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Kathie Lee Gifford on the moment she decided to forgive Frank for his infidelity

The former fourth hour co-host looks back on the biggest challenge she faced in her 28-year marriage to the late Frank Gifford.
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Five years after Frank Gifford’s death, Kathie Lee Gifford looks back on his infidelity and the toll it took — and the one it could have taken — on their family.Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic
/ Source: TODAY

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In the new book “It's Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best Act of Your Life,” Kathie Lee Gifford reflects on touchstone moments in her life that have led her to where she is now — living her dreams and discovering new ones at 67.

Of course, not all of the moments she looks back on were good ones. But she’s able to see how even the worst of them helped shape her and her family’s lives, including the public scandal and personal pain that came with her late husband’s infidelity.

"It's Never Too Late," by Kathie Lee Gifford

In an interview with "ET," Kathie Lee said she “didn’t want to” revisit Frank Gifford’s 1997 affair and said they “struggled after that for a long time.”

But she couldn’t leave such a transformative event out of her memoir.

“He knew that I would never again be exactly the same as I was before I knew the truth of what he had done,” she told "ET."

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It’s a topic she’s broached here on TODAY in the past.

“It takes a lifetime to build that kind of friendship and history together and trust,” she once told her former co-host Hoda Kotb. “And it takes one stupid decision to destroy it.”

However, Kathie Lee and Frank, who wed in 1986, remained together until his death in 2015.

“Sometimes you run out of time to build it up again,” she told Hoda. “I was grateful that we could.”

It wasn't easy though.

As she writes in her book, after learning of the affair, "(Frank) wasn’t my hero anymore." It took the words of a therapist to help her find a way to forgive and go forward.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford seen with their children, Cody and Cassidy, in 2005.FilmMagic

"He said words that are now emblazoned on my heart: 'Kathie, if you can’t forgive your husband, forgive your children’s father,'" she recalled. "It was a revelatory moment. It took my eyes off of me and set them squarely on my children, who were still completely unaware of their father’s unfaithfulness. My children’s father was a wonderful, loving, gentle, compassionate, generous, and sweet man. He was easy to forgive because I knew his heart."

In her chat with "ET," Kathie Lee explained how that perspective changed everything for them and their now-adult children, Cody and Cassidy, too.

“We stayed together, we saved our marriage, we saved — by God's grace — our children," she said. "I knew my children would be very, very different people if we had broken up at that time.”