brightcove.createExperiences(); Kelly Ripa made her much-anticipated return to Live! With Kelly and Michael on Tuesday a week after co-host Michael Strahan announced his plans to leave the show – and Bellamy Young was there to watch it all unfold.
Of the vibe at the morning show following a dramatic week, Young said, “They were tense, bless their hearts.”
“Backstage there was some tension because it could have gone any way but once it got underway it was beautiful,” Young told McCarthy, 43. “Kelly gave a monologue, she got to clear the air and then they went on. They’re professional people.”
Young, 46, noted that Ripa, 45, and Strahan, 44, weren’t talking ahead of walking on set hand-in-hand, explaining, “It was sort of separate.”
“Then everybody went out and the show started, and everybody remembers that we’re grownups and we have jobs and we do our jobs,” she concluded.
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During the show, Ripa addressed the audience solo, explaining of her week-long absence after learning of Strahan’s plan to move to Good Morning America, “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company I earned the right. … In that timed I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart so I didn’t want to come out here and say something I regret.”
After Live! on Tuesday, PEOPLE learned that Strahan will be leaving earlier than expected – May 13. ABC confirmed the news in a statement, calling the expedited departure “a plan that best advantages both shows for the future.”
Live! With Kelly and Michael airs weekdays (check local listings).