For years, Kathie Lee Gifford was one of the most loved and trusted talk show hosts from 1985 to 2000 with Regis Philbin. After leaving Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, she worked with Hoda Ktob on TODAY until finally stepping down this year.
While this amazing TV personality and mom of two has had a wonderful career, she’s starting to think about a new chapter in her blessed life—finding love again after the death of her husband Frank Gifford in 2015.
As Kathie Lee told TODAY: “I have an awareness that I’m a very, very emotional person, I’m a very passionate person, and I don’t want to be lonely for the rest of my life.”
"Some men are afraid of living up to the mantle of Frank Gifford."
When Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford met on Good Morning America! in 1983, there was magic in the air. This Pro-Football hall-of-famer and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster won Kathie Lee over with his good looks and kindness. They had a happy marriage of nearly 30 years before he succumbed to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which has ravaged former football players in recent years.
Not long after losing her beloved husband, Kathie Lee lost her mother, making her a widow and orphan in short succession. While most people might retreat into themselves, she continued to work at TODAY and give comfort to others. As her co-host and dear friend Hoda Kotb remembers, on the day of Gifford’s death, “she spent most of her time comforting others that day. I was crying and she said, ‘It’s going to be fine.'”
After mourning her husband’s death for years, Kathie Lee feels that she is finally ready to seek out love with a new person. “I’ve been blessed to have a great love … but I’d like to think it’s not my last one,” she said to TODAY.
What helped Kathie Lee realize that it was time to move on was a long-standing tradition in her family known as the “sunset alert.” As she explained to People, “we always lived in places where the sunsets were spectacular. And no matter what, we would have to drop whatever we were doing and go and honor the sunset because God made it.”
But after Gifford’s death, it was more difficult to carry on the tradition by herself, especially since her kids, Cody (now 29 years old) and Cassidy (25), had left home to pursue their careers. “It made me realize, I don’t want to stop being joyful. I’m going to go share my sunset somewhere.”
Unfortunately, finding Mr. Right is easier said than done, especially when the man in question has some pretty big shoes to step into. As Kathie Lee confided to Country Living, “some men are afraid of living up to the mantle of Frank Gifford.” She added that “some men are afraid of strong women. I wouldn’t be interested in a man like that anyway.”
Ah, a fun summer throwback from a trip years ago to Italy with Frank. To be young and carefree again! #TBT
Another vital element for Kathie Lee is finding someone who shares her Christian faith. This became even more important as she struggled with losing those close to her in recent years. She explained to Country Living: “My faith is me and I’m not gonna share my life with somebody, or even another hour of my life on a date with you, if you don’t share the same passion for your faith as I do.”
What Kathie Lee has done is sell the house she and Frank Gifford lived in, in Greenwich, Connecticut, which was so special to the couple. As she shared with AARP: “I had to make a move to someplace physically, and I had to make emotional moves and spiritual moves. You gotta make new memories or the old ones are going to kill you.”
A move to Nashville, Tennessee, has given Kathie Lee a new lease on life and a chance to perform in the heart of the Christian music industry. As she told TODAY, “I am evolving as an artist and a human being, and I will be till the day I die.”
“I am open to a new relationship that would be very, very different than the ones I’ve had in the past,” she told TODAY. She still hopes and believes love is out there somewhere. But in the meantime, she isn’t compromising on her principles or slowing down on her multifaceted career.
Whoever comes along will have to be someone pretty special!