Kathie Lee Gifford is starting a new chapter of her life.
The former Today show host, 66, opened up about moving to Franklin, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this year, saying the change of scenery was necessary.
“I moved here because I was dying of loneliness,” she told USA Today.
Gifford spent over a decade in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she raised her two kids, Cody, 29, and Cassidy, 26 — and said goodbye to her husband Frank Gifford, who died in August 2015 at age 84. But once her children moved out and she lost the love of her life, the home stopped feeling like a safe haven.
“That huge beautiful memory-filled home was like a morgue to me,” she said. “Here’s the bad news — I’m a widow, an orphan, and an empty nester. The good news is, I have the freedom of a widow, an orphan and an empty nester.”
Since moving to Nashville, Gifford has focused on producing religious movies and music.
“I’ve got all the time to spend my days writing,” she said. “I’m having the life I could’ve only ever dreamed of.”
During a recent appearance on the Today show, said she loves the relaxed attitude of the south.
“There’s a different culture down there. It’s a culture of kindness in Nashville,” she said. “They are authentically kind. They are joyful, they have so much fun.”
“I wake up and there are church bells ringing all around me,” she added. “It’s just a different attitude.”
Gifford made the move earlier this year after stepping away from the NBC program on April 5 after 11 years.
“The work that I want to do isn’t in [New York City] anymore,” she told PEOPLE ahead of her Today show departure. “I am an artist, I’m an actress, I’m a writer, I’m a songwriter, a director now. That’s the stuff that feeds my soul and I know that I’m running out of time to do those things.”