Kelly Ripa called out Kathie Lee Gifford for commenting negatively about her new book when the former Live! host never actually read it. In fact, Ripa thinks Gifford wouldn’t actually have a problem with what she said about Regis Philbin.
“I take his side… in most of the chapter,” Ripa declared on Tuesday’s episode of Dear Media’s Not Skinny But Not Fat podcast.
Last week, Gifford said she’s “not gonna read” Ripa’s book Live Wire because of anecdotes the television personality made about Philbin. Gifford, who co-hosted Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee from 1985 to 2000, was “dear friends” with her former co-star up until his death in 2020.
“I was very sorry to see the headlines,” Gifford said on Fox 5’s Good Day New York, adding that she hoped Philbin’s widow, Joy, and his four adult children wouldn’t see what Ripa had to say. “Lord, protect Joy and the girls from this… In all the years I’ve known him, I never saw him unkind to anybody.”
Ripa was surprised to learn what Gifford had to say. The morning show host asked husband Mark Consuelos if there were bad headlines about herself and Philbin she somehow missed — “because I do miss a lot” — but realized “there were none.” Ripa said it was Gifford who ironically “created” the headlines.
“Here’s what I’ve decided. Are you ready? It is really hard to sell a book,” Ripa added. “And this is like week three of the book, right? And I mean, honestly, I’m not gonna lie, I was not reading any headlines anywhere. And suddenly all of these headlines pop up and there’s all of this attention on my book. So I am a person that tends to take a negative and turn it into a positive.”
Ripa continued, “My ultimate comment is, thank you. I mean, it’s like really hard to get attention on a book that’s been out for a couple of weeks and now it’s week two, second week on the New York Times Best Sellers list. It’s like, thank you, because I think that people that read the book will have a very different take on the book!”
When asked if Gifford would have a different take if she read Live Wire, Ripa replied: “I think anybody that reads the book will have a completely different take.”
Ripa called it “a conundrum” whether or not to respond publicly about Gifford.
“Again, I didn’t see the interview, so I tend to, like, not go into deep dives about things I can’t comment on because I haven’t seen them,” Ripa said. “Theoretically, should a person correct the record in real time? Or should they not even, you know, comment on it because here’s the thing — it’s like I talked to the people who read the book. I knew writing a book was going to open me up to all sorts of criticism, right? But people who read the book have a very different take on those chapters because they read the book.”
Ripa called herself “a big free speech person.”
“I think that we should all be able to speak,” she continued. “Nobody has to read every book on earth. And the comments I’ve gotten about those chapters have been overwhelmingly positive and the people who read the book took away a lot of positivity from it. It is ironic that it is that chapter where I talk about what do I do in these situations? Do I advance a media narrative with clickbait and all of that stuff? Or do I just drop it?”
While promoting her book last month, Ripa told Yahoo Entertainment it was “a great privilege” to have worked alongside Philbin, but admitted “it was not an easy working relationship.”
“I take the audience on a journey [in the book] as to what it was like to be there, and how unfair it was for Regis first and foremost because … it was his show and nobody should have a workmate forced upon them,” she shared.
“I make no illusions that there was this friendship [with Regis] that people conjure up — even though … I know that he liked and respected what I did on the air,” Ripa added. “I liked and respected him as well, and the handful of times that we socialized together off-camera were genuinely fun.”
Related video: Kathie Lee Gifford “very sorry to see” Kelly Ripa-Regis Philbin headlines