The Kelly Ripa drama has Kathie Lee Gifford standing by her “wonderful buddy” Regis Philbin.

When Regis Philbin passed away in 2020 after a heart attack, Kathie Lee Gifford said she was “grateful” for their decades-long relationship. He was 88

Starting in 1985 on “The Morning Show” and later on “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee,” they were side by side for almost 15 years as two of the finest TV talk show co-hosts in history.

Therefore, it was not surprising that Kathie Lee Gifford had nothing but fond recollections of her time working with Regis Philbin, in contrast to accusations made by Kelly Ripa, who replaced Gifford on the programme in 2001 after she departed the show the year before, about her struggles with the late broadcaster.

Kathie Lee Gifford supports ‘great friend’ Regis Philbin

Kathie Lee Gifford News

I won’t add anything to Kathie Lee Gifford’s account. She owns it. Gifford told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview that the woman could say anything she wanted to. “I have a lot of respect for the right to speak one’s mind. If anything, I don’t think we’re meant to be cancelling anybody. She is entitled to share her account in the manner in which she has come to understand it.

Ripa, a former star on “All My Children,” came under fire earlier this month when portions from her forthcoming biography showed that along with the “wonderful honour” of working with Philbin came the “huge weight” of a less-than-easy working relationship.

What I got to do with Regis was one of the best things in my life, Gifford recalled. I was in his employ for a total of 15 years. There was never an unpleasant word said between us.

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The author of “The God of the Way” said that her motivation for leaving the programme in 2000, when it was at its peak, was to follow her own creative interests.

Before meeting Regis, she had always intended to pursue a career in the arts. “I wanted to be a writer and a singer and an actor like I started off being,” she said. Thankful for the fifteen years I spent with him; however, separation was inevitable.

Sometimes you have to have the bravery to make a radical shift in your life. I left behind the most successful midday show ever, except Oprah. Because I had to, I broke off contact.

Three years after Regis and Kathie Lee Gifford first appeared together on “The Morning Show” in New York City, “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” went into national syndication in September 1988.

Her departure from the show in July of 2000 after years of high ratings. After presenting the show alone for a year while looking for a successor, Regis found his match in Ripa.

I don’t want anybody to take what I say as an attack or an indication of disdain. However, I feel it’s important to stress that it was by no means easy. “It took years to earn my position there and earn things that are regularly handed to the guys I worked with,” Ripa recently told People, revealing the “good and awful days” she experienced with Philbin.

Kathie Lee Gifford supports 'great friend'

Instead, Gifford had a different experience, and that held true even after she had to quit the programme.

Kathie Lee Gifford said, “We were such wonderful pals.” He didn’t agree with it, but he could see why it was necessary. The man cherished me with his heart. In the 20 years that followed, we developed deep friendships.

Kathie Lee Gifford returned to live TV in 2008, co-hosting the fourth hour of “Today” with Hoda Kotb after an eight-year absence.

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She lasted with NBC until April 2019 and won a Daytime Emmy for most educational talk programme host during her tenure there.

Since the beginning of her career, Gifford has been in front of the camera, where she has interviewed every significant star and spoken about the latest and greatest trends and tales. Nonetheless, she thought back on her time spent with Regis before his death in 2020.