Kathie Lee Gifford exudes positivity and light, but fans will soon see another side of her.
The 67-year-old TV personality gets candid about the darker moments in her life in her new memoir, It’s Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best Act of Your Life. In the book, she briefly touches on her past sexual assault and digs deeper into when she thought her marriage to the late Frank Gifford hit rock bottom.
As Kathie Lee tells ET’s Rachel Smith, she originally “didn’t want to” revisit Frank’s infidelity. “It’s not a bed of roses. I mean, we struggled after that for a long time. He knew that I would never again be exactly the same as I was before I knew the truth of what he had done.”
“But we stayed together, we saved our marriage, we saved — by God’s grace — our children,” she continues. “I knew my children would be very, very different people if we had broken up at that time. But all these years later, I hear from people all the time who say I’m still married because of what you went through.”
Kathie Lee and Frank got married in 1986, with his cheating scandal making headlines in 1997. The two continued to work on their marriage and stayed together until Frank’s death in 2015. The two shared son Cody, 30, and daughter Cassidy, 27.
Kathie Lee, meanwhile, also briefly addresses being sexually assaulted and date raped when she was younger, but doesn’t go into too much detail.
“People don’t know things like that. If I wanted to share them, I would’ve told the whole story. I just thought it was enough to say, ‘No, I get you. I see you. I went through that too,'” she explains. “That’s what that’s about. There’s very, very few women in this industry who weren’t subjected to that kind of behavior and that kind of abuse. You know, I’m not gonna name names there. They know who they are.”
Kathie Lee credits her faith with helping her heal from all her past troubles and now she’s living her best life in Nashville and is open to dating — even though she jokes that her son has to give the OK. The former Today show co-host also writes in It’s Never Too Late that it’s hard finding love when you’re in the spotlight.
“He promised his father that he would take care of me after Frank was gone. And he takes it way too seriously,” she shares with a laugh. “God bless the man that Cody Googles, that Cody has searched or followed! Oh my gosh, the poor guy!”
“No, they’d be fine if it’s a man of faith who truly loves me for me, is not a gold digger of some sort or somebody that just wants to be in the spotlight or whatever reason,” she notes. “But I find that the men that I have been out with, and they’re all such sweet men, really good guys down here. They either run for the hills from me because I am quite the load so to speak — I’m a lot!”
Thankfully, Kathie Lee can count on her good friends like Kristin Chenoweth and Hoda Kotb, among others, to keep her company.
“Kristin…She’s just a precious friend and she’s somebody who just puts life and light into the world,” Kathie Lee says, adding, “And Hoda! I surround myself now with people like that, no negativity allowed. My joy is nonnegotiable.”
As for sharing more of her story with her dear fans, she hopes that this new book encourages people to learn from others.
“I wanted to encourage people that, by sharing my own life experiences, whether painful or successful, triumphant or tragic, that these are all of the things that molded me…every one of them,” she explains. “And I didn’t like a whole lot of them and I prayed for God to release me from so many things, but he didn’t, but he got me through. And if there is a message in my book and I think there are many…but I love to learn from people and if people can learn from what I’ve went through and learned to keep their heart tender in spite of becoming tough, you got to be tough in this world to survive.”
It’s Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best Act of Your Life is out now.
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