How Kathie Lee Gifford Found Happiness Through Her Faith: ‘I’m So Full of Joy’ in Nashville

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After several years in Nashville, Kathie Lee Gifford realized she wanted to surround herself with more nature. “I said, ‘You know what? I need a little farm,’” she tells Closer. “Now I have a garden of my own, and it just brings me great joy. It’s soothing. It’s restorative. It’s healing.”

The Today alum notes that the world could use a bit of healing, too. “Everything’s on fire. People are so angry, so confused and so hopeless,” says Kathie Lee, 70, who recently released a book of short devotionals — I Want to Matter: Your Life Is Too Short & Too Precious to Waste — to share some wisdom and joy. She hopes that readers will use it to strengthen their relationship with God. “I’m not talking about a religion. I can’t stand religion,” says the star, who was raised in the Jewish faith and became a Christian as a teenager. “My only message is that God loves you. He loves you, and there’s a purpose for you, too.”

During her years in the competitive, stressful entertainment business, Kathie Lee’s faith guided her through troubles big and small. In the 1990s, when radio shock jock Howard Stern made Kathie Lee the frequent target of his off-color humor, she refused to get angry. “So many people can’t let go of the pain. They can’t let go of the hurts. It’s like they sit there and pick the scab all the time,” she says. “That’s not the life I want to live.” Instead, Kathie Lee prayed for Howard. “Thirty years later, Howard Stern asked me to forgive him,” she notes. “Sometimes you wait a long time for prayers to be answered, but God’s ways are not our ways and his timing is completely his own.”

Kathie Lee Gifford Found Joy in Nashville

In 2019, Kathie Lee left Today after 11 years to concentrate on making music, movies and writing books. "I was going to move to Santa Barbara, but God had a different plan,” explains the performer, who settled in Nashville after working on her music there. “I’m so full of joy here,” she says. “It’s because there is a culture of kindness.”

How Kathie Lee Gifford Found Happiness in Faith
How Kathie Lee Gifford Found Happiness in Faith

Three years ago, Kathie Lee’s daughter, Cassidy, moved south too, giving this proud grandma frequent access to her grandson Finn. Her son, Cody, his wife and their two sons, Frankie and Ford, who still live in Connecticut, will make their first trip to Kathie Lee’s ranch this summer. “I’m not a hovering grandmother. And I don’t buy every toy and every outfit,” says the star, who prefers to spend meaningful time with her grandkids playing in the garden or pool and making up silly, “poopy” songs together. “They think I’m a genius,” she says with a laugh.

With so much love in her life, she can’t help but feel grateful. “It’s not easy being human,” Kathie Lee says. “I could have screwed up my life completely, but the way I got here is that I trusted God completely.”