Kelly Ripa confides in her difficult beginnings on American television: “I didn’t have it easy”

Kelly Ripa opens up about her difficult beginnings on American television: &laquo ;I didn’t have it easy”


Misogyny, sexism, pay inequity… Kelly Ripa's first steps on American television were not easy. Now that she's risen through the industry ranks, the 52-year-old host opens up about her past struggles in a lengthy interview with Variety magazine.  

“If I had known how difficult it was going to be, I don’t think I would have tried my luck. I think my ignorance in this situation has been a blessing and a superpower for me. I did not have it easy, ”she confides to the American media.

After making her debut on the American soap opera All My Children, Kelly Ripa landed in millions of homes thanks to her position on Regis Philbin's morning talk show in 2001. More than two decades – and three more co-hosts late – she still holds the forte of Live, the ABC network's popular morning show.

She is now nicknamed the “queen” of this time slot, just like Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue, Jerry Springer and Regis Philbin before her. But the first steps of his ascent were anything but easy. 

Offices and toilets

Examples? She had to wait more than four years before getting her office behind the scenes of the ABC daily, despite her repeated requests. Premises, although vacant, had until then been refused to him.

The management of the studio finally gave in… agreeing to free up space for him in a cupboard reserved for the concierge. 

And while her co-host Regis Philbin had a private bathroom at his disposal, Kelly Ripa had to line up with viewers of the show to use the studio's public toilets during commercial breaks.  

“During my pregnancies, it was incredibly exhausting to have to wait in line [to use the toilet]. I had to host the show while I was still in line to go to the bathroom. It all seemed like an unnecessarily complicated situation to me,” she told Variety. . Among other things, she learned of the departure of her colleague Regis Philbin on the air, at the same time as the public. The same goes for the departure of her successor, Michael Strahan, whom she only learned once his new contract was formalized.

“I know what it's like to feel like you're not wanted. I've been an actress so I'm an expert on rejection. But in these cases, it was strange to feel rejected while remaining the person they had hired for the show, ”she explains to the American magazine. 

< strong>Pay equity

As for pay, it has long been a point of contention for Kelly Ripa. She had to fight hard — and long — against Live show executives to get pay equity with her male co-hosts. It was finally after an argument that she received her “due”, according to her comments reported by Variety. 

“I don't think they wanted to pay me. I believe they had to pay me. I was about to leave, closing the door behind me. And I think they realized quickly that they had made a big mistake and it didn't make them look good. I believe that is what prompted them to pay my dues. They had no choice,” she says.