Kathie Lee Gifford said Howard Stern and his wife sent her the "hugest, hugest bouquet of red roses"
The longtime anchor delivered her final broadcast as the host of the show’s popular fourth hour on Friday. She bid farewell to her co-host and close friend Hoda Kotb and the rest of the NBC crew, wrapping up her 11 years with the network.
“I came home yesterday [to] the hugest, hugest bouquet of red roses — you can barely get in my house,” she said. “I’m going, ‘Aw, who did that?’ … It said, ‘to your auspicious’ — or ‘illustrious’ or something — ‘career, all the best’ — take a deep breath — ‘Howard and Beth Stern.’ How nice is that? That man hated my guts for 30 years, and I prayed for him every single day.”
“You turned the beat around!” Kotb remarked.
“I turned it around,” Gifford said. “So I thought, you know, pigs are flying! They’re flying.”
Gifford opened up about how she squashed her feud with radio legend Stern, 65, on the Today show last year while discussing the resolved bad blood between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.
“Howard Stern had a feud with me going on 30 years,” she recalled. “I never met him. I never listened to his show. He hated my guts for 30 years. Hated my husband, hated my children. Hated everything I stood for.”
Then, in 2012, Gifford took the first steps to resolve the matter.
“One day, right here, I was up in the makeup room and all of a sudden he’s here to announce America’s Got Talent,” she said. “I just feel the Lord saying very clearly to me, ‘Go down and say hello to Howard.’ I’m standing right here — he’s 6’6″ and I’m 5’5″ with flat shoes — and I go, ‘Howard, I’m Kathie Lee. I thought it was time I say hello. I want to wish you the very best with your show.’ And I left. He was really flabbergasted.”
According to Gifford, Stern was so shocked by her introduction that he personally reached out to her shortly after.
“There’s a message from him, a voicemail. ‘I was blown away and will you call me?’ ” she said. “He calls again during dinner, we had a half-hour conversation. ‘Will you forgive me, Kathie, please? I’m doing some hard work on my life. I know I hurt you. I’m so sorry and I need to ask you to forgive me.’ “
Gifford told Stern she was happy he was working on himself and that their feud was water under the bridge as she had forgiven him “30 years ago.”
Gifford announced in December that she would be leaving the network in the spring after 11 years in the role to pursue personal projects, including producing Christian music and films. Jenna Bush Hager, 37, will take over co-hosting duties for the NBC morning show’s fourth hour alongside Kotb.
“I thought I’d stay a year and here it is, 11 years later,” Gifford, who is moving to Nashville, recently told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “And in those 11 years a lot of life has happened.”
“The work that I want to do isn’t here anymore,” she continued, gesturing around her dressing room at the show’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studio. “I am an artist, I’m an actress, I’m a writer, I’m a songwriter, a director now. That’s the stuff that feeds my soul and I know that I’m running out of time to do those things.”