Lying poolside with hubby Mark Consuelos, Kelly Ripa relaxed beneath a wide brimmed hat on a recent weekend in New York’s tony Hamptons. It’s moments like this — despite her success on TV’s Live With Kelly and Ryan — that make Kelly feel deeply content. “Kelly and Mark have not only gotten stronger as a couple over the years, they’ve also discovered that magic formula that keeps them interested in each other,” a pal tells Closer. “She says it’s because they truly are best friends.”

Kelly’s viewers also look to her as a friend. And one of the things they love most is her willingness to share both her strengths and weaknesses. “The biggest responses I get on social media are when I post about something deeply screwed up,” Kelly admits. “People don’t care about your amazing vacation. When I broke my foot, people were like, ‘I love that because it’s relatable.’”

Now Kelly, 51, is revealing even more in a new memoir, Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories, arriving Sept. 27. In it, she delves into her life, from her tight family bonds to her surprising discomfort with her public persona. “Everything I’ve learned in life has come after a failure and sometimes public embarrassment,” she admits. “But each experience taught me something valuable: I won’t make that mistake again!”

One vow she’s made is to always put her family first. Mother to Michael, 25, Lola, 21, and Joaquin, 19, Kelly began keeping a diary while pregnant with her eldest. “The late, great Anne Meara gave me my first journal,” she says. “I’ve always kept notes as a memory book.”

Most of her memories are good. Raised in New Jersey, she enjoys a warm relationship with her parents, Esther and Joseph. This summer, she included her dad on her ABC game show Generation Gap. “I had a picture-perfect childhood,” Kelly gushes. “My parents were like June and Ward Cleaver; there was nothing dysfunctional about them.”

She and Mark, who have been wed for 26 years, strive to follow their example. “I’m crazy about her,” Mark’s raved, while Kelly adds, “All Mark has to do is look at me [and I] feel so special.” They have a lot in common, too. Despite their public jobs, both are introverts who prefer quiet time. “Sometimes I have to go on television and put on a happy face and smile, even when I don’t want to, because that’s my job,” she explains.

Kelly’s learned to balance her emotional ups and downs by listening to Vivaldi “when I need motivation,” or by working out to release stress. “Eighty percent of the time, I’m pretty healthy. Twenty percent of the time, I’m a hot mess,” she says. The star also struggles against her impulse to be “super controlling,” notes the friend. “And she knows she sometimes talks too much, but she’s gotten better on both fronts.”

Still, her fans love that Kelly allows glimpses beneath her sunny persona. “Her life isn’t perfect,” the friend says, “but she counts her blessings daily.” Admits Kelly: “Like Dory in Finding Nemo, I’m like, ‘Well, that didn’t kill me, so I guess I’ll keep swimming.’”