about in a 2002 interview with NBC saying. “I was a runaway. I loved to run. I thought running would solve all my problems.”

Barbara Walters’ daughter Jacqueline once went missing.Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Walters was contacted by someone at the time who told her that her daughter was okay, so she hired a Green Beret to go collect Jacqueline in New Mexico. Jacqueline recalled that meeting in her interview with NBC in 2002: “It’s 3:00 in the morning, I’m sleeping. He walks in and he said, ‘You’re going out west.’ I mean, what was I going to do? He was huge.”

Jacqueline went with him to an intervention program in Idaho, and eventually found her way. She went on to open a wilderness camp for at-risk girls in Maine. And her relationship with her mother found its way as well. “We have come to appreciate each other’s quirks,” Jacqueline told Glamour in 2008. “If my mom wasn’t my mom, I would still want to be her friend. That says a lot. We believe 100 percent in each other, and I think that that’s what love is all about.”

That and a direct line to the Green Berets in an emergency.