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Gossip & Rumors: Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls Late Husband Frank's

GOSSIP & RUMORS: Kathie Lee Gifford recalls late husband Frank’s ‘very painful’ affair: ‘We struggled’

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Kathie Lee Gifford is opening up about her late husband Frank’s affair in a new interview, which she described as “very painful.”

In 1997, the former athlete had an affair with Suzen Johnson, a former flight attendant. At the time, the married couple’s children Cassidy and Cody were 4 years old and 7, respectively.

The Giffords at the time claimed that The Globe hired Johnson and set up Frank. In 2000, Johnson told Howard Stern that Frank called her once the photos were released.

“Did he yell? . . . Didn’t he say to you, ‘How could you do this to me?’” Stern asked.

“No, he wanted to know when we could see each other again,” Johnson said. Ron Konecky, the lawyer who represented the Giffords, said Johnson’s claim was “a terrible, offensive, fantasy lie.”

Ultimately, the TV personality forgave Frank and they were married until his death in 2015 at age 84.

Kathie Lee Gifford, Cody and Cassidy and Frank Gifford. FilmMagic

“I could have let the seed germinate but I don’t want to be that person, that bitter, angry, unhappy, miserable human being ’cause you know what you end up doing? You end up making everybody around you every bit as miserable,” Gifford told Entertainment Tonight in a new interview.

“I have always felt from my earliest youth that I had the choice every day of my life to be a blessing or a burden and I want to be a blessing.”

One of the reasons she stayed with Frank was because of their children.

“It’s not a bed of roses. I mean, we struggled after that for a long time. 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 explained.

“I knew my children would be very, very different people if we had broken up at that time.”

Gifford noted that it was also “a choice” to forgive and that she previously experienced heartbreak when she was married to Christian composer Paul Johnson. The pair wed in 1976 but split in 1982 due to irreconcilable differences.

Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford at “Come Fly Away” in New York on March 25, 2010. AP

“I’d been married before to a man who betrayed me deeply and I forgave him right away. You don’t hold on, don’t wait to forgive … you’re only hurting yourself,” she told ET. “Immediately forgive because love cannot live where hate does.”

The former “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” co-host didn’t want to live in a “toxic” environment in her marriage with Frank.

Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford attend the American Theatre Wing’s 2009 Spring Gala in NYC. Getty Images

“It’s a cancer in your soul and I don’t want that. I don’t want it for me, I don’t want it for anyone I love. I want people to be blessed and we all make our choices,” she added. “We all make our choices — he [Frank] made a different one than I did and we all live with them. But I can live with the choices I have made if I have truly experienced a deep and abiding forgiveness of that person.”

Gifford opened up further about the scandal in her 2020 book, “It’s Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best Act of Your Life.” She “didn’t want to” at first, but felt it was important to share.



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