It may surprise some to learn that former Today host Kathie Lee Gifford feuded with several fellow celebrities over the years. Gifford, according to tabloid rumors, allegedly fought with current Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host Kelly Ripa after the passing of Regis Philbin. One of the feuds, which involved shock-jock Howard Stern, lasted for about 30 years. There have also been allegations that the reason for Gifford’s sudden departure from her popular morning show had something to do with her longtime co-host, Hoda Kotb.
She Supposedly Fought With Kelly Ripa After Regis Philbin’s Death
In 2000, Kathie Lee Gifford announced she’d be leaving the Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. A year-long search for a new co-host soon began and eventually Kelly Ripa was selected as Gifford’s replacement. After Philbin’s passing earlier this summer, Star reported that Ripa and Gifford were finally unleashing a decade’s worth of bad blood.
The magazine quoted an anonymous “insider” who claimed that Ripa’s treatment of Philbin after he left the show, as well as Ripa’s resentment towards Gifford, were behind the TV personalities’ rift. The so-called “insider” claimed, “Kelly turned her back on Regis after he left the show, and Kathie Lee’s well aware of that.” Ripa, meanwhile, was allegedly jealous of her predecessor because Ripa “could never really compete with the bond Kathie Lee had with Regis, and Kelly still resents her for it.”
Ripa was so antagonistic towards Gifford, she’d even banned Gifford “from the set and had all of her photos removed backstage.” Gossip Cop noted at the time that it seemed unlikely that Ripa, who would have only been on the show a year during the time period the tabloid indicated, would have the pull to make such a decision. It would have been especially unpopular with Philbin, who made clear time and again how fond he was of Gifford.
Further disproving the story were the comments Ripa made following the news of Regis Philbin’s death. While responding on air to the terrible news, Ripa mentioned that the first person she thought of after Philbin’s family was Kathie Lee Gifford, who’d spent a large chunk of her professional life working almost every day with the daytime giant.
More Rumors About Kelly Ripa And Regis Philbin
The rumors about Ripa’s relationship with her recently departed former co-host didn’t stop there. Ripa was also reportedly not invited to Philbin’s funeral, according to an article by the National Enquirer. Ripa was supposedly “plagued” with regrets that she “never made peace” with Philbin before his death, an unverified tipster told the outlet.
“Kelly is notoriously stubborn and holds a grudge like no one else. Once she feels slighted, Kelly cuts people off for life. Now it is too late for her to reach out to Regis and show a little kindness,” the source continued. Gossip Cop was skeptical of this tall tale, so we reached out to our mutual friend with Ripa to get to the bottom of this rumor. We were informed that there was no truth to it whatsoever.
Additionally, Ripa spoke warmly of her former co-host while filming a special to honor Regis Philbin’s life and works. “I think my biggest takeaway from the 11 years that I shared with him was that you have to be yourself. You cannot be one person on camera and a different person once the light goes off or the audience is gone,” the former soap opera actress revealed. That doesn’t exactly sound like a woman holding a grudge against Philbin. That’s why Gossip Cop determined the rumor was entirely false.
Kathie Lee Gifford And Howard Stern’s Famous Feud
Kathie Lee Gifford’s most famous feud is probably the most one-sided feud in history. Howard Stern, who made a name for himself as a shock jock by espousing controversial views and no-holds-barred opinions, spent almost 30 years just plain eviscerating Gifford on his radio show. For years, Gifford was an easy punching bag for Stern, though she never fought him back on any of the hurtful things he said about her.
After news broke that Giffords now deceased husband Frank Gifford had an affair with a former stewardess, Stern laid into the talk show host. Gifford’s children weren’t off limits for Stern, either, and he seemed to enjoy making jokes and cruel comments at their expense. Similarly, any business scandals Gifford was involved in, like the sweatshop scandal surrounding her clothing line, became a tool for Stern to use against her.
Stern once said of Gifford on his show, via the New York Post, “She has this phony-baloney quality and Pollyanna attitude that I just don’t buy … The only reason I tune in every so often is because I want to have sex with her.” After Stern announced that he was separating from his wife, Alison, in 1999, Gifford wrote the radio host a letter expressing her condolences for the split and expressing well wishes for him in the future.
