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Larry King Live

What's Next for Kathie Lee?

Aired May 11, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the one and only Kathie Lee Gifford. She's leaving Reg, sticking by Frank and with us for the entire hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's always great to welcome her. It's been too soon between visits. Kathie Lee Gifford is our guest for the full hour. Her new album "Born for You," it's a soundtrack album about life and lasting love. There you see its cover. We'll show you some videos from it, and we will be talking a lot about it later on.

Everywhere she goes -- why does controversy, do you think, wreak around you why you? Why you?


KING: Sweatshops, husbands, Reg -- why you?

K. GIFFORD: I guess it's called life.

KING: Do you think you bring it on?

K. GIFFORD: You know, I guess I bring it on in a sense that I'm very candid and I'm very honest about what goes on. People say, oh, I know everything about you, I have watched you 15 years, and I just sort of smile, and I go, you know, you know everything that I've told you, you don't know everything.

I will go to my grave with actually some secrets about you, Larry, because I'm good friends with people, and if they tell me, don't share this or something, it goes to the grave with me. And many things about my personal life I've never ever shared and never would. I share what I'm comfortable with.

KING: Let's discuss avenues of it. You and Frank went on "Diane Sawyer"; you were very open about it. What -- when you read about a Giuliani story, the overriding issue here is, is that our business?

K. GIFFORD: I don't think it is. I truly didn't think it is, and I feel very, very sad for them, that that very private issue has to be discussed so publicly. I know them both, and I like them both, and I always feel for the children first, because it's a very painful.

KING: They're the victims, right? K. GIFFORD: Yes, the adults make their own decisions; kids have to live with the decisions made by adults in their lives, and that's so patently unfair to me.

KING: Was she wrong to react in that way?

K. GIFFORD: I would never tell any person that they were wrong to do something one way or another. I know how it feels to be judged by people who don't have any idea what's going on in your life. And so I would be the last person to judge her. I think I would like to be the first person to love her through it and him, too.

KING: What is it like -- very few of us ever have this -- publicly be embarrassed?

K. GIFFORD: I wasn't.

KING: You weren't? Because you stood up and you learned that it happened?

K. GIFFORD: Oh, you know what? This was something I really don't -- this is three years ago, Larry, and my attitude is, if I can get over it, can't you? Can't America? Come on, let's all grow up. This kind of thing happens in 70 percent of every marriage in America. Just because it happened to Frank and Kathie Lee, big deal, OK.

KING: But in 70 percent, they don't see it in paper.

K. GIFFORD: That's right. Though a lot -- first of all, you know, I really don't want to discuss it tonight, because we have come so far on the avenue of forgiveness, and we've come so far in committing to ourselves, our relationship and our marriage, and that's a statement in itself, and a statement I think that's so rarely made and needs to be made.

I don't know that our marriage will last another week. It may last 15 more years, you know. A marriage is work. You know a little something about marriage, my friend.

KING: I've heard, yes.

K. GIFFORD: Yes, and you haven't been so successful at times, and neither have I, and neither have Frank, and neither have most people that are watching out there, that are living very private lives. They will never see their marriage discussed, or their hurts and pains made public.

But the only thing that can embarrass me, Larry, is something I do myself, not what other people do.

KING: Why did you go public with Frank? Why did you and Frank do the "Diane Sawyer"?

K. GIFFORD: Because it would help people, and we've heard from a lot of people who lost hope, and we said that's the only reason to do it. Why do it? We've come so far in three years. We have, you know, we've dealt with it, a very difficult and very painful issue. And if it is going to help somebody, let's talk about it.

KING: How did you jump that hurdle to forgive? The hardest hurdle of all, because most people say to themselves, if that happened to me, I'm gone.

K. GIFFORD: Yes, well.

KING: How were you able...

K. GIFFORD: I don't think most people know how they would react. You don't until it does happen to you.

KING: That would be guess.

