Regis Philbin Discusses His Strained Relationship with Former Co-Host Kelly Ripa
In an interview with Larry King Now on Tuesday, the former Live! with Regis and Kelly host — who signed off from his ABC hosting duties in 2011 — discussed the status of his relationship with Ripa, 46.
Asked by King if he keeps in touch with Ripa, Philbin responded, “Not really, no.”
Ripa joined the talk show in 2001 and co-hosted alongside Philbin for 10 years until audiences said farewell to him during his tear-filled last episode in 2011.
Despite being the face of the talk show for 28 years, Philbin, 85, revealed that he has not been asked back since leaving: “Never once did they ask me to go back.”
“She got very offended when I left. She thought I was leaving because of her,” Philbin said of Ripa, and added, “I was leaving because I was getting older and it wasn’t right for me anymore.”
Though Philbin claimed Ripa took his exit personally and hasn’t asked him back, the TV veteran did return for a show in October 2015.
And according to Dave Davis, the President and General Manager of Live’s production company WABC, the invitation for Philbin to return is very much still open to this day.
“It was wonderful to have Regis on the show for our 2015 Halloween special,” Davis told PEOPLE in a statement. “He’s also been invited back several times as a guest and, in fact, was confirmed for a date, but was not able to make it at the time.”
On his final show, Philbin told Ripa as they walked down the hallway to the studio for their final show together, “Every morning, I’ll think about this.”
“Thank you for everything,” said a teary Ripa as they embraced before the show. “I love you.”
During the LKN interview, Philbin also opened up about missing his hosting duties — and addressed whether he’d ever return to his past occupation.
“I don’t know. How often would it be? Would it be every night? Every day?” Philbin asked King when he was questioned about returning. “I do miss it. There are times when I really miss it and wish I’d never stopped. But, you know, I just figured it was time to let go.”
Live with Kelly airs weekdays (check local listings).