"I'm not interested in something that isn't magnificent," Kathie Lee Gifford says

By Charlotte Triggs and Natalie Stone
March 28, 2019 10:00 AM
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Nearly four years after Kathie Lee Gifford said goodbye to her husband Frank Gifford, she’s open to romance again.

“I had a great love,” Gifford, 65, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue (on stands Friday) about Frank, who died in August 2015 at age 84. “How many people have great love?”

Over the course of their nearly 30-year marriage (they wed in 1986), Gifford and Frank welcomed two children: Cody, 29, and Cassidy, 25.

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Now that her time at the Today show is coming to an end, and her son and daughter are living across the country in Los Angeles, the mother of two is ready to embrace her new chapter of life — including dating.

“I had a friend of mine who asked me a couple of years ago after Frank passed, he said, ‘Sorry, I guess Frank was the love of your life, right?’ … And I said ‘so far.’ I was kind of surprised by my answer because it was like optimistic, so far,” says Gifford.

Frank Gifford and Kathie Lee Gifford
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

“Love can happen at any time,” she shares. “And then he said, ‘I’ve never had a love like that in my life.’ I said, ‘Not yet. I have, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have another one.’ And he hasn’t, but that doesn’t mean he won’t.”

  • For more from Kathie Lee Gifford, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Perry Hagopian

While Gifford is making herself available to the dating scene — “I’ve only had one date in three-and-a-half years,” she says — she isn’t rushing love.

“I’m not interested in something that isn’t magnificent,” she says.

Now, as she prepares for her final broadcast on the Today show on April 5, she’s also looking forward to her full-time move to Nashville, Tennessee, where she’ll be focusing on her music career.

While she has “no plans to” get rid of the Gifford family home in Connecticut, Gifford’s excited about her relocation.

“I moved to Nashville to save my life,” she says.

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“I just know that creatively, I’m an artist. Artists need to create, or they die on the vine and that was what was going to happen to me. I saw it happening and it was not healthy. And I said, ‘I’m moving to this place where I’ve been going down every weekend and hanging out with those people,’ ” she explains of Music City. “You walk down the streets and little towns in the Nashville area, there’s church bells ringing.”

Although the transition from the Big Apple to Tennessee is “bittersweet,” Gifford, who is a devout Christian, is leaning on her faith as she steps into this new season of life.

“If you keep God in the equation, He knows your needs, He knows your desires. He knows everything before we even speak. He knows our hearts. He knows my heart’s desire is to be a fulfilled, complete human being,” she says.

Brian Doben

“Do I need a man in my life? Well, I’ve got Cody,” she says of her son. “I’ve got a man in my life. I’ve got great male friends. Do I need companionship? Yes, I do, and that’s one of the main reasons I moved to Nashville.”

Says Gifford, “Not that I’m looking for a man. What I’m looking for is an active, vibrant life.”