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Kathie Lee Gifford Makes Sacrifices For Kids

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Jun. 8 2009, Published 3:02 p.m. ET

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Kathie Lee Gifford is truly a supermom.

How does she maintain the work-life balance between her Today show gig, marriage to Frank Gifford, 78, and being a mom to Cody, 19, and Cassidy, 15?

“Usually not very well at all,” the talk-show veteran, 55, laughs. “Oh, you know, I think if you always make your family your first priority, everything else will fall into place.”

She tells me, “I was asked to do Broadway years ago when my daughter was one-year-old. And I had to say ‘no’ to Mary PoppinsJulie Andrews herself. I said ‘my daughter’s one. She’ll only be one for one year, and I’ll never have this time again.’ And she answered me in the most beautiful, proper English accent. She said theatrics ‘Kathie, you know I had to make those same decisions when my children were little. You’ll never regret putting your children first. You’ll always regret when you don’t.’”

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Hoda Kotb chimes in. “If you meet her kids, too, they’re salt-of-the-earth, really, really terrific, well-adjusted, sweet, nice kids. People ask her all the time ‘how did they turn out that way?’ And both Kathie Lee and Frank were so present in their children’s lives, and figured out priorities. It seems so basic when you stand on the outside and watch it.”

Kathie Lee laughs, “Now they don’t want us anywhere near them.”

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These days, Cody and Cassidy are busy studying their craft. “My son’s in college studying film, and my daughter’s studying acting. She’s my little budding actress, and he’s my budding director/writer.”

Of course, Cody and Cassidy got some superstar advice along the way.

“The last time I was here for this American Cancer Society benefit, Rosie O’Donnell was one of my guests,” Kathie Lee says. “Rosie sat at my kids’ table, and she kept eating their French Fries and the crust off their grilled cheese sandwiches, and telling them ‘don’t smoke crack.’ That’s what I remember!”

In the elevator, she dishes that daughter Cassidy admires Audrey Hepburn.

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