The last two days have been something of a Kathie Lee Gifford love fest, and rightfully so. The longtime television personality lost her husband of 29 years, NFL legend Frank Gifford, August 9, and she has been surrounded by the love of her friends and family since.
It’s safe to say that a marriage that lasted as long as the Giffords‘ did is a rarity in the 21st century. Estimates appear to hover at around the 50 percent mark, meaning that at least half of all marriages will end in divorce, but Kathie Lee Gifford and her husband made it work, and the stresses that were on the couple were significant. In 1997, Kathie Lee and Frank had to endure very intense media scrutiny after it was revealed Frank had been unfaithful, and the situation nearly ended their marriage. However, Kathie Lee later said that had she run during that time, her children would not have had their father. However, her faith remained steadfast, and she said at the time, “Too many families break up over something that could be healed if they just stay there and trust God to do a healing in their life.”
It is Kathie Lee Gifford’s faith, as well as the love of her family and friends, that is helping her through the first stages of her grieving. Her Today show co-host, Hoda Kotb, said she had been told by Kathie Lee that she did not want anyone coming to the house when news of Frank’s death broke, but Kotb went to the house anyways.
“She asked for people not to come to her house yesterday so I got out of the airport and drove to her house,” recounted an emotional Kotb, who was returning from a New Orleans weekend with friends when she got a text from Kathie Lee Gifford about Frank’s death, during the August 10 broadcast of Today. That love for Kathie Lee Gifford was clear on Twitter shortly after the broadcast as well, and echoed in an August 9 tweet by another of Kathie Lee Gifford’s Today co-workers, Jenna Bush Hager.
Thinking of @KathieLGifford and her darling kids. She has taught me about grace, strength and faith; may they all guide her now.— Jenna Bush Hager (@JennaBushHager) August 9, 2015
Even Donald Trump, who has been friends with Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford for years, took to Twitter when news of Frank Gifford’s passing hit. Trump tweeted no less than three times about the passing of the former New York Giant.
.@KathieLGifford, Melania and I send our deepest condolences. Frank was a special and amazing person. He will be missed by all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2015
Kathie Lee Gifford’s attitude in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s passing, however, is something to be admired. While Kotb was visiting her, Gifford reminded her that young children with terrible illnesses was tragic. Frank Gifford’s life, which featured a storied career as a football great and television commentator, the birth of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a great deal of love, should be considered “a triumph.” Details about Frank Gifford’s funeral have not yet been released; however, Kathie Lee Gifford has expressed her appreciation for the “outpouring of grace” she and her family have received in the wake of his death.
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)