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Did Regis Philbin Tell Kathie Lee Gifford About Retirement Before Kelly Ripa?

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Which 'Live' co-host knew first? (ABC)

When Regis Philbin announced his retirement from "Live" Tuesday morning, fans across the country looked to his current and former co-hosts for a reaction to the shocking news.

But while Kelly Ripa looked genuinely shocked and saddened, his former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford mentioned that she was aware of the impending announcement, and had kept it a secret for some time.

“We try to have dinner like every six weeks or something, and the last couple of times that we had dinner he was talking very openly with me about it,” Gifford told Access Hollywood. “He said, ‘I think it’s going to be at the end of this contract year,’ which would be September 2011, so that’s exactly what it’s going to be.”

“"I'm thrilled for Regis,” Gifford told FOX411 via statement.

But while Gifford may have known beforehand, Ripa didn’t find out until minutes before they went on air, TMZ reports.

TMZ said that Ripa was absolutely “stunned” that he didn’t tell her in advance. According to their sources, Philbin was concerned the information would have leaked out.

But  apparently he trusted Gifford with the news. 

She also added, “Although he'll never retire, I think his most enjoyable days are ahead of him and I hope I'm a part of them."

Ripa became teary eyed on the show Tuesday morning when speaking about Philbin’s departure.

“I can only speak for America and all of us here when I say it’s been a pleasure and a privilege and a dream come true and I wish I could do something to make you change your mind,” Ripa said.

According to reps for “Live,” the show will continue on without Philbin, although a replacement has yet to be named.

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