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'I Don't Get It': Kathie Lee Gifford Slams Kelly Ripa For Dishing About 'Forced' Friendship With Regis Philbin In New Book

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Oct. 10 2022, Published 5:30 p.m. ET

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While some were excited for Kelly Ripa to spill the tea in her new book, Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories, Kathie Lee Gifford was upset when she learned about some of the remarks the blonde beauty had to say about Regis Philbin.

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"I was very sorry to see the headlines. We see headlines all of the time, and you never know what is true or not true. I was in Israel, and I saw that, and I went, 'Oh, I hope this isn't true.' I just hope it isn't because what is the point? I don't get it. I am not going to read the book, I haven't read it, I don't even know if it's out yet," Gifford, 69, said on Good Day New York about Ripa's comments in which she said she had a "forced" friendship with Philbin while working on the morning show. "I know what Regis was to me, Rosanna [Scotto]. He was for 15 years the best partner a person could ever have professionally, but he was my friend."

kathie lee gifford slams kelly ripa forced friendship regis philbin
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Gifford, who worked on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee from 1988 to 2000, had nothing but kind words to say about the comedian, who died in 2020. "We were dear friends, and after I left the show, the next 20 years, we became better friends, dear friends. I saw him two weeks before he died, and Joy [Philbin] said to me, the minute I found out he passed, I got in the car and drove over to their house and she and the girls were going through his memories and things like that, and he had only been gone for two days and she said, 'I just want you to know that when we saw you for lunch two weeks ago at your house — that is the last time I heard Regis laugh. He went downhill pretty quickly right after that.' We 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 gushed.

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After Ripa's comments went viral, Gifford was protective over Joy.

"That was my first thought, 'Lord, protect Joy and the girls.' In all of the years I have known him, I never saw him unkind to anyone. I never did. He teased you — that was a sign that he loved you. Regis just ripped me a new one! That was a reality, so I am not going to say anything ugly about anybody. I never have and I am not going to start now. I am just saying my reality is something completely different from that," she shared.

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kathie lee gifford slams kelly ripa forced friendship regis philbin
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In the book, the TV personality commented on how she and Regis didn't always see eye to eye. "I had and still have enormous respect, admiration and reverence for Regis," she wrote. "I, like most of the viewing public, felt like I knew him, but to expect two people from such different generations to have some sort of weird, forced friendship when they never knew each other is a very strange thing to put on one person. It was only put on one person and that is how I describe it [in the book]."

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