K. GIFFORD: First of all, you always have to weigh, like a justice scale, the hurt with the happiness. I had been married at that point in my life for 11 years to a man I adored who had never given me one reason ever to doubt his sincerity or to not to trust him. So this was an aberration in my husband's life.

Do I throw away a fine, truly loving, good man who's accomplished enormous amounts of good things in his life? Should he be defined by one stupid mistake? Should Larry King be defined in his life by one stupid mistake? I don't think so. I think if you don't have compassion for other human beings who are truly, truly broken-hearted by the pain that they've caused, then what's that say about you, if you can't forgive?

KING: How did you do -- I mean, there were times during the past three years we went out together...

K. GIFFORD: Right.

KING: ... you and Frank, and Shawn and I, we had dinner.

K. GIFFORD: We had a nice time.

KING: We had lunches, and people all around the room looked at you. You had to be aware of that.


KING: You were overcome -- to deal with that, when you're dealing with something with your own private thing of forgiveness and then the public, everybody knows about it. That's what I meant by embarrassment, not that you caused.

K. GIFFORD: Well, what am I supposed to do? Hide myself away? No.

KING: You instead did the opposite.

K. GIFFORD: Did the exact opposite, and I always will. KING: You waved across the room to people.

K. GIFFORD: I'm still on the show with live with "Regis & Kathie Lee," even though I wanted to leave about four years ago, because every year somebody says: Well, now she'll be gone, she's out of here now, no way she'll come back. And I go I've got to stay another year.

KING: Do you think this spunk in you is inborn?

K. GIFFORD: Oh, absolutely. I'm a Russian-Jewish peasant. I am...

KING: Me too.

K. GIFFORD: Nice to meet you.


K. GIFFORD: Whatever. I will not let them win, because I won't let the darkness win.

I'll never forget the first time that I was accused of the labor abuses. It was four years ago, and Frank and I had just spent $5 million to open up a brand-new little home in New York City called Cassidy's Place, a state-of-the-art, six-story home for AIDS and crack babies, and we were so excited. I had done concerts, I had albums, Frank had signed a gazillion footballs -- anything we could we'd done, anything we could do to get this money to open up this home. We were one month away from opening it when I was accused of basically being a child molester. Nothing in your life...

KING: You weren't accused of that...

K. GIFFORD: Yes. Abusing Third World children somewhere in putting -- it makes a lot of sense. You spend your whole life being an activist and an advocate for children, and then, you know, at a certain point you go, you know what, I think I'll put a few kids behind sweatshops, you know, in front of the sewing machines and put a few kids to work. It's just...

KING: You could have let that ride, though. You could have just let the story die.

K. GIFFORD: Probably the only mistake I made is that I cared -- I cared that might be true. I cared, and I still do. To have anybody, whether it's my clothing line or anybody's clothing line.

KING: Because there are other people with clothing lines who just either make a statement, like "We're doing our best."

K. GIFFORD: Well, they say, I'm sure Nike will do right thing, I'm sure Kmart will do right thing, and they don't take any personal responsibility, and I don't respect that, I don't. I think you have to.

KING: Our is guest is Kathie Lee Gifford. As I have always said, she is some singer.

K. GIFFORD: Thank you.

KING: Pretty good actress, too. And she's got a new album out called "Born for You." We'll be talking about that. It's a terrific piece of work. We'll be right back.


KING: I guess the toughest thing of all is how do you forgive. How do you reach that plateau to forgive? The hardest thing to do, I think.

K. GIFFORD: I think you're only able to forgive if you know that you yourself have been forgiven. And my personal faith teaches me that I have been forgiven of everything that I'm possibly capable of doing. And if I in return cannot have that same mercy and compassion for other human beings, then my forgiveness is almost a moot point.

How can I receive forgiveness and yet not offer to others? And it's not just a husband or a friend. I have to forgive every day in my life, don't you? I mean, there is...

KING: But it's the hardest thing. How do you overcome -- how do you forgive over hurt?

K. GIFFORD: No, it is hard, and it takes time. I mean, there is no...

KING: You don't forgive on the first day.

