Kathie Lee Gifford emotionally opened up about the final time she saw her longtime co-host Regis Philbin during an appearance on Today on July 27. The TV personality passed away on Saturday at the age of 88 from a heart attack. Kathie Lee explained that she saw the entertainer and his wife Joy only two weeks ago. She could see he wasn’t in the best health and knew there was a chance that would be the last opportunity she would have to see him.
The star, who appeared on Live! alongside Regis from 1988 to 2000, spoke with Hoda Kotb — her other former co-star — via video chat as the NBC morning show paid tribute to the late personality. Kathie Lee said she was in Tennessee and invited the couple over to catch up.
She explained that as soon as she saw him exit his car she “sensed much more fragility” since they had last met up in January, but things were just as they used to be when the pair got chatting.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 27, 2020
“We sat and we laughed, we always just pick up right where we left off. I was with him 15 years, we became dear friends through the years since then, just always getting together every chance we could,” she said, per Entertainment Tonight Canada.
Kathie Lee then spoke out about feeling that would be her final in-person interaction with the former America’s Got Talent host.
“We had the best [meeting] and after they left I said, ‘Lord, is that the last time I’m ever going to see my friend?’ Because he was failing, I could tell. Something told me the other day when I was in Tennessee, ‘Get on a plane and go home.’ I didn’t know why, but I’ve learned to listen to that voice.”
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There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.
She shared that as soon as she heard the news about the late TV personality, she headed out to visit his family, who she’d grown close to over the years.
Kathie Lee then sweetly added that she and the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host “never had one cross word” with one another for the entirety of their friendship.
Her latest comments about her former co-star came shortly after the mom of two took to social media to share a touching tribute to Regis shortly after the news of his death was made public.
She posted a photo of herself with the TV host to her Instagram account with a touching and lengthy caption about how much she “adored” him and the big impact he made on her life.