The longtime morning show host stepped away from the NBC program in April after 11 years

By Jodi Guglielmi
November 12, 2019 11:17 AM
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Gifford stopped by Today with Hoda & Jenna on Tuesday, marking her first appearance on the show since her departure in April. Gifford reunited with her former co-host and close friend Hoda Kotb, who now hosts the fourth hour of Today with Jenna Bush Hager.

The segment opened with Gifford hilariously struggling to get through security.

“Remember me?” she said as the security guard confiscated her bottle of wine. “It’s Kathie!”

Then Gifford, 66, came out with a glass of wine in hand and greeted Kotb, 55, with a big hug.

“I didn’t realize it’s been seven months since I was here,” she admitted.

Gifford gave an update on her life since moving to Nashville, saying she loves the relaxed attitude of the south.

“There’s a different culture down there. It’s a culture of kindness in Nashville,” she said. “They are authentically kind. They are joyful, they have so much fun.”

“I wake up and there are church bells ringing all around me,” she added. “It’s just a different attitude.”

And while she said she’s been on a few dates, she hasn’t found love quite yet. (Her longtime husband, the late Frank Gifford, died in August 2015 at age 84.)

“I went out on a couple of dates,” she said. “I just went out with friends to a club to hear my favorite band down there. This sweet guy asked me to dance and I said okay. It was fun because I hadn’t been on a date in 33 years. It’s surreal. The world has changed so much. He was a gentleman. It was fine, it was fun.”

She also talked about her upcoming Hallmark film, A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love. “It took me a while to convince Hallmark that there’s a huge demographic of people out there that don’t want faith taken out of stories,” she said.

Gifford stepped away from the NBC program on April 5 after 11 years, admitting at the time that saying goodbye was “bittersweet.”

“I thought I’d stay a year, and here it is 11 years later. And in those 11 years a lot of life has happened,” Gifford told PEOPLE before her final broadcast. “I fell in love with the people and I intend to take them with me wherever I go.”

Hoda Kotb (left) and Kathie Lee Gifford

And while Gifford said she misses her time on Today, she also recently told PEOPLE she makes a point not to watch the show.

“I haven’t watched the show once,” the Daytime Emmy winner said in May. “I never watched the show when I left Regis. When I leave, I leave with a lot of love in my heart but dreams for the future. I never look back, you can’t. It will entrap you and you will spend your whole life thinking about what you lost as opposed to what you still have.”

“I knew when to leave,” she added. “Leave when you’re on a high. Leave when everyday else thinks you’re crazy to leave, that’s when you should.”

Today airs weekdays on NBC.