During an on-air discussion of Katy Perry offering an olive branch to end her long-running feud with Taylor Swift, “Today” host Kathie Lee Gifford revealed how she ended her own decades-long feud with Howard Stern.
As longtime listeners of Stern’s radio show will recall, Stern viciously bashed Gifford on a regular (he once called her “the world’s dumbest person”), gleefully joked about her late husband Frank Gifford’s cheating scandal and played her albums on the air so he could goof on them.
As Gifford, 64, told Jenna Bush Hager on Thursday’s “Today” show, she decided to put an end to the decades of mockery by confronting Stern directly during a chance encounter.
“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.
“And one day, right here, I was up in the makeup room and all of a sudden he’s here to announce ‘America’s Got Talent’,” she continued. “I just feel the Lord saying very clearly to me, ‘Go down and say hello to Howard.’ I’m standing right here, he’s 6’ 6” and I’m 5’ 5” with flat shoes and I go, ‘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.’ And I left. He was really flabbergasted.”
Gifford recalled being flabbergasted herself when Stern, who is also 64, offered an uncharacteristic response. “There’s a message from him, a voicemail. ‘I was blown away and will you call me?’ He calls again during dinner, we had a half-hour conversation,” continued Gifford, recalling that Stern asked her, “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.”
As Gifford recalled, she told Stern, “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.”
She added: “I now know the meaning of when pigs fly. That one took 30 years.”