Kathie Lee Gifford Says Regis Philbin's 50-Year Marriage to Wife Joy Was Built on 'Trust and Respect'
"He became more and more reliant on Joy as the years went on," Kathie Lee Gifford says of Regis Philbin, who died July 24
“Regis was a raconteur, a world-class talk show host, and a bon vivant,” Gifford tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“He knew he couldn’t speak and interact the same way he once could. He became more and more reliant on Joy as the years went on," says Gifford, who hosted Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee with Philbin from 1988 to 2000. "That’s the beauty of a long-time marriage and relationship built on trust, respect and real love.”
- For more on Regis Philbin, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Philbin died July 24 of heart disease in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was 88.
On Monday, Gifford, 66, spoke with the Today show and said she paid a visit to Joy on Sunday, giving her condolences to Philbin's loved ones while also giving them the space to grieve in private, something she said she understood.
“We were both blessed to have a lifetime kind of love,” says Gifford.
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