At least one thing is going back to normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. CNBC anchor Melissa Lee returned to her financial stock trading talk show, Fast Money, on April 20 after a lengthy hiatus — but what exactly caused the 45-year-old to be MIA for four months?
What happened to Melissa Lee on CNBC?
The reporter was on maternity leave after giving birth to twins! It’s unclear when Melissa and her husband, Ben Kallo, actually welcomed their son and daughter (whose names have not been released), but according to a baby registry on buybuyBABY.com, the twins’ due date was Dec. 28.
Melissa’s final show before her babies’ arrival was on Dec. 3, but she checked in with fans via Twitter on March 25. "For those who have asked — I’ve been kinda busy with these little ones the past few months," she wrote alongside a picture of her kids in a double stroller. "I’ll be back on [Power Lunch] and [Fast Money] next month!"
It looks like the twins’ childhood won’t be that different from her own. Melissa was raised in Great Neck, N.Y., which she called a "great place" to grow up. "It was your typical suburb with amazing schools and proximity to all of what New York City has to offer," the journalist told Asia Society in 2015.
But, Melissa added, life in the affluent Long Island community wasn’t a cakewalk. "There were not many Asians, let alone minorities, in Great Neck at the time and the emphasis was on just trying to fit in," she explained.
"I went to Chinese school on the weekends, but my parents really wanted my sister, brother, and me to assimilate, which was common at the time. The downside of this: my Chinese is virtually non-existent," Melissa admitted. "The upside: I feel like I can adapt to many different environments and relate to all sorts of people."
Despite feeling somewhat disconnected from her roots, Melissa noted that she’s always been inspired by her grandparents, who emigrated from China to start a laundry business in the U.S.
"They believed in being here. They believed that by making those sacrifices, their children would have a better life," she told Asiance Magazine. "And to think that… one generation later, that I can be on TV talking about the U.S. stock market, talking about how you can make money… it’s absolutely thrilling to me."
Melissa’s daily routine is no longer as regimented as it used to be.
Back in 2017, the Harvard grad was on the air for at least three hours a day, which meant she relied heavily on a very detailed schedule. "At any given moment of the day, I can tell you precisely what I’m doing — which is frightening, but the only way to do it with the limited time we have!" Melissa said in an interview with Benzinga.
"Basically my mission when I first wake up is to get a sense of what’s going on right now and what could be the big stories of the day," she shared. It's safe to say that having kids changes all that!
CNBC’s Fast Money airs Monday-Friday at 5 p.m. ET.