“Mark and I owe everything we have in our professional lives to ABC. We met there at the beginning of our careers and got married and had our kids while there,” the morning show host, 52, exclusively tells Us Weekly, referring to sons Michael, 25, and Joaquin, 19, and daughter Lola, 21, whom she shares with Consuelos, 51.
The Daytime Emmy winner adds: “So many wonderful moments have happened while with ABC, so it only makes sense for us to come full circle and work together once again for the show that has given us so much joy and so many years of memories.”
Ripa met the Riverdale actor in 1995 when they both appeared on the ABC soap opera All My Children. They eloped one year later — and their love for one another has only gotten stronger in the decades since.
“I’m crazy about her,” Consuelos gushed to Us in 2019. “She’s an extremely patient and a tolerant woman, and I think that’s the true secret to our marriage.”
Us confirmed earlier this month that Ryan Seacrest was stepping down as Ripa’s cohost after nearly six years on Live With Kelly and Ryan. The radio personality, 48, addressed his exit on the Thursday, February 16, episode of the syndicated talk show.
“Working alongside Kelly over the past six years has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career. She has been an amazing partner, friend, and confidant, and although we will always be a part of each other’s lives, I will miss our mornings together,” the American Idol host noted in a statement. “I also want to thank Michael Gelman and the entire staff and crew. … It’s been a memorable ride and now I’m excited to pass the baton to Kelly’s ‘real’ husband, Mark.”
Ripa, for her part, said in a statement of her own that she would “miss starting [her] days” with Seacrest. “Ryan’s energy, passion and love for entertainment is one-of-a-kind,” she added.
Consuelos, meanwhile, joined his wife and Seacrest during the Friday, February 17, episode of Live to further discuss the show’s future. “I consider this a safe place. To be honest, sometimes I wait if I have a little something I want to get off my chest, like, ‘You know, this thing I want to talk about,'” he teased. “I’ve done it here [when I’ve been a guest host] because I’m safe, what could possibly go happen?”
Seacrest went on to praise the incoming emcee, gushing on the air: “I just do want to say, you are a brother to me. You are a family member to me. I have become so close with both of you and … I couldn’t be happier to see you come in and be next to your wife every day, who we both know is the most amazing human being on the planet.”
The Pitch alum echoed Seacrest’s kind words. “You’re a true friend. You’re generous to my wife, to my whole family,” he said on Friday. “I got to meet your family through [this], which I love your parents, your niece and your sister and brother-in-law. And that chair, listen, that chair that you’re sitting in, it’s an iconic seat. It’s a great honor for me to sit there. It’s an iconic show, and I think it’s going to be a blast.”
For more on Live‘s transition, watch the video above and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.