Regis Philbin and his former Live cohost Kelly Ripa don’t keep in touch anymore, because the South Jersey native thought Philbin “was leaving because of her,” Philbin recently told Larry King.
The TV veteran, 85, appeared on Larry King Now this week, where he discussed his time on-air with Ripa, 46, as well as why the two no longer speak.
Philbin and Ripa worked together for a decade on Live with Regis & Kelly. Ripa, a former soap opera star, joined the program in 2001; Philbin left in 2011.
“She got very offended when I left,” Philbin told King. “She thought I was leaving because of her. I was leaving because I was getting older, and it wasn’t right for me anymore.”
Philbin added that Live has “never once” asked him to return to the program, which he hosted for nearly 30 years before his retirement. This week, he told King that while he sometimes misses hosting on TV, he “figured it was time to let go.”
“It was wonderful to have Regis on the show for our 2015 Halloween special,” Dave Davis, president and general manager of WABC, said via a statement. “He’s also been invited back several times as a guest, and in fact was confirmed for a date, but was not able to make it at the time.”
Michael Strahan took Philbin’s spot in 2012, and left last year after four years on the show to pursue a gig at Good Morning America. Ripa said at the time that Strahan’s departure took her by surprise, which prompted her to take some time off before returning hand-in-hand with Strahan.
“I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts,” Ripa said when she returned to the show. “After 26 years with this company, I earned the right.”
Ripa also added that the incident with Strahan “started a greater conversation about communication, consideration, and, most importantly, respect in the workplace.” Some critics decried Ripa’s brief leave of absence as overly dramatic, a stance our own Molly Eichel railed against last April.
Since Strahan’s departure, Ripa has had a number of celebrity guest cohosts, and ran a cohost contest won by Bucks County teacher Richard Curtis. Curtis cohosted the program several times late last year.
To date, no permanent cohost has been named at Live with Kelly. Temple grad Tamron Hall, however, is reportedly being encouraged to join the show following her exit from NBC.