K. GIFFORD: No, I didn't. I forgive instantly, and I would again.

KING: You're kidding.

K. GIFFORD: No, because he was so broken, and so desperate and so truly, truly sorry.

KING: So what did you do with anger and hurt? There had to be some anger.

K. GIFFORD: Oh, you know what? The anger I didn't deal with until later. I was so concerned about Frank.

KING: Really?

K. GIFFORD: He was so broken, and I'd never seen him like that before. Frank is a very tough, very intelligent, very together guy. He is just about the best thing...

KING: Did you see him that night?

K. GIFFORD: I was in the other room, remember? Yes. and I was very, very proud of him, and I was really proud the night we did that interview two months ago with Diane Sawyer, and afterwards, three guys that were running camera came up and said to Frank, "Thank you for being such a man," and that's exactly what he was.

KING: He's a good guy.

K. GIFFORD: He is one of the truly good people on this planet.

KING: But if you deal with anger later, why did it kick in later? I always thought anger would be instant.

K. GIFFORD: Because you know what happens? Immediately, you -- it's about survival. First of all, I had to help him, because he was so broken, and he was truly desperate for me to forgive him. And so I said, yes, of course, not even knowing all details. Then it's about circle the wagons, let's protect our family, our children, our -- the one thing no matter what goes on in our lives that Frank and I are completely and totally, you know, one on, united on is our love and our protection of our children.

KING: So you had no anger that there was betrayal of them?

K. GIFFORD: I couldn't deal with it then. It was not the most important thing. The most important thing was protecting our children.

KING: And how did they deal with it?

K. GIFFORD: They don't know to this day. And they will know eventually, and that is...

KING: They will. And how will they know when they know?

K. GIFFORD: Because their parents will tell them. They have been very protected. They are the happiest, most well-adjusted, regardless of what you've read, kids in the whole world. I put my children up against anybody's in terms of their politeness and their kindness and their heart.

You know, they've written horrible stories about Cody, what a little monster he is. He wanted to do a movie last year, and Frank and I were against it, and he said, "Mom. how am I going to know if this is what I want to do if I don't get a chance to do it?" I said, all right, you've got my attention.

And then he said, "But mom, we'll be together, and nobody is ever going to hurt me, mommy, while you're with me because you'd never let that happen, and I can really learn because I'm interested."

And at the very end there, this little boy named Mario that we've been taking care of -- half black, half Hispanic little boy -- since he was born. He is the son of an adopted child of a dear friend of mine. And Cody looked at me goes, mom, "I could pay for Mario's school this year." And I said, Cody, if you never win anything in your life but kindest and most polite, which he does every year from his classmates, I said you've got the proudest mother on face of this Earth. That is a great little man, a great little human being.

His sister is another story. We'll talk about her at another time.

KING: When anger set in, then, how did you deal with it?

K. GIFFORD: By the time it had set in, we went to a dear. trusted counselor, and we still do every week.

KING: How does that work?

K. GIFFORD: You talk about it. You find a safe place. You find a place where there's no judgment.

KING: Because you're helping a lot of people here, who think about this.

K. GIFFORD: You go someplace where there is no judgment.

KING: The counselor judges neither of you.

K. GIFFORD: Well, no, he doesn't judge -- he judges when he should. But he doesn't judge by the world's standards. He can shut it all out, all the garbage, and get to the source of it, and talk to your heart, and give you a safe place to vent.

You know, I didn't have a safe place to vent. I had to go on air every single day, and I had to be strong, and I had to be dignified, and I had to be elegant, and I had to be loving. Well, by God's grace I did that, and that's how I get through every single day. But then I'd have to go home to the reality of hurt in my life, and Frank was deeply hurt, too. I mean, he was set up. He was completely betrayed, in that sense.

KING: It was a betrayal on a betrayal.

K. GIFFORD: It was a betrayal on a betrayal. And at first, we were very unified in our anger about what they had done to such a good man. My husband could have any woman in the world, and he wasn't out looking for anybody. And it was a very vulnerable time in his life, and you are going to have to talk to him further about that.

