Kelly Ripa Explains Why She Addressed ‘Forced’ Relationship With Regis Philbin in New Book (Exclusive)

Kelly Ripa is opening up about her relationship with the late Regis Philbin. ET’s Rachel Smith spoke with the 51-year-old morning show host, who shared why she got real about her and Philbin’s off-screen relationship in her new book, Live Wire.

“I had and still have enormous respect, admiration and reverence for Regis,” Ripa tells ET of the late TV personality, who died in 2020. “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].”

Ripa, who co-hosted Live With Regis and Kelly with Philbin from 2001 to 2011, says she and her one-time co-host had “a very professional working relationship” during their decade on-air together.

“That used to be a celebrated thing, but in this weird, gonzo, tabloid, let’s pit the man against the woman world we live in, somehow that was strange and I was vilified,” she says. “That’s why I address it in the book. We had a professional working relationship and that’s what we had and that’s OK, because we are from different generations, we had different friend groups and we had different professional backgrounds.”

For Ripa, her professional background was in soap operas, while, prior to Live, Philbin worked in talk shows since the beginning of his career in the ’50s. 

“It took me five years to learn to look into the camera, because I was trained to never break the fourth wall,” Ripa says. “I am coming from the acting world, so there is no class for this, they didn’t teach me how to do this. You learn on the job.”

After Philbin’s departure from the show, Ripa went on to host the program with Michael Strahan. The former NFL player departed the series in 2016. Ripa currently co-hosts the series, now titled Live With Kelly and Ryan, with Ryan Seacrest. 

“It’s a privilege,” Ripa says of hosting the series. “… It’s a privilege of doing this job that you get to be in the homes of people every day. It’s a constant. Even though our show is very irreverent, there’s a certain reverence that people are still [watching] all of these years later.”

Amid her busy schedule with Live, Ripa decided to sit down to write her book of essays that, in addition to discussion of Philbin, includes talk of her relationship with her husband, Mark Consuelos, her life as a mom to Michael, 25, Lola, 21, and Joaquin, 19, and more.

“I started recounting moments of my life that were meant to be funny and humorous and all of that, which 99 percent of the book is, some of it is gritty and more on the serious side,” she tells ET. “…This seems like funny stories that people can digest easily. There’s a little something for everybody.”

Live Wire is out now. 

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