Up until last week, there seemed to be little drama at Live With Kelly and Michael. But when Michael Strahan, the affable, gap-toothed former athlete who towers over his diminutive co-host Kelly Ripa announced his departure for Good Morning America, there was a ruckus that spilled out beyond the confines of morning television.
Ripa, apparently not made aware of Strahan’s pending departure until just before the announcement was made, was a no-show on Wednesday. She took a previously-scheduled vacation with husband Mark Consuelos — their 20th anniversary is May 1, 2016 — and is set to come back and sit next to Strahan on Tuesday.
Since Ripa has been making the gossip pages of late, it might be fun to learn some little-known facts about the outgoing Jersey girl at the seat of one of television’s most popular talk shows.
She started as a dancer
Leave it to Jimmy Kimmel. The late-night talk show comedian took it upon himself to remind audiences of a phase of her career that Ripa might rather forget: her tenure on the 1980s dance program Dancin’ On Air which became Dance Party USA. During Kimmel’s interview with Ripa, he confronted her with a clip of herself weighing in on dating etiquette — who should pay — and then making some moves on the dance floor. Ripa told Kimmel her long curly hairstyle was something she’d put together at home — no perm.
She secretly dated Mark Consuelos for one year before they eloped
Ripa met her husband, and frequent co-host on Live!, Mark Consuelos when they were both cast on the long-running soap opera All My Children. Their attraction was immediate, but they kept their relationship under wraps for a full year before they eloped in the city of love — or quickie weddings — Las Vegas. They had their first child, son Michael, a little more than a year later.
She co-owns a production company
Mark Consuelos isn’t just a house husband who occasionally fills in for Michael on Live!. The couple own and run a successful production company called Milojo, an amalgamation of the first two letters of the names of their three children: Michael, Lola and Joaquin. Milojo is behind a number of projects, including the recent reality program My Diet is Better Than Yours, starring Shaun T.
Psychic Char Margolis predicted her pregnancy
Back in 2000, Kathie Lee Gifford had already departed Live!, and then-host Regis Philbin was testing out replacements. Ripa, guest-hosting and hoping for a permanent spot, was pregnant — but hadn’t yet told her boss. One of the day’s guests, psychic Char Margolis, revealed the news live on-air. Kelly and Mark’s second child, Lola Grace, was born in the summer of 2001. By the way, Kelly and Mark stayed with All My Children until 2002, making them the definition of a busy couple.
She used to co-star on a sitcom
Kelly Ripa has been a soap opera actor, teen dancer, production company owner, talk show host, and a sitcom star. In 2003 she, fittingly, played a former soap star and sister to Faith Ford in the comedy Hope & Faith. The show lasted for three seasons, but Ripa made it clear on social media recently that her friendship with Ford has stood the test of time.
As for Ripa being blindsided by Strahan’s announcement, apparently it’s happened before. TMZ reported in January, 2011, that Regis Philbin told her just minutes before breaking the news on-air that he was leaving. He kept the information close to the chest, apparently, because he was afraid news would leak out. Asked to respond to the recent drama, Philbin seemed to take Ripa’s side.
“I know what it is. They should have told her in the beginning.”
Live! With Kelly and Michael airs weekday mornings.
[Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]