Kelly Ripa 'Is Feeling Hurt and Betrayed on So Many Levels' – and Her On-Air Absence 'Was Not Planned' – amid Fallout from Michael Strahan's Exit: Source
The Live! host took the day off after being "blindsided" by co-host Michael Strahan's exit news
brightcove.createExperiences(); It’s turning into a rough week for Kelly Ripa.
When news broke on Tuesday that Michael Strahan was leaving her side after just four years for a plum new role at Good Morning America, a source tells PEOPLE the longtime host of Live! was hurt she had to hear at the same time as the rest of the world.
“She is feeling so hurt and betrayed on so many levels,” says a source close to Ripa, 45, who adds the host feels specifically hurt “by Michael.”
After Regis Philbin announced he was leaving the show in 2011 and ABC was seeking someone to fill the legend’s shoes, “She was [Strahan’s] champion,” says the source. “She pushed for him to get the gig in the first place.”
After Philbin, “She agonized over who would be the best partner for her in the long run. She wanted the same kind of partnership she had with Regis.” But shortly after launching into a successful run as a must-watch morning duo with Strahan, the source says the relationship began to splinter. “The minute he got in that seat he started acting like he was the biggest star on the planet.”
The source also claims Strahan began looking for his next big gig almost immediately.
“Michael’s not the boss of the network. He’s an employee,” says another source close to show. “He didn’t make this decision. The network offered him a job, it didn’t happen over night.”
When it comes to ABC, “Kelly feels like they’re telling her they don’t value her or the show,” says the Ripa source. “She was a barely known soap actress and she revitalized the whole show.”
Ripa was a no-show on Wednesday morning’s episode, leaving Strahan to address the news of his departure with stand-in co-host Ana Gasteyer. “No, it was not a planned day off,” the source says, contradicting ABC’s initial claim that Ripa’s absence was on the books before the Strahan news broke.
But for the mother of three, it’s been anything but a relaxing day off. “She is just devastated and furious,” says the source. “And she needs time. She’s not planning on going in for the rest of the week.”
Live! With Kelly and Michael airs weekdays (check local listings).