Though a spokesman for Gifford later revealed that the letter was meant to be “a personal note to Howard from Kathie Lee” and never meant to be read on air, that’s exactly what Stern did. He even added scathing commentary to the objectively kind message of the letter. “She thought this was her peace offering, but she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with,” Stern said, adding, “I’m a lunatic.” Portions of the letter read, “Dear Howard, I was very sorry to hear the news that you and your wife have separated. It’s hard to know what to say, except to share what has worked in my own life, time and time again.”
In response, Stern said of the note, and Gifford, “Come on, honey, get off the high horse and be human for once. It’s insincere. It’s ridiculous.” Though Stern was very open about the hostility he felt towards Gifford, she never spoke publicly about him, at least until the feud was put to an end once and for all.
Finally Ending The Feud
In 2018, while dishing about Taylor Swift’s feud with Katy Perry on the Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford revealed to Jenna Hager Bush that she’d recently squashed a feud of her own. “Howard Stern had a feud with me going on 30 years. I never met him. I never listened to his show. He hated my guts for 30 years. Hated my husband, hated my children. Hated everything I stood for,” Gifford explained on-air, via People.
One day, while Stern was visiting Today to promote America’s Got Talent, Gifford said she felt a spiritual push to go and speak with Stern. She approached the radio host and said, “Howard, Howard, I’m Kathie Lee. I thought it was time I say hello. I want to wish you the very best with your show.” Gifford recalled that Stern seemed to be “flabbergasted” as she was leaving.
Soon afterwards, Stern personally reached out to Gifford and asked her to forgive him. Gifford said the two had a long conversation, during which Stern reportedly said, “Will you forgive me, Kathie, please? I’m doing some hard work on my life. I know I hurt you. I’m so sorry and I need to ask you to forgive me.” Gifford, who seems to always stick to the high road, responded, “First of all, Howard, I’m so happy for you. You’re doing the work you need to do. That’s important for you to do. And you need to know I forgave you 30 years ago, and I’ve been praying for you every single day since, and I still do.”
The two have since buried the hatchet. It seems amazing that after enduring borderline harassment for decades, Gifford would be so quick to forgive. It makes the other rumors about her so-called “feuds” seem totally unrealistic, which brings us to the rumors surrounding Gifford’s relationship with her longtime Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda co-host Hoda Kotb.
Everyone Thought She Had It Out For Hoda Kotb
When Kathie Lee Gifford announced she was leaving the Today Show after 11 years on the air, some speculated wildly about the reason for her departure. The often wrong National Enquirer published an article a few months before Gifford made her announcement that claimed she and Kotb had “been at each other’s throats” ever since Kotb scored a promotion to Today anchor, replacing embattled anchor Matt Lauer.
A so-called “witness” told the tabloid, “There’s been no end to their bickering,” adding, “Kathie Lee believes Hoda saw an opportunity for power in Matt Lauer’s former post and dumped her!” Leave it to a publication as shady as the Enquirer to make up such a nonsensical story. Gifford, who was able to forgive Howard Stern for cruelly picking her apart for three decades, is unable to get past the fact that her co-worker of many years received a promotion? It simply doesn’t fit her personality.
Besides, Gifford has gone on to be incredibly kind towards Kotb. During her final episode, via Vanity Fair, Gifford credited her friendship with Kotb as one of the reasons for the success of the show. “Because we have fun. Because we have a friendship, and it’s real,” Gifford explained. Kotb was similarly complimentary of Gifford. After Gifford asked Kotb to pinpoint what made their hour of Today work so well, Kotb instantly answered, “I think it’s because of you.”
Clearly Kathie Lee Gifford is not the type of person to engage in feuds, even if someone is trying desperately to make her through targeted abuse. Despite the best efforts of the tabloids, and some of her fellow celebrities, Gifford continually rises above the fray. Perhaps that’s one of the many reasons why Gifford has enjoyed so much success and popularity over the course of her career.