Kelly Ripa made a decision late Friday night to come back to Live! With Kelly and Michael! alongside Michael Strahan, as reported by PEOPLE.
ABC announced on Tuesday that after a four-year run on the morning talk show, Strahan, 44, would be leaving to join Good Morning America as a full time co-anchor in September. “I look forward to continuing to work with the incredible team at GMA,” Strahan said in a statement, having already signed a part-time deal with the program in 2014. “It is an exciting opportunity to be able to bring unique stories and voices to the audience.”
Rumor has it that the former NFL player will be making more money on GMA and that there had been tension between him and Ripa, 45, for a while. “My time with Live! With Kelly and Michael has been transformative, and my departure will be bittersweet,” added Strahan in the statement. “Kelly has been an unbelievable partner, and I am so thankful to her and the entire team. I am extremely grateful for the amazing support I’ve received from all of the fans.”
Surprised by the news, Ripa did not show up to work on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with sources saying she was “refusing to come back” because she was blindsided by the news. Ripa had a 20th wedding anniversary trip to Turks and Caicos planned with her family —scheduling to be off Friday and Monday for a long weekend— but allegedly canceled it last minute.
PEOPLE learned exclusively that Kelly sent an email to her staff late Friday night saying: “Sorry for this late Friday night email. I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information. Your kindness, support, and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning. Love, Kelly.”
We could speculate for days why Strahan chose to leave Live! or how he could have made the transition easier for Ripa. But at the end of the day, it’s all contracts and business. Hopefully the pair can continue the season with class and move on.