Kathie Lee Giffordappeared to have two sections of her professional career. The first came in the 1980s while she worked alongsideRegis PhilbinonLive With Regis and Kathie Lee. The second started in 2008 when she joinedToday. The time in between her two major career moves is somewhat shrouded in mystery. For years, no one knew why Gifford had stepped away from her wildly successful gig with Philbin. She eventually opened up, revealing that the decision wasn’t about business at all; it was all about family.
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Kathie Lee Gifford leftLive With Regis and Kathie Leeto care for her ailing father
It took years for Gifford to willing discuss why she leftLive with Regis and Kathie Lee. In fact, after her departure, she fell out of the public’s view almost entirely. Apparently, that was by Gifford’s design. She left the show to garner more privacy while she dealt with a family matter.
Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford | Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images fo Greenwich Film Festival 2015
Gifford would have appeared as a guest earlier, but the show’s producer Michael Gelman, reportedly held off. According tothe New York Post, Gifford understood the decision to keep her away from the show. In 2007, shortly before her return as a guest, she told the publication that Gelman and the team behindLive with Regis and Kellywanted to give Kelly Ripa some time to establish herself as Philbin’s co-host.
Since Philbin’s retirement in 2011, Ripa has stayed on and worked with two different co-hosts. Michael Strahan joined the show in 2012 and left to joinGood Morning Americain 2016. In 2017, Ryan Seacrest was announced as Strahan’s replacement. He remains in the role. Philbin died on July 24, 2020, at the age of 88.
Where Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford friends?
Any talk of a feud between Gifford and Philbin in the years after she left their famed show was purely speculation. Some of that speculation was fueled by the private nature of the departure. However, the reality of the situation was that Philbin and Gifford were, reportedly, great friends, even decades after they stopped working together.
Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic
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Philbin and Gifford have both spoken fondly of one another over the years. According toEntertainment Tonight, In a 2015 interview, Philbin revealed he and his wife, Joy Philbin, regularly visited with Gifford and her husband at their home. Following Philbin’s death, Gifford took to Instagram to pay tribute to the Bronx-born Philbin. Gifford’s husband, the famed football player, and sportscaster,Frank Gifford, died in August 2015.