“I was very sorry to see the headlines,” the 69-year-old TV icon — who helmed Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee for more than a decade until her departure in 2000 (and Ripa’s takeover in 2001) — began in a Monday, October 10 interview with Fox 5’s Rosanna Scotto.
Gifford continued: “You know, you never know what’s true and what’s not true. I went, ‘I hope this isn’t true. I just hope it isn’t.’ ‘Cause what’s the point? I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”
Amid the remarks, an industry insider tells Us Weekly: “It’s sad but ironic that by commenting about a book she hasn’t read, Kathie Lee will ensure this number one bestseller will actually be read by even more people.”
The 52-year-old All My Children alum, who cohosted Live! With Regis and Kelly with Philbin from 2001 to 2011, got candid in her book, Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories, about her relationship with the late Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host, who died in July 2020 at age 88.
While the two weren’t super close in real life — Ripa called the idea “a basic misconception” — actress also revealed there was a power struggle.
”My name had to be smaller than Regis’ name on the Live! title card and branding. A game of inches, which speaks for itself. But on that we agreed. Seniority, after all,” Ripa penned in the book, noting that “seniority” soon turned into an “elusive” term never used in reference to her experience.
As Gifford told 64-year-old Scotto, “I’m not gonna read the book. I haven’t read it. I don’t even know if it’s out yet.”
“I just know what Regis was to me, Rosanna,” she continued. “He was 15 years the best partner I could ever have professionally. But he was my friend. We were dear friends and after I left the show … for the next 20 years we became better friends. Dearer friends.”
Gifford elaborated on the special relationship she shared with her late cohost, adding that she saw him two weeks before his death in July 2020.
“‘That’s the last time I heard Regis laugh,’” Gifford recalled the late star’s widow, Joy Philbin, telling her about their final lunch together.
The TV producer also hoped that Joy — and Regis’ four grown children — wouldn’t have to see Ripa’s comments.
“Lord, protect Joy and the girls from this,” Gifford shared on the show. (Regis shared daughter Amy and son Daniel with ex-wife Catherine Faylen and daughters Joanna and J.J. with Joy.)
“In all the years I’ve known him, I never saw him unkind to anyone. I never did,” Gifford emphasized about her relationship with the late television icon. “I’m just saying my reality is something completely different from that.”