Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos on their 'very traditional' 25-year marriage: We're 'almost old-fashioned in our roles'
Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos know a thing or two about making a marriage work in showbusiness.
The couple, who will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on May 1, appeared on Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue's Double Date podcast where they got candid about their "traditional" household roles, fighting and what they say was a "defining moment" in their relationship.
Ripa and Consuelos, both 50, were asked about how they divvy up responsibilities at home.
"Mark is really the financial planner and Mark is responsible for every good financial thing that’s ever happened to us," Ripa noted.
"I do kind of take that part," he agreed, "And [Kelly] makes the home a home."
"It's funny because I think of us as so progressive as a couple," Kelly added. "I always think of us like sort of politically progressive. We're more progressive people. And yet when it comes to our own family and our marriages and our roles I think of us as…"
"Traditional?" Mark interjected.
"Very traditional and almost old-fashioned in our roles," Kelly agreed. "Because he's made it so that I've never had to leave home to work. I've been able to raise my kids here, in the city, in the nest ... he's always been willing to travel and go to a set."
"Some would say you've made the sacrifice," Mark noted.
The Live With Kelly and Ryan host recalled an "agonizing" conversation early on in their marriage when they were talking about their careers.
"The talk-show opportunity came up and he's like, 'You know, I think you should do it.' It seemed so out of my depth and not in my wheelhouse and not what I was used to," she shared. "And he said I think it will allow you to do the things that you've always wanted to do, which was really — I wanted to raise my kids. I didn't want to have them and never get to see them."
Ripa continued, "The talk show afforded me this opportunity where I would work early in the morning and I would have the rest of the day to take them to their activities. ... In that way we're very traditional."
Consuelos and Ripa are parents to three kids: sons Michael, 23, and Joaquin, 18, and daughter Lola, 19. Early on, they had a very frank conversation about the power dynamic in their relationship.
"I remember us having a very funny conversation because Kelly was very independent and lived in the city for about five or six years before I got there, she was on her own and did her thing. And then when I came in — I am a traditional guy," Consuelos explained. "I feel like there are certain roles — it's hard to explain exactly what those roles are, but we had a conversation where I said, 'Hey listen, there's really only room for one man in this relationship — and it's going to be me."
Ripa joked they were arguing over where to go on vacation — "it was a luxurious problem to have" — and remembered telling Consuelos how she's "a woman of this generation" who has been on her own "for a long time."
"I'm a grown woman so you're going to have to forgive me if it takes me a minute to keep up with the clock that you're rolling back," she quipped at the time.
Ripa noted how Consuelos's views have evolved with Lola.
"What I will say though is I've watched Mark with our daughter and the way you raise her to never take a backseat position to any person that she dates, any man that she dates. It's funny, the evolution of you is kind of fascinating," Ripa added. "When we first got married, I think Mark felt like he rushed into it, and maybe he made a mistake and maybe he was regretting it. And he took my wedding ring and threw it out the window."
Yes, that really happened.
"And then he turned around and I said, 'I am still here.' Because I really think he thought in that moment that somehow I would just go poof and vanish or evaporate," Ripa revealed. "And I was like, 'Now what?' And I think that was that moment of, 'Oh my gosh, she is still here and I just did that horrible thing and she's still here and she doesn't really seem that rattled...' It was a big, bold move."
Consuelos laughed how he was 25 when he threw the ring and "not too smart."
"But that was the thing. I looked at him and I said, 'You know, I get it. I get it. I'm young and married — I'm scared too. I get it. This is forever. I'm with you. Now we have to go find that ring.'"
"And I did," the Riverdale actor added.
Ripa called the incident "a defining moment" in their relationship.
"I am sure there are a lot of people that would have said, 'I'm done.' That is outrageous. That is crazy behavior. And I understood where it was coming from. It was coming from a place of terror and genuine fear. And 'Oh my god, I have to spend the rest of my life with this woman who does not value time, who is chronically late.'"
The couple learned many important lessons early on in their marriage that they say gave them the foundation for a lasting relationship — like what to do during fights.
"Sometimes I'll come up to her and I'll go, 'OK, I'm totally looking for some attention and I'm being completely selfish right now, but I need some attention,'" Consuelos admitted. "I'll call myself out and I'll say, 'I know this is going to sound crazy, but I just need you to humor me for a minute and she does."
"If you can tell your spouse what you need in the moment, it is the most helpful thing," Ripa added. "Nobody's a psychic. Marriage is like a roller-coaster ride, right? ... We've often said if we had gotten divorced like so many times over things that at the time seemed like a huge deal, we would have missed out on so much life and incredible moments and fun."
Ripa remarked about how the fights they'd have "exhausted" raising "small babies and toddlers" would lead them to be "short with each other, not really kind to each other."
"We were not taking the time for each other. That could have easily frayed our marriage and we could have easily turned on each other, but instead it sort of — we were just fortunate enough and we listened to each other just enough," she exclaimed. "I used to leave the lid off the toothpaste which drove him crazy. And I realized I was starting to do it deliberately to drive him crazy. And then one day I said, "OK, are we going to have a nice marriage or are we going to be dramatic all the time.' Put the f****** lid on. Put it on, Kelly."
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