Kelly Ripa says she worked out of a janitor’s closet for years before ABC gave her a permanent office
Kelly Ripa has opened up about the “strange experiences” she faced during her early years working with ABC.
The 52-year-old Live! talk show host first joined the network in 2001, replacing Kathie Lee Gifford as the late Regis Philbin’s co-host on Live with Regis and Kelly.
Following Philbin’s 2011 exit, Ripa’s since been the show’s mainstay. However, she has claimed that there have been difficulties over the years.
Describing some periods as “very tough”, Ripa spoke with Variety about the rocky years she endured behind the scenes of the show, including the negotiations she had just to land her own backstage office space.
“It was the strangest experience I’ve ever had in my life. I was told that I couldn’t have an office,” she said. “It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially because there were empty offices that I could have easily occupied.”
“It was after my fourth year,” she remembered, “that they finally cleaned out the closet and put a desk in there for me. And so I was working in the janitor’s closet with a desk so that I could have a place to put things.
She eventually was granted a permanent office.
“It was very tough,” Ripa added. “Had I known how difficult it would have been, I don’t know that I would have gone for it. I just think my ignorance in that situation wound up being my blessing and my superpower. I did not have an easy time.”
At the time, she didn’t have a private bathroom either and was forced to use the studio’s public bathroom along with the audience, while Philbin had his own toilet, she said.
“Picture this,” Ripa said. “We have a studio audience – like 250 people! – and I have to queue up. Particularly when I was pregnant, it was extraordinarily exhausting to have to wait in line. I have to host the show, and I’m still waiting in line to use the bathroom. It just seemed, you know, a very needlessly difficult situation.”
Asked what tourists thought of having to stand in line with Ripa to use the bathroom, she responded: “They couldn’t believe it either.”
The Independent has contacted ABC for comment.
In 2012, Ripa was joined by former NFL star Michael Strahan for Live with Kelly and Michael.
After Strahan left in 2016, Ryan Seacrest joined to co-host Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2017.
Seacrest announced his departure in February and will be permanently replaced by Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, on 14 April.
Live! broadcasts live on weekdays at 9am EST on ABC.