LIVE’S Kelly Ripa has shaded her former co-host Michael Strahan in a scathing new interview.
The 52-year-old didn’t hold back about her feelings toward her ex-colleague seven years after he left the show.
In an interview with Variety magazine, Kelly opened up about the challenges she’s faced as a female in the industry and the rotation of male co-hosts she’s had throughout her 23 years as host.
The sit-down comes as her current co-host, Ryan Seacrest, 48, prepares to leave the program next month.
But the sting created by Kelly’s previous co-host Michael Strahan, 51, still hurts as she brought up the athlete’s unexpected departure.
“It was very tough,” she shared about the trying times on the show. “Had I known how difficult it would have been, I don’t know that I would have gone for it.
“I just think my ignorance in that situation wound up being my blessing and my superpower. I did not have an easy time.”
Michael announced he was leaving Live! in 2016 – a move that blindsided his co-host as she was unaware of his plans.
The New York Giants alum ended up landing a gig at Good Morning America as co-host opposite veteran frontrunners Robin Roberts, 62, and George Stephanopoulos, 62.
Kelly also pointed out the unfair treatment she received during her earlier days on the show and how it took years for her to be respected in the workplace.
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However, she noted that she does not blame her male co-hosts for the network’s wrongdoings.
“The network had a duty and an obligation to keep all things equal. “I don’t blame the fellas — they were just doing what they had been told, or what they were instructed to do, or what they thought they deserved.”
She continued: “Having said that, I go out of my way to protect the people I’m working with at any and all costs, even if it means that I am not as popular.”
‘THE STRANGEST EXPERIENCE’
Elsewhere in the interview, Kelly detailed what she dealt with behind the scenes on Live!, especially while co-hosting with the late Regis Philbin.
She divulged that not having a permanent office at the studio was “the strangest experience” she ever had in her life.
“I was told that I couldn’t have an office. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially because there were empty offices that I could have easily occupied,” Kelly further explained to the news outlet.
Making do with what space was available, Kelly allegedly utilized an empty janitor’s closet as an office after her fourth year on the series.
“They finally cleaned out the closet and put a desk in there for me,” she admitted to the publication.
“And so I was working in the janitor’s closet with a desk so that I could have a place to put things.”
Even when Regis left the show in 2011, and Kelly had been co-hosting the show with him for over a decade, she still didn’t score an actual office.
“They said, ‘Oh, no, we’re saving that.’ And I said, ‘Saving it for what?’ Kelly told the outlet.
“And they go, ‘Well, for when the new guy comes.’ And I looked at them, and I said, ‘I am the new guy.
“I just moved my things.
“I forced my way into the office because I couldn’t understand how I would still be in the janitor’s closet, and somebody new would come in and get the office.”
She also noted that she didn’t even have her own personal bathroom and had to use the same restroom as audience members in her early days on Live!
“Particularly when I was pregnant, it was extraordinarily exhausting to have to wait in line,” Kelly said.
“I have to host the show and I’m still waiting in line to use the bathroom. It just seemed, you know, a very needlessly difficult situation.”
‘THEY HAD NO CHOICE’
Alongside opening up about the tough times behind the scenes, Kelly also shared her triumphs.
Producers were more willing to pay her a fair salary when her Live! contract ended because they knew she had the power to leave.
“I don’t think they wanted to pay me. I think they had to pay me,” Kelly asserted.
She added that her husband, Mark Consuelos, 51, was always “paid far more than [she] was,” even when they acted together on All My Children.
“I was trying to walk out the door and close it behind me.
“And I think they really figured out rapidly that they had screwed up in a major way, and it was not a good look.
“I think that was really the impetus behind paying me fairly. They had no choice.”
Kelly’s husband, Mark, will soon join her permanently as co-host on the show, replacing Ryan.
Their first official show together is scheduled for April 17.