Kathie Lee Gifford is choosing not to read Kelly Ripa’s new autobiographical book Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories, which includes a chapter on their former mutual co-host Regis Philbin. The TV personality prefers to cherish her own positive memories of the late broadcaster, as opposed to Ripa, who claims she had difficulties with Philbin.
“I’m not gonna read the book. I haven’t read it. I don’t even know if it’s out yet,” Gifford admitted during her appearance on Monday’s “Good Day New York”. “I just know what Regis was to me. He was, for 15 years, the best partner a person could ever, ever have professionally, but he was my friend.”
Gifford previously co-hosted New York’s “The Morning Show” with Philbin since 1985 until they landed their own national talk show “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee”, which ran from 1988 until her exit in 2000. One year later, Ripa joined the rebooted show as Philbin’s new onscreen partner.
“We were dear friends and after I left the show, for the next 20 years, we became better friends, dearer friends,” Gifford continued. “I saw him two weeks before he died and the minute I found out he had passed, I got in my car and drove to their house.”
The Emmy Award winner shared that she “was very sorry” to read headlines about Ripa’s book in which the former “All My Children” actress recounted tensions behind the scenes with Philbin. Recalling her reaction to the headlines, Gifford said, “I saw that and I went, ‘Oh, I hope this isn’t true.’ I just hope it isn’t, because what’s the point? I don’t get it.”
“In all the years I knew him, I never saw him unkind to anyone. I never did. If he liked you, he teased you,” she added.
The 69-year-old TV star saw Philbin two weeks before he died in July 2020, noting that they “always just picked up right where we left off.”
“We were frick and frack, we were the odd couple. We were absolutely perfect together for television. We never had an argument, not an unkind word in 15 years, so that was my reality,” she said.
Gifford concluded by throwing a subtle jab at Ripa, noting that she’s “not going to say anything ugly about anybody”: “I never have and I’m not going to start now.”
Speaking to Fox News, Gifford told the outlet that her time with Philbin was “one of the greatest experiences of my entire life.” She provided an additional comment about the last time she saw her dear friend.
“His wife told me that that’s the last time she ever heard him laugh, and I treasure that,” Gifford said of Philbin’s wife Joy.
“I’m not going to comment on Kelly’s story. It’s hers. She can say whatever she wants,” the former on-air personality told Fox News Digital. “I’m a big believer in freedom of expression. I don’t believe we’re supposed to cancel anybody. She has the right to tell her story as she remembers it.”
Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories is now available.