Over the past few years a seemingly endless wave of change has washed over Kathie Lee Gifford‘s life. Now, with even more change on the horizon, the 65-year-old Today host is opening up about how she has been dealing during this difficult time in her life.
Kathie Lee spoke to AARP The Magazine about grappling with husband Frank Gifford‘s 2015 death and mom Joan Epstein’s 2017 death. On top of all that, her kids — 29-year-old son Cody and 25-year-old daughter Cassie — are out of the house and she is poised to leave Today next month after 11 years.
“You battle a lot of things when you get older, especially as a widow, when you lose a spouse,” Kathie Lee said. “It dawned on me the other day, I’m a widow, I’m an orphan, because my mother also passed and I’m an empty nester all at the same time. If you’re not careful, what you’ve lost in life can define you. It’s so much healthier to be defined by what you still have. I’m making big changes in my life because I need to, really big changes that are feeding my soul. Otherwise, despair sets in and loneliness can be crippling.”
Kathie Lee even revealed in the April/May cover story that she is moving from her “big house” in Long Island, New York. In addition, she learned that changing up her social schedule was important. All of these actionable things were simply things she did in order to deal with her “crippling loneliness.”
“Sunset used to be a huge thing in our family. Every day, no matter what, we’d yell, ‘Sunset alert!’ and we had to stop whatever we were doing, go out, and honor another day,” Kathie Lee recalled in perhaps the most heartbreaking moment from the chat. “And now I still say it out loud to the puppies. We still go out and do it, but sunset alerts are some of my saddest moments when it’s just me and the dogs at home.”
By deciding to leave Today, she said there was “a more powerful dream” within her that needed to be fulfilled. That, for now, is writing a film titled Then Came You, which she explains as the story of a widow who takes her husband’s ashes to all the spots of their favorite movies.
This new venture doesn’t come out of nowhere, though. “I’m not reinventing myself at all,” Kathie Lee explained. “I am evolving as an artist and a human being, and I will be till the day I die. People who think I’m a silly person don’t know me at all. I’m 10 percent silly and 90 percent dead serious in my life.”
Our prayers go out to Kathie Lee as she embarks on this new stage of her life!