In an Instant
Fifteen years ago, the Woodruff’s seemed to have it all. But when Bob’s armored vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq, life changed in an instant.
Bob was reporting on the transfer of power between U.S. and Iraqi security forces for ABC’s “World News Tonight,” Jan. 29, 2006, when he sustained his life-threatening traumatic brain injury. Lee was on vacation with their children when she received the call — and was soon thrust into the role of caregiver. Thanks to the quick actions of brave soldiers, medics, and military medical professionals, Bob’s life was saved. Within a few days, he was brought to the Naval Hospital at Bethesda, Md.
In this compelling and inspirational account, Woodruff discusses how his and Lee’s lives came together, were blown apart, and then were miraculously put together again–and how they persevered, with grit but also with humor, through intense trauma and fear. It is a story about coping with tragedy–and an extraordinary drama of marriage, family, war, and nation.
Bob Woodruff speaks on resilience, service, and giving back
Renowned ABC News Anchor and Correspondent BOB WOODRUFF shares his life pre and post Iraq with audiences, detailing how the Bob Woodruff Foundation helps injured service members, veterans, and their families.
Woodruff knows the difficulties that come with injuries for service members and veterans all too well. On January 29, 2006, while reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq. He opens up about the intense trauma and the resilience he and his family found to persevere through the uncertainty during that time in an inspirational discussion that impacts audiences long after his talk is finished.
Bob Woodruff joined ABC News in 1996 and has covered major stories throughout the country and around the world for the network. He succeeded Peter Jennings as anchor of ABC World News Tonight in December 2005. On January 29, 2006, while reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq.
In February 2007, just 13 months after being wounded, Woodruff returned to ABC News with his first on-air report, “To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports.” The hour-long, prime-time documentary chronicled his traumatic brain injury (TBI), his painstaking recovery and the plight of thousands of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with similar injuries.
Since returning to the air, Woodruff has reported from around the globe. He has traveled to North Korea eight times, investigating the growing nuclear threats in the hands of Kim Jong Il and then his son Kim Jong Un. Since 2015, Woodruff has been ABC’s primary correspondent throughout Asia, especially China, reporting on topics ranging from the controversial treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang province to the United States’ presence in the South China Sea. In 2008, ABC News aired his critically acclaimed documentary “China Inside Out,” which examined how China’s global rise impacts what’s being called the “Chinese Century.” On the streets of Manila, he has seen the rising violence and murders following President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug policies. He traveled to Japan in the wake of the devastating natural disasters to report on the stabilization of nuclear reactors in the country.
During an August 2008 exclusive interview on Nightline, former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards admitted that he had repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a campaign employee. In 2011, Woodruff covered the trial of John Edwards, who was accused and ultimately found not guilty of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws.
Previously, Woodruff was anchor of the weekend edition of World News Tonight and one of ABC News’ top correspondents. Before moving to New York in 2002, Woodruff worked out of ABC News’ London bureau, covering conflicts throughout Europe and Africa; as well as adventures with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, traveling extensively with the young members of the royal family.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, he was among the first Western reporters into Pakistan and was one of ABC’s lead foreign correspondents during the war in Afghanistan, reporting from Kabul and Kandahar on the fall of the Taliban. His overseas reporting of the fallout from 9/11 was part of ABC News’ coverage recognized with the Alfred I. duPont Award and the George Foster Peabody Award, the two highest honors in broadcast journalism. He was also a part of the ABC News team recognized with a duPont Award for live coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. For his extensive coverage of traumatic brain injuries, he was honored with another George Foster Peabody Award. He has garnered six Emmy® Awards, his most recent resulting from his reports about the brutal treatment of the Rohingya ethnic group by the government of Myanmar.
Before becoming a journalist, Woodruff was an attorney. While teaching law in Beijing in 1989, he was hired by CBS News to work as a translator during the Tiananmen Square uprising. A short time later, he changed careers. As ABC's Justice Department correspondent in Washington in the late 1990s, he covered the office of Attorney General Janet Reno, the FBI and ATF.
Woodruff and his wife, Lee, co-wrote a bestselling memoir, In an Instant, chronicling his injuries in Iraq and how their family persevered through a time of intense trauma and uncertainty. The Woodruff family established the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to raise money to assist injured service members, veterans and their families.
Woodruff has a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University. He and Lee have four children.