KING: All right. What does the counselor do?

K. GIFFORD: The counselor makes you...

KING: Of course, people go to counselors and do break up sometimes.

K. GIFFORD: And some marriages cannot be saved. He is brilliant because he gets your eyes off you. Sometimes you're so damned selfish, you can't see anybody's pain but your own. And he -- I had gotten to a point where I was at an impasse.

And he looked at me, and said, Kathie -- and now this is two years after -- "If you can't forgive your husband, forgive your children's father." And that hit me in my heart so deeply, because I don't know a better man, a better father than my husband is. Only my own daddy was a better one, and I said, yes, yes, and there is so much still there to love.

I talked about the weights. I thought about 11 years of love in my life and kindness and tenderness and warmth and sexiness, and just friendship and all those things. And all of a sudden you go, am I going to throw away everything for one hour of a mistake in a person's life, for all the value? How am I going to throw something so valuable away because he made a stupid mistake? Who hasn't?

KING: Do you think you could have succumbed to something if you were set up.

K. GIFFORD: Yes, sure, I think everybody could.

KING: That's normal.

K. GIFFORD: And what we don't do in times like that is put ourselves in other people's shoes. Instead, I can't tell you the manner and the amount of hypocritical people that I know what's going on in their life that were so happy to sit back and judge Frank Gifford.

KING: To judgment.

K. GIFFORD: And I knew what was going on in their lives every day, and I just, go, oh, you hypocrites, you hypocrites. You know, get the -- get the log out of your own eye before you try get it out of somebody else's.

KING: Other facets in a minute of a fascinating Kathie Lee Gifford: what she's going to do now, why she's leaving Reg. Why she's leaving the show; she's not leaving Reg.

K. GIFFORD: I'm not leaving Reg!

KING: Here's a musical video from her terrific new album, "Born for You" -- watch.


GIFFORD (singing): Too many angry people trying to come between us. None of them seem to matter, when I look into your eyes. Now I know why I belong here. In your arms I found the answer. Seems like nothing could be so wrong here if they'd only realized that I was born for you.



KING: We're back. I wish you knew what we were talking about.

We're back with Kathie Lee Gifford. Her new album is "Born for You."

The decision to say goodbye to -- you know, our two shows both started 15 years ago. K. GIFFORD: That is unbelievable. How blessed? Huh, huh?

KING: June 1st, 1985.

K. GIFFORD: And I've heard about 65 talk shows have come and gone since then.

KING: I've heard. And we were both live live.

K. GIFFORD: Live live. No writers, no writers.

KING: Why are you leaving?

K. GIFFORD: You know, people are always asking that question, and to me it's just so obvious why. But they don't know what happened in my life before I was -- sat next to Regis. Since I was a young teenager, I have been an actress and a singer. When I was a little girl, I didn't wake up -- go to sleep at night thinking, oh please, God, help me be Oprah, help me be Roseanne, I want to be Kathie Lee.

We didn't exist. Barbara Walters later in my life was the only woman who really was paving a trail. But at the time that I was a young girl, when your dreams are really born inside you, I wanted to be Haley Mills or Annette Funicello so bad. I wrote Walt Disney a letter when I was 9 years and said, you've got to meet me, you've got to meet me.

KING: Broadcasting -- I always wanted to be a broadcaster.

K. GIFFORD: And I always wanted to be an actress and a singer.

KING: So it was time enough? Is that what you are saying?

K. GIFFORD: I was an actress and a singer for 15 years.

KING: So you want to go back to it?

K. GIFFORD: And I've missed it so much. This past year -- I made a heart decision last July. I'll never forget, because my friend from Disney, Mary Kellogg, was staying with me and Frank at our place in Nantucket. And I said to her, I said, my heart is telling me that this is my last year, Mar. I said, my head doesn't know it yet, but my heart is telling me this is my last year.

