Frank Gifford"s passing in 2015, simply a few weeks prior to his 85th birthday, left Kathie Lee Gifford a widow ~ 29 years of marriage. The couple"s love story was a long and also winding one, extending decades and playing out in public, under the sometimes harsh glare that the spotlight.

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When lock met in the mid-1980s, frank was finest known because that his NFL career v the new York Giants, play for the team from 1952 until retiring in 1964, and also his subsequent TV career as a sporting activities announcer because that ABC"s Monday Night Football. Kathie Lee Johnson, together she was then known, was an up-and-coming singer and television hold who to be coming off a failure marriage. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight before their 1986 wedding, she defined how their love blossomed ~ "Frank kind of took me under his wing. He"s obtained a an excellent wing." 

Viewers who watched she on tv as co-host of Live through Regis and also Kathie Lee and, later, on NBC"s Today, adhered to the couple"s ups and also downs end the years together she common details of their family life. Review on come learn an ext about the untold truth of Kathie Lee Gifford"s marriage with frank Gifford. 


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According come a 1992 People profile, following her divorce from an initial husband Paul Johnson, Kathie Lee Johnson to be a correspondent on Good Morning America as soon as former brand-new York Giants halfback open minded Gifford, then working as a sporting activities broadcaster because that ABC, to fill in ~ above the network"s morning show. 


She recalled the an initial time she met she future husband together she and also co-host Hoda Kotb disputed the subject of love at first sight throughout an episode of Today. Inquiry if she fell in love at very first sight, Kathie Lee admitted the she "sort the did." She remembered prepare "to execute an Alpo commercial v a Basset Hound" as soon as she walked under a hallway and also caught a check out of her future husband"s derriere. She to be smitten, she said, after encountering "the biggest pair that buns ns have ever seen in mine life."

Frank reminisced around that an initial meeting in an interview through the Television Academy Foundation. "Right away she to be so much fun. She to be so alive and adorable," that said, revealing he made decision to "set her up with one of ideal friends" by inviting them both to lunch. "That didn"t occupational out," he stated of his ill-fated matchmaking attempt, wryly adding, "But us did."


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When open minded Gifford and also his future wife Kathie Lee were dating, he cautioned her about a story she"d be hearing repeatedly, about an event from his tenure through the brand-new York Giants. According to The brand-new York Times, the storied moment happened throughout a 1960 game versus the Philadelphia Eagles, once fearsome Eagles linebacker lining Bednarik (whose brutal takedowns earned that the nickname "Concrete Charlie") tackled candid so tough he was left flat on his back, the end cold v a "deep mind concussion" that was rumored to have actually sidelined him for the rest of the season and also beyond. (Frank insurance claims he supplied the chance to take a year turn off to ease his then-packed schedule that both playing pro football and broadcasting.)


In the book Tales native the new York Giants Sideline, frank recalled warning his future bride around how the incident would for sure come up through football fans, given that Concrete Charlie"s sacking had become legendary as among the most well known tackles in NFL lore. 

"I remember telling her, "One point you"re going come hear practically every work of your life, especially when we get roughly football people, is Bednarik,"" said , who reportedly wasn"t much of a soccer fan. "She said, "What"s that, a pasta?" She had actually no clue who he was."


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In a 2017 version of Today, Kathie Lee Gifford and also co-host Hoda Kotb were pointing out "dream proposals," which led Kathie Lee come tell the sweet story of how her late husband popped the question. The proposal took ar in Atlantic City, N.J., wherein she was reserved to perform. "And Frank had not realized, once we first started dating, just how much performing i did," she explained, admitting she to be a bit came to that her liven schedule can prove to be a dealbreaker in their budding relationship. "Very serious he goes, "Can I speak to you?" ns thought, "Oh my gosh, he"s going to break up v me," she told Kotb.


Her fears were immediately collection to rest when he pulled out an engagement ring. "He takes the end this splendid ring," she revealed. "I"m not going to say what that said, yet it was just beautiful." After getting a glimpse of the emerald-cut five-carat diamond, she had one question for her new fiancé. "Can I show my parents?!"" she request him.


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In she book Just when I believed I"d dropped My last Egg: Life and Other Calamities, Kathie Lee Gifford reflected on she 1986 wedding, i m sorry took place on "a glorious Indian summer job in Bridgehampton, new York." in ~ the time, The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported that Kathie Lee Johnson, together was climate known, and Frank Gifford were wed "in a small private ceremony," with the bride advertising her intention to use her married surname on the morning present she to be then co-hosting through Regis Philbin. 


