Kelly Ripa made it very clear that she’s standing by her Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host Ryan Seacrest after an allegation of sexual assault made against the American Idol host last year recently resurfaced. Kelly passionately showed her support for Ryan – who officially became her co-star on the morning show back in May 2017 – on the latest episode of the series, sweetly gushing over him as the audience cheered.
Kelly didn’t hold back when it came to announcing how she really feels about Ryan, as the former soap actress showered the host with praise as they sat alongside one another on the Thursday episode of the series.
“I just want you to know you are a privilege to work with, and I adore you,” Ripa told Seacrest during the March 1 episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan per Us Weekly, adding that she was “speaking on behalf” of the whole team at Live while addressing the allegations without explicitly mentioning them.
“I know what an easy, professional, great person you are and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day,” Kelly continued as she gushed over Ryan.
The studio audience then showed their support for the star by enthusiastically applauding Ripa’s comments.
Ryan then sweetly told Kelly, “You are happiness,” while she responded, “You are happiness wrapped in chocolate.”
Ripa’s gush came as the duo began discussing the Oscars, as E! recently confirmed that Ryan will still be spearheading their Live From The Red Carpet coverage, interviewing the stars in the red carpet as he has done for more than a decade.
The network conducted an investigation into the allegation and — as reported by People — found in February that there was “insufficient evidence” to support his accuser’s allegations.
Kelly’s sweet gush appeared to be her way of defending her co-host against his accuser after some viewers criticized the hosting duo earlier this week for not addressing the allegation while on air.
Kelly’s loving words also come shortly after Ryan’s girlfriend Shayna Taylor spoke out in his defense with a heartfelt message on Instagram.
I love you so much Ryan. You are the most respectful, well mannered, civil, gracious, loving, kind human being. I have known you for 6 years and every day you impress me with your kindness. Not only to me or your friends and family, but most importantly in your work environment. You have worked SO hard to be where you are and you deserve it. ♥️ #iloveyou #foreversupportyou #teamryan #teamseacrest
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, the allegation against Seacrest first came to light back in November 2017 after a former stylist accused him of behaving inappropriately when they worked together at E! a decade ago.
The allegation hit the spotlight once again in late February of this year after E! ended the investigation into the claims and cleared Seacrest of any wrongdoing. The accuser then hit back in an interview with Variety in which she shared more details of the alleged incident.
Seacrest again vehemently denied the claims one day after the interview was published, again refuting all the claims made against him.
“My name was cleared. I eagerly participated in the investigation in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process,” he said, per E! News.
Ryan first issued a statement regarding the allegation back in November, denying any wrongdoing.
“I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result,” Seacrest said in part at the time, per People. “I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that’s core to who I am.”
“The majority of my co-workers have been women, and I’ve endeavored to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy,” Ryan then continued, “as that’s how I believe it should be.”
Live with Kelly and Ryan airs on ABC.