So when people say, well, she's just jealous of Regis' success, it's so ridiculous, because "Millionaire" hadn't even premiered. You know, that was August; this was July.

But I had begun Broadway rehearsals. I had started my record. I was -- I had said yes to the Disney movie, and I was getting back to what I have always loved first, and that's -- that's being an entertainer.

KING: So why would you be jealous of Regis' success on a show that you wouldn't have hosted? I mean, what would -- it's -- it's apples and oranges. K. GIFFORD: First of all, you cannot call yourself a friend, and then be jealous.

KING: Correct.

K. GIFFORD: A friend's triumphs are yours, and a friend's disasters...

KING: And everybody likes Regis. Who would not want Regis to be happy?

K. GIFFORD: I'm just thrilled for him. You know the relationship we have, and nobody has worked harder and deserves it more, and I hope it lasts forever for him. Nothing does, but I hope it lasts a long, long time.

We have had amazing an run.

KING: So does -- you're leaving what day? July what?

K. GIFFORD: Twenty-eighth, but who's counting.

KING: It's going to be a sad day. It's going to be a sad day. even though you're happy you're going.

K. GIFFORD: I'm not.

KING: And you say goodbye 15 years (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

K. GIFFORD: Yes. I'm not saying goodbye to Regis, though. I really...

KING: No, but you're saying goodbye to a franchise.

K. GIFFORD: Yes, and as Frank kept saying, Kathie -- but Kathie, you're making television history. I go: But we've made it. What's one more year going to be? We've made it.

And it's now -- now when I -- I'll tell you what happened about a year and half ago, Lilly Tomlin came on our show. And I remember sitting there opposite Lilly Tomlin and interviewing her for about the 10th time in 10 years. And I remember saying, I don't want to interview Lilly Tomlin one more time.


I want to work with Lilly Tomlin.

KING: Nothing against her.

K. GIFFORD: No, I want to work with her. I want to be -- I don't want to hear about her next project; I want to be in her next project with her. And it dawned on me how long I had put aside those dreams I'd had as a child.

It was a magnificent 15 years in so many ways. It opened so many doors. It was the perfect job for me to have when my children were little, because, you know, I could be home at 11 o'clock, take them to school, take them to lunch, or pick them up from school and take them to lunch. Now they're going to be in school full time this coming fall, and I am getting very cranky and very bored if I don't have at least 10 things to do at once. I'm going to have a long day to fill up.

KING: You ain't leaving.

K. GIFFORD: I ain't leaving; I'm just not going to be live every morning at 9 o'clock.

KING: When Regis first came up with that he was going to do "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" he came on this show and said he would save the ABC...

K. GIFFORD: Oh, I watched him. We were watching that night.

KING: And we knew nothing would ever happen -- watch.


REGIS PHILBIN, HOST: Here it is now for $1,000.

K. GIFFORD: Serious money, Reg.

PHILBIN: You're getting there.

1990 movie "Pretty Woman" was named for a hit song...

GIFFORD (singing): Pretty woman walk on by, pretty woman.

PHILBIN: OK, take it easy.

Written -- written by whom: Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash.

K. GIFFORD: No. A, Roy Orbison.

PHILBIN: Final answer?


PHILBIN: The right answer, Roy Orbison. She's won a thousand!


All right. We're going to pause. We're going to come back. She's going for 2,000 bucks.


K. GIFFORD: Pride comes before the fall, that's what that is.

KING: What was the audience pick? It's $1,000. You knew the answer right away. K. GIFFORD: Yes, I knew the answer to the $1,000 question like that. The first one, the hundred-dollar question, I had no idea. I mean, I was married at one time to a man from Seattle, Washington. I never knew it was called The Emerald City. Who knew? I never heard that.

KING: That was the $100 question.

K. GIFFORD: That was the -- now, excuse me. You want to know the one that Rosie gets. "What doesn't fit here: red, pink, yellow, polka dot?" That's her first question. And I get -- so I had a very tough batch of questions, and that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

KING: We'll be back with more of Kathie Lee after this.


