Back in May, Michael Strahan officially signed off from his co-hosting duties on LIVE with Kelly and Michael. His exit, of course, quickly became headline news, as it reportedly had shocked his longtime co-host, Kelly Ripa, who did not appear on the show following his resignation. (She had not been told about his decision to leave in advance.) Now as he begins the next chapter in his career as a full-time anchor on Good Morning America, the former football pro reveals if he was at all surprised by Kelly's reaction to the news that he would be stepping down from the talk show. "I wasn't surprised by her reaction at all, but I can't control somebody else's actions," he told PEOPLE. "I was there four years, and it's about more than just being in front of the camera."
In fact, his career on TV was not something he had even anticipated after a successful football career with the New York Giants, which includes winning a Super Bowl and later being inducted into the Hall of Fame. "When I first got the call [to host part-time] a few years ago, I was like, 'I don't know about that,'" he said. "But I realized, am I not doing it because I'm afraid to try or because I can't do it? It was because I was afraid to try. So then when I finally said, 'Okay, I'll give it a shot,' I found that I loved it. I found that I could do it."
As he reflected on his tenure at LIVE, Michael revealed the true nature of his relationship with Kelly off-air. "At one point I think we were friends. I don't know what happened at the end. I learned a lot from her, though," hesaid. "Toward the end of it all, we didn't really communicate that much. I kinda looked at it like, 'It was what it was.' I come from a business where you have to collaborate. The show was going well? We're all winning. That's all that matters to me."
He also noted that he didn't like the way his departure was being addressed in the media. "The most disappointing thing to me was that I was painted as the bad guy, because I value the way I carry myself," he added. "I don't want people to see me as 'Oh, he just ran out, just left them there.' That's just not true."
With Michael settling into his expanded role at GMA, a full-time replacement for his seat at LIVE has yet to be announced. Below, Andy Cohen weighs in on the gig.