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Kathie Lee Gifford, 67, opened up about her past marriages following the release of her new memoir, It’s Never Too Late.
The former Today show host said she was “devastated” when she learned her late husband Frank Gifford was having an affair.
Kathie Lee said she contemplated divorce, but ultimately forgave Frank and stayed with him until his death in 2015.
Kathie Lee Gifford is opening up about her greatest life lessons in a new memoir, It’s Never Too Late. In an interview with People, the former Today show host dished on personal and painful moments throughout her two marriages.
Kathie Lee married her first husband Paul, a composer, in 1976, but the marriage wasn’t what she had hoped for. “I was excited about starting a life with someone, but he didn’t feel the same way,” she said. “I felt humiliated sleeping in my guest room.”
The sexless relationship was “damaging on so many levels,” so she was actually “relieved” when Paul walked out of their relationship. “I was very hopeful that one day I would find a real love.”
In the ‘80s, Kathie Lee met her future husband Frank during a segment on Good Morning America, and the two fell for each other. They married in 1986. “Our almost 30-year marriage was a real love affair and a true marriage in every sense of the word, so God redeemed,” she said.
But things took a turn when a tabloid caught Frank cheating in 1997. “It was absolutely devastating,” Kathie Lee said. “Nobody knows what I went through. You feel hopeless and you don’t want to live anymore.”
The Live with Regis and Kathie Lee host said she’d contemplated divorce. “If this had been chronic behavior from Frank, I would have divorced him like that,” she said.
But the couple sought out counseling, and Kathie Lee decided to forgive her husband. “We were able to turn it around. It was the right thing for my life to forgive my husband. And then work at forgetting.”
Frank, a former professional football player, passed away in 2015 following a battle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that can result in athletes due to repeated blows to the head. The couple had two children together, Cody, 30, and Cassidy, 27.
“He was a very good, dear, gentle, generous man,” Kathie Lee said of her late husband. “So many things about him that I valued as my friend, I continued to value in him as my husband and the father of my children. But the person you loved the most in your life is the person that can hurt you the most.”
Despite the hardships Kathie Lee has faced in her past relationships, she chooses to look at her life in a positive light. “I guess my life seems easy to people, but nobody’s is,” she said. “I choose to live in life abundantly, I choose to trust God. And to believe that all the things that have happened to me were not a coincidence.”
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