KING: We're back with Kathie Lee Gifford. Her new album is "Born for You." You're in a Disney movie, by the way?

K. GIFFORD: Yes, it aired in February.

KING: Oh, on television. Are you going to do a full-length, too?

K. GIFFORD: You know, Scorcese is on the phone with me; Spielberg, I can't get him off. I wish -- from your lips to God's ears, I'd love that.

KING: Who's going to replace you?

K. GIFFORD: I don't have any idea.

KING: Do you think it should be someone not known?

K. GIFFORD: I really do. I really do. Anybody else we -- we already know too much about them, I think. And it's going to be a thankless job in a way. I mean, they're going to be under such scrutiny. I think that the press will be kinder to an unknown, to an unknown. And I...

KING: But then there's pressure, though, that might be on an unknown that wouldn't be on...

K. GIFFORD: Well, it's going to be a very delicate sort of a balancing high-wire act you have to walk.

KING: Are they going to ask your input?

K. GIFFORD: No, and rightfully not. I mean, I'm not going to be there to have anything to say about it.

KING: Will the replacement be on July 29?

K. GIFFORD: I've been told from the Disney executives that they don't think they'll have one until maybe December, but I -- they don't know for sure. Somebody could show up tomorrow and be fantastic.

KING: Is there any fear when you leave something that is successful that you, hey, maybe they won't know me in a year?

K. GIFFORD: Yes. I've never been out of work my entire life, and I've never defined success the way the world does, Larry. You know, success has nothing do with how many Emmys I'm nominated for.

KING: What is it?

K. GIFFORD: Success is how many lives you've touched and if you're doing what makes you happy. When I was a little girl, my daddy used to say to me, "Find something you love to do, and then figure out a way to get paid for it." He understood that if the passion was there first, the success would follow. All the energy you need to get the job done would be there, because nothing could keep you from doing what makes you happy.

And after a year of Broadway and a year of making this record and a year of acting and a year of writing songs -- I've written about 50 songs in the last year, and they're good songs. I'm just thrilled with the way these songs are coming out. It's just -- it's been so thrilling on a creative level that if nobody knows my name next year -- and maybe it's easy to say right now -- in a way it would be a relief, after everything we have been through, to disappear for a little while.

KING: How's Frank handling sort of retirement?

K. GIFFORD: You know what? He was proud of me when I decided to leave, because he said, I should have done what you did, I should have left when my heart told me to. But he's such a team player and such a good guy.

KING: Did he leave bitter?

K. GIFFORD: No, Frank, no. Frank is not a bitter person.

KING: But it wasn't a comfortable ending?

K. GIFFORD: It was a very, very unclassy ending for a very classy guy. They really did not handle that properly at all. Frank would have been the easiest person in world if they had gone to him and said: You know, Frank, we need to try something new. How about this? He would have said, guys, I've been wanting to leave, thank you, and they could have done it nicely. But for whatever reason, you know, sometimes people aren't able to show some class that they don't have.

KING: Is his life going OK? Does he miss working?

K. GIFFORD: No, no, no, no, no.

KING: Doesn't?

K. GIFFORD: No, he's loving it. He is loving being a father. He really feels like he missed out, not that he missed out, but that he was not the father he should have been for his first three children. And none of those three children feel that way. They all adore him and think that he's done a great job. But Frank, Frank feels some guilt about having to be -- you know, he grew up in the oil fields. He was the first Gifford to ever go to -- finish high school, much less...

KING: Dirt poor, right?

K. GIFFORD: He ate dog food as a kid. So when he got a chance to go to USC, you know, a private school on a scholarship, and he had to bus tables still for money, but he had one shirt and one pair of jeans, and they all think Frank Gifford was born with, you know, the silver spoon. Believe me, I don't think they had any spoons but plastic in his town.

Our guest is Kathie Lee Gifford. Here's a bit of Kathie Lee on Broadway. Watch.


