Kelly Ripa Admits 'Being in Front of the Camera Is Not Something I've Ever Enjoyed': 'It's Painful'

"I don't like the attention," said the Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host

Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Kelly Ripa struggles with being in front of the camera, even after decades on the small screen.

The actress-turned-television personality, 50, started in soaps like All My Children in the 1990s before transitioning full time to talk show host. Speaking with Bethenny Frankel on the Real Housewives of New York City alum's Just B podcast Tuesday, Ripa said she has always had difficulty being on screen.

"I've been saying that it's time to 'fold 'em' for 20 years. For 20 years I've been saying, 'I can't do it anymore. I can't do it. I'm too old for this crap. I need to find another career. I need to get off camera.' I've been saying that forever," the Live with Kelly and Ryan host revealed.

"Being in front of the camera is not something I've ever enjoyed. I'm not very comfortable. I always say I could do my job for 200 years if it didn't happen on camera," she added.

Frankel, 50, then asked, "Are you self-conscious about the way you look or you don't want the attention on you?" Ripa replied, "All of that! I don't like the attention, I don't go to parties, I don't go to Hollywood events. I don't do any of that stuff. I would rather buy clothes than have to ask to borrow anything. It's painful."

Later in the conversation, Ripa admitted, "I don't love being on camera. It's never been something that fed me in any sort of egotistical way. I find my own voice grating, so I apologize to your listeners if they're like, 'This is nails on a chalkboard.' I feel you."

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Chatting with Frankel, Ripa commented on whether she feels like she's a polarizing public figure — something she said is inevitable if television personalities are being their authentic selves.

"I don't think you can work in any field in entertainment and not be polarizing. It's one thing I learned right away. And I'm taking the acting off the table — I'm talking about being yourself, which very few people actually are," she said. "I am myself. You may not like it, it may not be for you, but here's the good news: It's always the same."

"It's not like, 'Lights on, here we go.' You're going to get what you're going to get whether you bump into me at a restaurant or whether you're watching me on the show," the television host continued. "Do I say everything I'm thinking? No, of course I don't. I'm walking a fine line. It's a corporate space, there are certain rules I have to follow."

"But on the opposite side of the spectrum … I've been working for the same company for 30 years. I've never left ABC. … The relationships I've had, I've had for a very long time. Three decades is a long time in any job," she pointed out.

<a href="" data-inlink="true">KELLY RIPA</a>, RYAN SEACREST
Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest. Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and TV Distribution/Pawel Kaminski

In November, Ripa and her talk show co-host Ryan Seacrest talked told Entertainment Tonight about how the series is like "therapy" for them. "Working with your friends is a great privilege. It is a joy, and I have to say that it is a rare thing to work with a guy who is so authentic and fun and joyful and humble and generous and kind to everyone," Ripa said at the time. "What you see of Ryan on the air is the person he is backstage, which is a unique thing."

"It's a weird codependency," she added of their friendship, joking, "We're happy to have our psychiatric episodes unfold before everyone on live TV."

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