Kathie Lee Gifford Opens Up About Why She’s Leaving ‘Today’

Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford
Nathan Congleton/NBC

Kathie Lee Gifford is finally saying goodbye to the Today show after over a decade. Though she’s ready to move on to another stage of her life, she’s opening up about why she’s leaving and the one thing that has made her decision difficult.

Gifford’s last day is set for April 5, but her Today family has been celebrating the longtime host for weeks.

“I’ve been trying to pace myself. All of a sudden, this week, being the second week before my last week, it’s starting to hit everybody,” she tells E! News.

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She'll take over the show's fourth hour alongside Hoda Kotb.

Now that she’s leaving the show, the mother of two is looking forward to getting into directing and making films.

“This is what I was born to do, I know it,” she shared about making movies. “And I’ve waited all my life to do it. It’s thrilling for me.”

“And the only hard part is I fell in love with Hoda and I’m still in love with Hoda. Even the job is not the hard part for me, it’s leaving the people.”

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The co-host revealed her impending departure on-air.

This decision has been a few years in the making for Gifford, but she really made up her mind after her children, Cody and Cassidy, left the nest and her beloved husband, Frank Gifford, passed.

“Two years ago I said to our bosses here, ‘You guys, I’m going to give you one years notice.’ By that time Cody and Cassidy had moved to California, so I was an empty nester,” she shared.


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Such a special evening surrounded by my @TodayShow and @nbc family for my farewell party. Here’s to 11 unforgettable years with my partner in crime (and wine), @hodakotb 💕

A post shared by Kathie Lee Gifford (@kathielgifford) on

“Frank had passed and my mom had also passed on. You never know that at some point in your life you’re going to be an empty nester, a widow, and an orphan. That hit me like a ton of bricks.”

She continued, “I go home to this beautiful home that God blessed us with, one of the most beautiful homes I’ve seen in my entire life, but I’m there alone. I’m there alone and I realized that was really unhealthy for me.”

Gifford has also purchased a home in Nashville and is looking forward to all the new adventures to come.