Two months before her wedding come Frank, Kathie Lee spoke to Entertainment Tonight about their romance and upcoming nuptials. Your relationship, she explained, had grown and deepened end time. "We didn"t loss in love," she said. "We really grew in love." 

The pair also mutual the same birthday, august 16, born 23 year apart. "Somebody request me if the age difference in between us bothered me and I said, "Absolutely! I simply hope I can keep up v him,"" she told Entertainment Tonight.


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The roadway to the altar because that Frank and also Kathie Lee Gifford was no necessarily a smooth one. One complication was the truth that he to be over two decades older than her, and also had been married twice before — and, in fact, was still married to his 2nd wife, Astrid Lindley, when they very first met. 


When Kathie Lee told her husband she wanted to start a family, she was met through some resistance, according to a 1992 People cover story. Why? Frank was currently the dad of three, native his first marriage come Maxine Ewart. In addition, he likewise had five grandchildren. 

However, he eventually relented and the couple welcomed child Cody Newton Gifford in march 1990. As People noted in that profile, Frank had actually "happily thrown himself into late-life fatherhood" as soon as he invited his 4th child at age 59. In fact, the newspaper pointed out, it to be his decision to try for a 2nd child with his 3rd wife, feeling the his young son should have a sibling. "It"s the same way his heart softened the an initial time because he love me," gushed Kathie Lee. Your daughter Cassidy came along in 1993. 


When Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford decided to have a 2nd child, the pair was overjoyed as soon as Kathie Lee eventually ended up being pregnant. However, heartbreak was laying in wait. While vacationing in Colorado, Kathie Lee was 7 weeks pregnant as soon as she suddenly felt sick and "began cramping." It occurred quickly, and she shed the baby. Afterward, she told People, she husband "held me tighter 보다 he"s ever held me before."


But by December 1992, she had some interesting news come share v viewers of Live v Regis and Kathie Lee. Attach by Frank, that was serving together co-host while subbing for continual TV partner Regis Philbin, she revealed the pair was expecting a second baby. Then 39, Kathie Lee said she"d proceed to job-related on Live, however was to plan on taking it simple on other fronts, such together her promise to stop lifting increase their boy Cody. She also revealed she"d be abstaining native sex. "It"s walking to be a lengthy winter," she jokingly told she husband (via the Orlando Sentinel).


In 1996, Kathie Lee Gifford"s financially rewarding business undertaking to market her very own line of branded clothes at Wal-Mart stores go out up in she face. As soon as labor activist Charles Kernaghan visited a Honduran factory, he to be shocked to uncover the job-related was being excellent by children, wherein "young girls continuously were groped by the bosses," reported The Los Angeles Times. At a clandestine conference with several of the young woman workers, they noted evidence of how little they were paid, along with labels from the clothing they produced. These labels featured the logo of Kathie Lee"s apparel line.


Suddenly, Kathie Lee"s name was associated with sweatshops in occurring nations. She go on the air come tearfully insurance claim no knowledge of what was going ~ above in those factories. Climate further news emerged: workers who created items for Kathie Lee"s heat in a factory in new York"s Garment ar were owed earlier wages that the factory"s owner refused to pay. Together The brand-new York Times reported, she reacted by informing her TV viewers she "was physical sick to stomach" about the totality situation. 

Frank Gifford pertained to the rescue. To aid out with damage control, he saw the factory, moving $7,500 in cash so he can hand out hundred-dollar bills to the employees who"d been stiffed.


For viewers of Live v Regis and also Kathie Lee, Kathie Lee Gifford"s marriage to candid Gifford showed up to it is in storybook perfection. Yet 1997 confirmed to be a dark time for the couple when a report in a supermarket tabloid stirred up the kind of scandal nobody had seen coming.


As People reported, the Globe published a story alleging the Frank had an work with trip attendant Suzen Johnson. The Giffords" very first response to be to denounce the claim as a "total fabrication" — a defense the crumbled when The Globe subsequently published photos taken native a video clip of among Frank"s hotel-room encounters through Suzen. The Giffords" PR strategy instantly shifted. "This experience has actually been together painful for united state as it would certainly be for any kind of other couple," they stated in a statement, adding, "However, us will gain through this together."

Reports in ~ the time indicated Frank may have been set up, with Suzen allegedly paid $75,000 by the tabloid to tempt Frank to she hotel room. Globe editor Tony Frost dismissed the criticism, mentioning to People that the former NFL an excellent "was not dragged kicking and screaming to the room." Meanwhile, the couple"s lawyer told People they to be "exploring legal options."


