Michael Strahan doesn't "mind the gap" -- between his teeth, that is.
In a new interview with Elle magazine, the Live! With Kelly and Michael co-host reveals that there was a time when he thought about closing his trademark gap-toothed grin. But ultimately he realized that his smile, however "flawed" it was by Hollywood standards, was as much a part of his identity as his record-breaking football career and lovable TV persona.
"I was really close to closing it up. I was at the dentist having him do mock-ups. I thought about it," the retired NFL great, 41, tells the mag, recalling how much pressure there was to be perfect as a young twenty-something athlete for the New York Giants. "You can fix everything now."
Strahan decided, however, that he didn't need to be "fixed."
"I made the conscious effort to say, 'This is who I am,'" he explains of why he didn't and won't close up his teeth. "I'm not perfect. I don't want to try to be perfect."
"At this point, I don't think my kids would recognize me without it," he jokes. (Strahan has four children from previous relationships: Tanita, 20, and Michael Jr., 17, with first wife Wanda Hutchins; and twins Sophia and Isabella, 8, with second wife Jean Muggli.) "They'd be like, 'Who is this stranger in the house? Call 911!'"
The twice-divorced former Giants standout -- whose 2006 split from Muggli was both very public and very bitter -- adds that his fiancee, Eddie Murphy's ex-wife Nicole Murphy, accepts and loves him just the way he is, imperfections and all.
"I can be myself," he tells Elle of their relationship. "I have someone who gets along with my family. And who gets along with my friends. And we have a lot of the same interests. Life is just a lot more peaceful."
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Michael Strahan: Why I Never Closed the Gap in My Teeth