“Today” host Kathie Lee Gifford revealed she has been “dealing with crippling loneliness” following the deaths of her husband and mother.
Gifford, 65, is preparing to say goodbye to the “Today” show on April 5 after 11 years on the program. However, the longtime television personality got candid about being a widow and empty nester. Gifford’s mother Joan Epstein died in September 2017. Her husband, Frank Gifford, passed away in August 2015.
"You battle a lot of things when you get older, especially as a widow, when you lose a spouse," Gifford told AARP The Magazine, according to "Entertainment Tonight." "It dawned on me the other day, I'm a widow, I'm an orphan, because my mother also passed and I'm an empty nester all at the same time. If you're not careful, what you've lost in life can define you. It's so much healthier to be defined by what you still have. I'm making big changes in my life because I need to, really big changes that are feeding my soul. Otherwise, despair sets in and loneliness can be crippling."
"I didn't have to stay in this big house anymore," she continued. "I found myself dealing with crippling loneliness. I had to make moves and spiritual moves. You gotta make new memories or the old ones are going to kill you."
Gifford spoke about leaving “Today” and said she can focus on a new dream.
"Maybe it is someone else's dream job," Gifford told AARP The Magazine. "But there was a more powerful dream within me that had yet to be fulfilled. All I ever wanted to do, from the time I was a little girl, was sing and be in movies."
Before Gifford was on “Today,” she co-hosted “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” from 1988 to 2000.