For someone whose been in the media industry for more than 50 years, Kathie Lee Gifford has still never considered herself a journalist.
The Today show co-host claims she has “too much respect for a lot of journalists” to consider herself one.
Gifford, 62, who works as a co-host with Hoda Kotb on the fourth hour of the Today show, has had her fair share of experience in the news business from her time on Good Morning America to her 15-year run on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Though she considers what she does as more “fun” more than anything else.
“What I do with Hoda can not be called journalism, let’s be honest. It’s very much reminiscent of what I did with Regis for 15 years, we’re just two people who have no idea what we’re going to talk about who just sit there and have fun,” said Gifford at an exclusive party for the opening of Mitchell’s Fish Market in Edgewater, New Jersey, where Gifford is promoting her wine brand GIFFT which she began more than two years ago.
In addition to Kotb, 51, Gifford also had a lot of positive things to say about her former co-host Regis Philbin.
“We’re even closer friends now than we were then,” she told PEOPLE. “We’ve shared so much through all the years, he’s lost his son, I’ve lost my husband, our children are grown, we’ve shared a lot of things.”
Gifford also has the media industry to thank for introducing her to her late husband, Frank Gifford, who died nearly a year ago – the two met as colleagues on Good Morning America.
“Our worlds didn’t collide, they just meshed beautifully,” she says.
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She also revealed that her dad, a diehard Baltimore Colts fans, wasn’t exactly a fan of the fact that he played for rival team the New York Giants.
“He just couldn’t stand the Giants, but my daddy used to say, ‘But that Frank Gifford – I like that Frank Gifford, he’s got a lot of class.’ So it was weird to marry that guy, my father couldn’t believe it, ‘You’re marrying a Giant?!’ ” she says with a laugh.
Whether Gifford considers herself a true journalist, the business is what has connected her with some of her closest friends throughout her life.
“Our show, Kathie Lee & Hoda, became this hit which was a complete surprise to absolutely everybody,” she says. “I intended to stay a year when I joined with Hoda, and we’re in our ninth year, I just fell in love with her. She’ll be one of my dearest friends until the day I die.”
“I’ve had two hits in my life with two different incredible people,” she adds. “I’m blessed.”