In a 2017 execution of Today, Kathie Lee Gifford opened up about the scandal the just around destroyed she marriage twenty years earlier. While she and Frank Gifford were able to move past his infidelity and the very public humiliation that had actually been heaped ~ above her, she admitted to co-host Hoda Kotb the it wasn"t easy. Being cheated on by one"s spouse, she admitted, is "no fun. It"s horrible. It"s a significant test of her relationship."


Asked by Kotb if she"d been tempted to finish the marital relationship when Frank"s cheating scandal make headlines, Kathie Lee admitted the she had. "Of course," she said, adding, "You"re broken. You"re damaged by it."

As Kathie Lee spicy out, "It take away a life time to construct that sort of friendship and history together and trust, and it take away one stupid decision to destroy it." The means she regarded it, exiting a marriage over an infidelity is an easy method out; continuing to be married and trying to placed the relationship back together is the hard grunt job-related of a lasting partnership. "A lot of of people get divorced because that a hangnail this days," she quipped.

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Back in 2000, Kathie Lee Gifford got candid during a visit to CNN"s Larry King Live. As she revealed, if attending marriage counseling, the therapist told she something that showed her a path forward. "If friend can"t forgive your husband, forgive her children"s father," the therapist told her. "And the hit me in my heart so deeply, due to the fact that I don"t recognize a much better man, a better father than my husband is," she said King, adding, "I said, "Yes, yes, and also there is so much still over there to love.""


The way Kathie Lee approached her decision to stay with her unfaithful husband, she explained, to be to look at the pros and also cons with a kind of "justice scale," comparing "the hurt through the happiness." till that point, she admitted, Frank had actually never given her a reason to mistrust him. "So this to be an aberration in mine husband"s life," she said. 

"Do i throw away a fine, truly loving, great man who"s completed enormous quantities of an excellent things in his life? should he be characterized by one stupid mistake?" she asked. If someone can"t pardon a person who is "truly, important broken-hearted by the pain the they"ve caused," she added, "then what"s that say about you, if girlfriend can"t forgive?"


In respectable 2015, the Today show issued a sad statement, reported The brand-new York Post: Frank Gifford had passed far of natural causes at age 84. He and Kathie Lee had actually been married because that 29 years.

Just over a week later, Kathie Lee Gifford changed to Today and offered a touching on-air tribute to she late husband. "We will miss him so much," Kathie Lee said viewers, adding, "We all keep expecting him to come around the corner." 


She recounted Frank"s last moments, together the family was prepare to walk to church on Sunday morning. "He passed away instantly the morning," she said. "Having his coffee, watching his TV and also getting all set to go, ready for church." She also shared her gratitude the his death came quickly, and not from a slow, lingering illness. "I"m happy the lord took that that means because the only thing frank has ever been fear of his entire life to be being a burden to those the loved. He never ever wanted to it is in hooked approximately machines; he never ever wanted to shed his dignity."


Kathie Lee Gifford had actually been a widow for an ext than 2 years when she debuted an additional on-air tribute to her late husband frank Gifford: the live power debut the a tune she had actually co-written in his honor, title "He experienced Jesus." Speaking with Today co-host Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee admitted she to be "a wreck" in anticipation of singing the brand-new song ~ above the show for the very first time. 


"We knew it was a distinct song because it is just so gut-level honest," Kathie Lee said throughout the show, adding, "And us knew it to be a song that would touch people, and that was the whole suggest of it."

Not just did the track pay tribute come Frank, it also raised money for a an excellent cause. According to Today, every proceeds native the tune would it is in donated come Samaritan"s Purse, described as "a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical help to hurting people around the world."


In December 2018, Kathie Lee Gifford told Today viewers the she would certainly be leave the display in April of the following year. In enhancement to relocating out of her longtime television role, she later on made a physical relocate to Nashville, Tenn., her new home. 


Gifford reverted to Today in January 2020 to share details about her life because exiting Today, and why she made decision to relocate out the the Connecticut home that she and also Frank Gifford had shared because that decades. After ~ the couple"s children, Cody and Cassidy, moved out, she admitted that a house that was as soon as "teeming" with life "came come feel choose a mortuary." The loneliness, she admitted "was crippling." 

In one interview with The Tennessean, Kathie Lee explained how moving to Nashville had actually opened up her life, permitting her to move on in a means she couldn"t while life in she Connecticut home. "Here"s the bad news — I"m a widow, an orphan, and an empty nester," she said the newspaper, adding, "The great news is, I have actually the liberty of a widow, one orphan, and also an empty nester... I"m having actually the life i could"ve only ever dreamed of."