It is impossible to talk about the road Kathie Lee Gifford took to forgive her husband Frank, back in the day, and then to reunite with him for the reboot of the Gifford family hosting panel show Today. Frank Gifford, son of the late Dick Allen, was one of the six television personalities to serve as an announcer and/or guest-host on Today. After 30 years of working for the family business (he became part of the cast in 1979), he proposed to Kathie Lee when she was 21 years old.
Frank was in the midst of his trial for sexual assault when the pair married. She worked for him during his trial. When he was acquitted of the charges in 1983, Kathie Lee decided to get out of his life. This decision was challenging. Over the course of her years of writing about Frank, Kathie Lee’s truth has become known to millions. So much so that her insistence on defending him has come to harm. This goes deeper than the allegations against him.
For many, the news of Frank’s court case against Donna Rice was jarring, one that became a blueprint for married couples to avoid. Donna Rice was the woman who caught out Frank Gifford with another woman on a VTA Air charter flight to Las Vegas. While performing an Act of Catering for Frank Gifford’s birthday in 1986, it would later be revealed that Gifford had engaged in sexual acts with three prostitutes and the most damning allegation was an oral copulation act during a phone call. They were each married at the time.
After flying to Nevada together, both were on their own charter flight back to Los Angeles. When they arrived back in the city, Donna Rice and the three prostitutes met up with Frank for dinner and drinks, a night the pair didn’t remember.
The first thing Gifford knew that he was under investigation was when a call came to his house while he was at dinner with Donna. He had just come home from the airport, there was an official knocking on his door at 6:30 p.m. requesting a reaction to some threatening phone calls Donna was receiving at work. It was Frank Gifford and this was not welcome news.
The call ended a week later when Gifford flew to Santa Monica for an interview with NBC News.
After he was not indicted, he and Donna moved on with their lives. They remarried in 1992, and eventually moved to Carmel, California, in California, after her son Cody was born in 1994. They were married for 17 years, and after he died she had his ashes placed in an Eagles and Giants football helmet.
Today is Kathie Lee Gifford’s third time hosting with Hoda Kotb; she started the show in 2009 and has hosted the most recent season as well. Today, Kathie Lee gives an honest, heartfelt and usually “un-PC” take on interviews and everything in the world of culture from political to pop culture. The show has received praise and countless awards. She has also amassed a vast collection of jewels and artifacts that she is gifted.
The new season has already brought on one star-studded guest-host including Michael Douglas, Seth Meyers, Joe Walsh, Susan Sarandon, Valerie Bertinelli, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, Rita Wilson, Ricky Martin, and Larry David, who appears on the show regularly. Kathie Lee Gifford is no stranger to these celebrities and knows them well. In order to get Frank back on the show after this he has adopted a softer style of her husband’s legacy; honest, forthright and witty.
In this interview, Gifford talks about the whole ordeal and the lessons she has learned along the way. It is a powerful, revealing and very honest interview.
Kathie Lee Gifford is passionate about her career and her involvement in saving the lives of people everywhere, especially children. She speaks about her new series, Stay Caring on Sunday, November 25 on CNBC.
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