What did Kelly Ripa say about former co-host Regis Philbin in her book?
Kelly Ripa’s new book is out, and after years of secrecy, many are wondering what her true opinion of Regis Philbin, her former co-host, really was.
In Kelly Ripa’s first and highly anticipated memoir, Live Wire, she describes in detail the series of events that led her to become the co-host of Live! With Regis and Kelly. At the time, Kelly had a reoccurring part on ABC’s Days of Our Lives and was asked to come on the morning program as a guest host after the departure of Kathie Lee.
In the book, Kelly describes Regis as warm, friendly, and willing to go above and beyond for his fans.
When Kelly made her first appearance on the program as a guest host, she noticed how Regis would go and talk to the live audience, taking pictures, signing autographs... really trying to connect with the middle-aged women who had traveled near and far to see him.
Regis’ retirement and its impact on Kelly and the show
Later in the book, Kelly tells her side of the story as it relates to Regis’ departure from the show and the media blitz that took place in the years following.
Kelly was blamed for Regis choosing to leave, even though he had said on the record many times that his decision was motivated by his age. Regis hosted Live! for almost thirty years, beginning in 1983 and retiring in 2011. The news came after Regis and Kelly had celebrated their tenth anniversary as co-hosts and as a surprise to Ripa, who had not been told prior.
What Kelly makes clear is that the reality is very different from what the viewers see on their screens at home. While, on TV, it seemed that Regis and Kelly were best friends, they did not often socialize outside of the show and when Regis left, their interactions became even more limited.
“The few occasions I socialized with Regis outside the office, over the decade we worked together, I truly enjoyed. He was an even better storyteller in person. I think he would have said the same.”
After years of invitations for Regis to come back as a guest host, he finally accepted a Halloween special. Kelly recounted his return fondly, with Regis falling back into his role perfectly.
Regis’ interview with Larry King
The relationship soured slightly after Regis was interviewed by Larry King in 2018.
During the interview, Larry asked, “Do you keep in touch with Kelly Ripa?” to which Regis responded, “Not really, no,” and added that ABC had never invited him back on the program. Kelly knew that while it was true that they did not keep in touch, they had invited him many times, and he had been the one to decline.
To make matters worse, he was then asked if he thought that Kelly took his departure personally, to which he said, “Yeah, I think so.” For Kelly, this interview was, first and foremost, confusing, considering that she had accepted his plans to leave and understood that it was not about her or their relationship on the show.
Ripa writes, that in Regis’ “retelling” of the story of his leaving the show, “I became angry with him, stopped speaking to him, and hadn’t seen him since he left the show.” But for Kelly, there was one “main problem with his story,” and that was “it just wasn’t true!”
After the interview, the media jumped on Kelly, casting her as the villain in the story of the beloved Regis’ exit from the show. This time, Kelly, learning from past experiences, chose to ignore the drama and did not make a public comment because she knew that it would only feed the frenzy.
The inside look provided by Ripa
All in all, Kelly provides a new look not only into her relationship with Regis but the nature of morning television more widely. Regis and Kelly were never really friends, they were colleagues who meant to play the role of friends. For Kelly, they played their part well, and it is clear from her words that she will always be grateful for Regis and all that she has learned at Live!