Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan seemed to be getting along just fine during Tuesday’s “Live! With Kelly and Michael,” but Bellamy Young revealed that things weren’t so cordial backstage. The “Scandal” actress was the first guest on “Live!” following Ripa’s return after a weeklong hiatus stemming from Strahan’s announcement that he’s leaving to join “Good Morning America” full time.
During an interview Tuesday afternoon on the Sirius XM show “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy,” Young admitted that things were a bit awkward behind the scenes. “They were tense, bless their hearts,” she said. “Backstage there was some tension because it could have gone any way, but once it got underway it was beautiful. You know, Kelly gave a monologue and she got to clear the air. They’re professional people.”
When asked whether Ripa and Strahan talked before doing the show, Young said they did not. “They were separate and everybody went out and the show started,” she told McCarthy. “And then everybody remembers that we are grownups and we have jobs and we have to do our jobs.”
As previously reported, shortly after the show ended ABC announced that Strahan would be vacating his “Live!” co-hosting gig a lot sooner than expected. The former football player, 44, was originally supposed to leave in September, but his last day will now be May 13.
Insiders told People magazine that Strahan’s early exit has nothing to do with reports that things are awkward between him and Ripa, 45. “He’ll take the summer off and ‘GMA’ can integrate him early before September, and this will give ‘Live!’ more time to find the co-host,” the insider said.
Ripa has not commented on Strahan leaving the syndicated talk show earlier than expected, but she did take a few minutes during Tuesday’s show to address why she was gone for a week.
“I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right,” she explained. “In that time I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to come out here and say something I might regret.”
Ripa added that her brief departure started conversations about “communication” and “respect” in the workplace. She also told Strahan she was happy for him and assured the audience that ABC will continue to make “Live!” a priority.