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During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that aired on Thursday, the lifestyle mogul was asked about Couric's memoir Going There, in which the former Today anchor wrote that Stewart only developed a sense of humor after she went to jail.
While a disparaging comment like that might have upset someone more sensitive, Stewart told host Andy Cohen she cut Couric some slack for her words.
"Katie's an old friend," Stewart said. "Old friends can say anything they damn well please."
That doesn't mean Stewart didn't react. "I still wrote to her and said, 'What the hell?' " she joked.
"I've always had a sense of humor and I will continue to have a sense of humor," Stewart added. "I think people didn't know me well enough to know whether I had one or not, I guess, but I've always had a great sense of humor."
When Cohen asked Stewart if she was mad at the famous newscaster, Stewart replied, "Eh, life is too short. Not worth it."
In Couric's book, released back in November, the veteran journalist dedicated an entire chapter to Stewart called "Martha, Dear Martha." In it, she recalled an encounter the two had in 1996 when Couric presented Stewart with a Matrix award, an annual honor given out by the Association for Women in Communication.
At the time, Couric wrote, the "so-called mommy wars" were in full effect and she had "become a very public face of the opposite — a working woman trying to keep it all together, joking on-air about sometimes falling short. In other words, not Martha Stewart."
Admittedly not close with Stewart, and therefore unable to provide "personal anecdotes," Couric instead penned a poem poking fun at Stewart, claiming to be just as skilled as the domestic goddess and teasing, "bruschetta, pancetta's not all you can do."
"I hadn't set out to write a treatise on the escalating mommy wars, but the poem subversively nailed where a lot of us were back then and what we were anxious about," Couric wrote, explaining that the room of working women received the two-page poem with laughter and applause.
"I felt like the applause in the room was driven by a sense of recognition. Martha, however, seemed a little miffed," Couric said, recalling how Stewart then turned to her and asked, "Would you know what pancetta was if it weren't for me? Would you know what bruschetta was if it weren't for me?"
"It took a few years and some prison time for Martha to develop a sense of humor," Couric added.
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Stewart spent a five-month stint at West Virginia's Alderson Federal Prison Camp in 2004, for lying about the sale of a stock.
"It was horrifying," Stewart told Couric in a 2014 episode of Couric's self-titled podcast. "No one, no one, should have to go through that kind of indignity really except for murderers, and there are a few other categories, but no one should have to go through that. It's a very, very awful thing."
Asked whether it was a growth experience for her, even years later, Stewart said no.
"[Did I feel] that 'you can make lemons out of lemonade' and 'what hurts you makes you stronger'? No. None of those adages fit at all," Stewart insisted. "It's a horrible experience, nothing is good about it, nothing."
The home cook also credited her negative experience to "being taken away from your family, being maligned, and being treated the way you were treated," she said. "It's horrible and especially when one does not feel one deserves such a thing."
"One thing I do not ever want is to be identified or I don't want that to be the major thing of my life," Stewart said. "It's just not fair. It's not a good experience and it doesn't make you stronger. I was a strong person to start with and thank heavens I was and I can still hold my head up high and know that I'm fine."
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen airs Sundays-Thursday evenings on Bravo.