By Aly Semigran
Updated October 26, 2011 at 06:50 PM EDT

What caused Glenn Beck to cry on Today this morning? Did someone make Beck sit in a drum circle at the Occupy Wall Street movement? Or did someone buy him an Obama 2012 bumper sticker for his car? Nope, it’s neither of those things.

Rather, during a taped interview with Kathie Lee Gifford, the former Fox News commentator got emotional talking about the his own difficult childhood, which he drew inspiration from for his latest fiction book The Snow Angel. Among other things, Gifford and Beck discussed his mother’s death, a possible suicide, and why he and his family didn’t talk about it for a long time. “When you live in an alcoholic family or an abusive family, you tiptoe, you don’t want to step on any mines,” Beck said.

But when Beck tried to talk about the abuse (“My father told me abuse is generational”), the political pundit — who now runs his own pay-per online network GBTV — broke down and cried. “Now The Today Show is going to make fun of me again,” he said, wiping away tears.

While Beck said he had no regrets about leaving Fox behind, when asked if being one of the most hated figures in entertainment (Lee referred to Beck having a team of bodyguards to protect him) has been worth it, he got emotional again. “I don’t know,” he replied, “I wouldn’t want to be my kids, I wouldn’t want to be my wife.” Watch the full interview below:

Did Kathie Lee’s interview with Glenn Beck on Today put him in a new light for you, PopWatchers? Did he convince you that he is, as he put it, “much more than the cartoon”? Or is it just too tough for you to have any compassion for the guy? Share in the comments section below.

Read more: