Kelly Ripa Gets Emotional About Dropping Off Son Joaquin at College: 'Actually Brutally Painful'

"It was really hard," Kelly Ripa said about saying goodbye to son Joaquin, 18, while dropping him off at college

Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Kelly Ripa is detailing the emotional send-off she had dropping her youngest child off to college.

On Tuesday's episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan, the co-host, 50, recounted what it was like taking 18-year-old Joaquin to the University of Michigan for the start of the semester. Ripa — who also shares daughter Lola, 20, and son Michael, 24, with husband Mark Consuelos — admitted the milestone was "really hard" on her.

"We became empty nesters. We took our youngest son to college, we dropped him off. It was hard. It was really hard," she said during the broadcast.

"My kids had this thing that they used to love that I did when they were little. I would tuck them in bed, give them kisses and cuddles, and then I would say goodnight and I would leave and then I would come back and say, 'One more, one more,' and they would giggle and laugh. Then they would squeal and scream and it was always exciting," she recalled.

"Then they got to be 15, 16 and they were like, 'It's weird.' They're like, filing a restraining order. ... So during the pandemic, when they all moved back home — Joaquin was still back at home at the time — they were in my room, it my 50th birthday, and the kids said, 'Can we sleep in your room tonight so that when you wake up as 50, we're there?' " continued Ripa. "So I kissed them all goodnight and Lola was like, 'Do the thing you used to do.' I said okay and I left my own room and was like, 'Here I come, one more!' And they loved it. They loved it. Then I started doing it again, whenever they were home, I would do it. And Joaquin, I did it until [he moved]. It was cute again!"

Ripa then explained that she again used the family inside joke when saying goodbye to Joaquin at college.

"We dropped him off at school and we gave him a hug — it was actually brutally painful. And I said, 'I did not realize that 18 years would go so fast.' And he didn't say anything, he was just giving me a hug. But he turned to walk away and I said, 'Wait, Joaquin, one more!' And he kept walking," she said through tears on the talk show. "And I knew that it was happening to him too, the emotion."

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"It's one of those things where, you can never be ready," the mom of three said of the big day. "We've done it before but the other two, they stayed in New York so we knew they were there, even though their visits weren't as frequent as we thought."

"I do harken back to that moment we dropped Michael off at his dorm downtown — literally around the block where he grew up. I was like, 'It's so ridiculous that we moved, he could have just lived at home,' " said Ripa. "Afterwards we went and had a celebratory brunch, [Mark and I]. 'The first chicken left the roost, let's have a celebratory brunch.' And we walked in the front door and he's standing there."

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"We were like, 'Michael, what are you doing here?' 'I don't know I just thought I'd spend the weekend with you guys.' I go, 'No no no, now you're in college, so now you go to college.' But it's funny, it seemed like it would be forever, from the time Michael left to Joaquin," the TV personality added.

Ripa also joked that Joaquin is "probably ... going to file a restraining order after this airs."

Sharing how her alone time with Consuelos is going so far, she said it gets easier day by day.

"The world is our oyster," she tells co-host Ryan Seacrest. "I'm not going to lie, the first 48 hours of Mark-and-me time, sitting in abject silence and awkward resentments. There was a moment where he was breathing and I said, 'My gosh, I didn't realize it was so loud every time you breathed.' And then I turned on the lights so I could get back to the bed, and he accused me of turning on the lights aggressively. I turned them on so I can see the bed and not trip over all the crap he leaves on the floor. I just wanted to get on the bed."

She said they went to the beach together with their dogs, watching other families with young kids, jokingly calling them "suckers" while also reminiscing about how time flies.

"Mark and I sat back with the two dogs, and Mark goes, 'Goes in the blink of an eye.' I can't believe we made it," she said. "So what I'm saying … it gets easier, that's all I'm going to say."

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