Kelly Ripa says she 'needlessly' had to share a bathroom with the audience during her first few years on 'Live!' though Regis Philbin had a private bathroom
Kelly Ripa told Variety that in her early years at "Live!" she had to share a bathroom with the audience.
She said that she had to do this while pregnant, which was "extraordinarily exhausting."
At the time, Philbin had a private bathroom and office. Ripa worked from a janitor's closet.
In a recent interview with Variety, Kelly Ripa revealed that she had to share a bathroom with the audience during her early years cohosting "Live with Regis and Kelly" even though Regis Philbin had a private bathroom and she was pregnant for some of that time.
"We have a studio audience — like 250 people! — and I have to queue up," Ripa told Variety chief correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister. "Particularly when I was pregnant, it was extraordinarily exhausting to have to wait in line. I have to host the show, and I'm still waiting in line to use the bathroom."
"It just seemed, you know, a very needlessly difficult situation," she continued, noting that the people she was standing in line with to use the bathroom "couldn't believe it either."
Ripa, who is Variety's "Power of Women" honoree, also recalled that she was forced to use a janitor's closet as an office, and didn't even get that space until she was on "Live!" for more than three years.
Even in 2012, after Philbin had left the show and Michael Strahan joined the rebranded "Live with Kelly and Michael," Ripa said she was initially told that the newly available office space was being saved for the "new guy."
"And I looked at them, and I said, 'I am the new guy,'" Ripa remembered. "I just moved my things. I forced my way into the office because I couldn't understand how I would still be in the janitor's closet and somebody new would come in and get the office."
The former "All My Children" star also said that ABC only agreed to her current salary, which Variety reported as "in the range of $20 million per year," because they "had to."
"I was trying to walk out the door and close it behind me. And I think they really figured out rapidly that they had screwed up in a major way, and it was not a good look," she said.
Ripa said she enjoys her working environment with cohost Ryan Seacrest today, though the "American Idol" host will be leaving "Live!" after season 35, which is currently airing. He'll be replaced with Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos, which wasn't the couple's idea.
She's been open about being treated poorly by executives in the past, particularly around 2016 when ABC executive Ben Sherwood began planning to poach Strahan from "Live!" for "Good Morning America," and everyone reportedly insisted that Ripa was not to be informed.
Since that experience, she's been more open about her fight to help women get paid and treated fairly in the workplace.
In her 2022 memoir, "Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories," Ripa recalled the "petty" list of dealbreakers she was given before she was offered the role of permanent co-host.
She said that, per her contract, "there would be no wardrobe services or budget," adding that that "never happens on any show." Additionally, she said she was told there would be no paid maternity leave.
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