As Michael Strahan prepares to exit LIVE this Friday, May 13, the show's longtime leading lady, Kelly Ripa, is addressing the drama that followed the announcement of his departure last month. As the legend goes, Kelly was made aware of Michael's plans to leave the talk show for a full-time post on Good Morning America at the same time the news was sent to the media. She subsequently stepped away from the cameras for a few days. Now, she tells People all about the events surronding the former football player's latest play.
"There's a part of me that can say, 'Okay, I understand. This may have been an oversight,'" Kelly said of the timing around when she found out. "And again, after 26 years [with ABC], at this point we are like a family. And sometimes when you are so comfortable with somebody, you may not give them the same consideration as somebody you're not as comfortable with — a certain formality falls away."
Kelly, who joined the show in 2001, noted that her response to Michael's news was prompted by the fact that she believed that "all people are deserving of fair treatment in the work place." "People deserve respect. People should be treated equally and with dignity. I think that requires a certain amount of empathy on a level," she continued. "When you're dealing with big business, it's easy to forget that you're dealing with people and that people have feelings. It's easy to just look at it like a business unit, a unit, a unit."
Still, she's looking forward to what's next for Michael as he begins his new gig. "I get it. We're excited for Michael. He wanted that job, and it's great for him. I think it is a perfect match, I really do," she said. "However, what nobody considered is there's a whole other group of people that it really impacts, because we have to now find another great person."
Jimmy Kimmel has been tapped as the first guest co-host on May 16, and now, Kelly is looking towards the future. "People make mistakes, and we're all human," she said. "They're human and I'm human. We all have these moments, and it's about how you move forward and how you begin again."
Check out some throwback photos of Kelly in the Clubhouse below.