Regis Philbin is being remembered as a pioneer of daytime television, founding the successful Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and helping turn it into a ratings powerhouse.
But the death of the longtime television host this weekend at the age of 88 has also brought back the messy exit and allegations of a feud with former co-host Kelly Ripa. The relationship became fodder for a number of rumors after Philbin left the program in 2011, with claims that Ripa was unhappy with how he left.
Some of that was pushed by Philbin himself. In a 2017 interview with Larry King, Regis suggested that she was not happy about the way he decided to retire from the live morning show.
“She got very offended when I left. She thought I was leaving because of her,” Philbin said, via Us Weekly. “I was leaving because I was getting older, and it wasn’t right for me anymore.”
Ripa would go on to share that her relationship with Regis was more business-like, with little interaction behind the scenes. As she told The New York Times, that was the way Regis liked it. She claimed he even had a rule against talking when the cameras weren’t rolling.
“He had almost a superstition about it. You save it for the show,” she shared. “I’d be like, ‘Good morning,’ and he’d say, ‘Save it for the air!’ “
Philbin hinted that he had never been asked to return to the show after he left, though the president and general manager of the station that produces Live pointed out in a statement to Refinery29 that Regis did return for a Halloween special in 2015 and had been invited as a guest several times, though he was unable to make the one time they had confirmed.
Others have spoken out on the alleged bad blood as well. During a radio interview last year, Howard Stern and guest Jimmy Kimmel discussed the allegations and Stern claimed that there was a “war” between the two.
“I’m sure that will go over big. Kelly I don’t think likes Regis. That’s the thing. They have a war,” Stern said, via Radar Online.
“I think it is true, and I think she would say that it’s true,” the radio host added. “They don’t talk or anything as far as I know. I thought it was an issue where Kelly felt that she should’ve been told by Regis that he was leaving the show.”
Kimmel suggested that Philbin didn’t leave Live! under his own accord, hinting that it may have been his strained relationship with Ripa that led to his exit.