Kathie Lee Gifford had to move away to find herself again.
The former TODAY with Kathie Lee and Hoda host, who now calls Nashville home, returned to TODAY on Thursday to talk with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager about how lonely she felt living in her Connecticut home after husband Frank passed away and their children moved away.
“This home of mine in Connecticut where Frank and I raised our beautiful children and we had so many happy years, when I was living there alone, dogs can only do so much for you and I love my dogs, but it went from being the most teeming, thrilling, joyful, all the dog sounds, the kid sounds, the smoke in the grill and, you know, it just was life,” she said.
“Then it came to feel like a mortuary with me just there alone. And I said I need to make a new life for myself or this one’s gonna kill me. The loneliness was crippling. It was crippling,” she said.
Kathie Lee, 66, found solace working alongside Hoda, but realized she needed a change.
“And I lived to come in to be with you in the morning because that was — and then I’d go home to it again at night. And I said, ‘Where is there life in abundance?’ And I said, ‘Nashville.’”
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Kathie Lee's comments echo remarks she made last year to AARP The Magazine.
"I didn't have a reason to have to stay in this big house anymore," she said about her Connecticut home. "I found myself dealing with crippling loneliness. I had to make a move to someplace physically, and I had to make emotional moves and spiritual moves. You gotta make new memories or the old ones are going to kill you."
She also addressed the issue in 2018 in a video for the website I Am Second.
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“My biggest struggle at this point of my life is loneliness. I’ve lost my parents, my husband is gone now and my children live far away from me,” she said. “I still live in the same big house where we made a gazillion million memories. And there are times when I am overwhelmed by loneliness.”
The new year is shaping up to be an exciting one for Kathie Lee. Daughter Cassidy and son Cody are each engaged. Kathie Lee announced in November that Cassidy would be tying the knot with boyfriend Ben Wierda. In May, she revealed Cody was engaged to girlfriend Erika Brown. She also has Hoda’s wedding in her datebook as well.
“I got three big weddings this year and I’m just excited,” she said Thursday on TODAY, while also including Hoda’s impending nuptials.
“It’s life, it’s like the thing I was talking about before. You can’t concentrate on what you’ve lost. You will lose whatever life you have left if you do that. It’ll eat you alive.”