No matter how old Kelly Ripa gets, she’ll always have one tool for making her feel forever young – hunky husband Mark Consuelos.
As the “Live With Kelly and Ryan” host marks her 50th birthday on Friday, she dished to ET Canada on the way ageing has changed her priorities, how she feels about her youngest child heading to college and Consuelos’ special knack for making her feel eternally youthful.
“We’ve been together a long time, but all Mark has to do is look at me [and I] feel so special, so pretty and so young,” Ripa said, in-between proofing their 17-year-old son Joaquin’s college application essays. “It’s probably his superpower. He knows how to treat his spouse like the only person in the world. He’s got the best smile I’ve ever seen, so when he smiles it’s like the sun’s shining on you.”
“And, he’s an incredible father,” Ripa continued about 49-year-old Consuelos, who’s in Vancouver, filming “Riverdale”. “He’s so far away, but so present in our lives. He’s got this magic ability to be present and part of everything, so I feel very fortunate. I’m very lucky!”
After 25 years together, it’s a good thing the couple sound more in love than ever, given that soon it will be just the two of them at home in New York. Eldest son Michael, 23, and 19-year-old daughter, Lola have flocked the nest and Joaquin is next, with Ripa currently taking online college tours with him.
If she does feel any pangs of empty nest syndrome, Ripa thinks of her own parents.
“I’ve seen what my parents and Mark’s parents have done by raising us, letting us go and letting us flourish,” she explained. “Do I miss having them as babies? Of course. But I have so many friends with babies now, so I get to relive that through them. And, just because somebody grows and moves out, it doesn’t mean they’re not still your child and you’re not still connected or close. My kids come home all the time. Not as much as I’d like, but they come – especially when they need something!”
While some parents may be extra anxious about their kids living away from home during the coronavirus pandemic, Ripa’s confident the trio have “good heads on their shoulders” which will keep them safe.
“They’re practical, conscientious, altruistic, hard-working, and also risk-averse and cautious,” she said. “They know how to protect themselves and don’t take unnecessary chances with their health, which makes me worry less. They’re good at resisting the urge to act wild and have a fun night out when that could lead to deadly consequences.”
The pandemic means Ripa herself won’t be having a wild night out for her 50th, with Friday more likely to be spent with her kids, “which is all I’ve ever wanted anyway.” In fact, she only remembered the occasion after co-host Ryan Seacrest mentioned “someone” had a big birthday coming up – Ripa at first thinking she’d forgotten Seacrest’s birthday, before realizing he meant hers.
Such milestones don’t faze her and she instead sees ageing as a blessing.
“The only time I ever paused [about] a birthday was when I turned 30,” said the former “All My Children” star. “I was married and had a child, but went, ‘Oh. I have to be a grown-up now because I’m 30.’ But I don’t mind ageing. What’s the alternative – not turning 50? The older I get, the wiser I get. It’s a blessing to turn 50 and I’m sure I’ll feel the same way at 60, 70 and 80, God willing!”
While she may not fear ageing, Ripa’s approach to health and fitness has changed in recent years. It’s something which has become apparent while out running recently.
“I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I’m not as worried about hitting my miles or a certain pace,” said Ripa, who’s also keeping fit during the pandemic with online classes. “The older I get, certain aspects of my life I’m not so rigorous about and certain aspects I’m more regimented about. The fitness aspect, I’m less hard on myself and the nutritional aspect I’m more regimented.”
When it comes to nutrition and wellness, Ripa once again looks to her parents (Esther, 79, and Joseph, 81) who “look incredible.”
“Looking at my parents, there’s something to be said for living well, exercising daily, eating right and taking nutritional supplements. There’s science behind it,” she said. “I always understood the exercise part – up until the pandemic, I went to dance class every day. And, I’ve always eaten very clean, but I was missing the supplemental part.”
Partnering with Persona Nutrition, a science-based company which customizes an individual’s vitamin and supplements plan to their specific health needs based on a free online assessment, Ripa has greatly-enhanced her health with supplements including peppermint, which has helped digestive issues resulting from the large amount of raw fruit and vegetables in her vegetarian diet. She also believes her CBD supplement has cured her insomnia.
“I no longer have indigestion, I don’t wake up feeling sluggish and I don’t have difficulty sleeping the way I used to as a lifelong insomniac,” she said. “I’m the only person I know sleeping, in an uninterrupted way, during the pandemic!”
With her general health and fitness in great shape, Ripa’s also conscious of maintaining mental wellness. She admits that has been a struggle during the pandemic and is benefiting from guests on “Live With Kelly and Ryan”.
“We’ve been having therapists on our show teaching people mindfulness and giving tips on how to be present, meditate or breathe in a way that lowers blood pressure,” she said. “Therapy is great – I can’t say it enough!”
“Turning off your phone’s also important because now we’re all reachable 24-hours-a-day and I don’t think we were meant to be that way,” she added. “Sometimes you have to unplug and dial-in with loved ones. I’m also a big reader. I read everything all the time! It’s one of my passions and how I destress.”
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