GIFFORD & CHORUS (singing): Life isn't easy. Every word, every line, every glance, every movement, you improve and refine, then refine each improvement bit by bit, putting it together, piece by piece, working on the vision night and day. But it takes time and perseverance dealing with details along the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Dealing with producer's interference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Waiting for the author's disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Filling up the holes with animation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Covering the flaws in the construction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Fighting all the scenic ostentation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Knowing it's a Macintosh production,

CHORUS: Working for a tiny compensation. The art of making art is putting it together.



KING: We're back with Kathie Lee Gifford. And you may look for her sitting in this seat in a little while.

K. GIFFORD: Oh, I'd love to do that. KING: It'd be great. Kathie Lee hosts LARRY KING LIVE while Larry takes a pregnancy sabbatical. I don't want to go through this anymore, pregnancy. It's a killer.

K. GIFFORD: Oh, every nine months you say that.

KING: It's a killer. It's a killer to me.


Manassas, Virginia, hello.



CALLER: Hi, Kathie Lee.


KING: How you doing?

K. GIFFORD: I'm good, thanks. How are you?

CALLER: I have a question. I've been through what you've been through, and my question to you is, is were you honestly hurt by what Frank did? I mean seriously.

K. GIFFORD: Oh, of course. Devastated

KING: And what did you want to say, ma'am?

CALLER: My question to her was, was she honestly hurt, because she seems to defend him a lot in what he did. And I don't think that...

KING: I don't think she's defending what he did.


CALLER: You don't defend him?

K. GIFFORD: I could never defend what he did. That's indefensible. But it was an isolated incident in a very good life. And you know, you don't have the advantage of knowing Frank the way I do. And you know, so, that is your disadvantage, is the way I see it.

KING: In other words, if he were lesser of a man, if there were troubles, he would have been, this is over.

K. GIFFORD: Oh please. If this was chronic behavior, no way. Yes, yes.

KING: In other words, you wouldn't put up with it.

Boston, Massachusetts. hello. CALLER: Hi, Kathie Lee.


CALLER: I was wondering what your reaction was when your first husband sold all those stories to the tabloids?

K. GIFFORD: You know, I didn't read them, but of course, friends loved to tell you that they're out there. I was sad. I was sad. Because there...

KING: What did you make of it?

K. GIFFORD: Only that he must have had needed the money, you know, and that's a pathetic thing to have to be reduced to in life.

KING: Have you ever sued the tabs?

K. GIFFORD: Yes, we're suing them right now as a matter of fact. Yes.

KING: Which one?

K. GIFFORD: We're suing the whole American Media.

KING: You mean the whole group?

K. GIFFORD: They now own them all, so let's just get them on...

KING: On one story?

K. GIFFORD: On one story right now, and maybe another one soon. Yes, sure.

KING: Wow.

K. GIFFORD: We've sued once before, and that was about our daughter. We're suing this time about our son.

KING: Oh, was this the story about the acting?

K. GIFFORD: Oh yes, and what a little monster he is. And you know what? You know, you can print your lies all you want about me and Frank, and we'll pick a fight where we think we should. But you take on our children and we'll see you in court.

KING: Do you ever think you made a mistake going public with the kids, talking about them?

K. GIFFORD: You know what's so funny? I remember when Rosie O'Donnell started her show. She said I'll never talk about my children, and I love Rosie. She's a good friend.

KING: Good girl.

K. GIFFORD: And she can't -- she can't stop talking about her kids now.

KING: It's hard not to.

K. GIFFORD: Because they are your life. Regis and I talk about our life for a living.

When I first started with Regis 15 years ago, he talked about his children every day like I -- you know, I wasn't married, and I didn't have kids. He talked about his daughters and his kids and what he did with them. And the world is changed that much in 10 years, where a story that I tell now innocently and sweetly about my children is completely perverted a week or two later in a tabloid.

Now, so people -- I have no problem with people writing about my children. Just tell the truth. The vicious lies will not be tolerated.

KING: Do you think when children are known, just by -- because they're children and they're cute and they're talked about, there is a post-behavior problem?

K. GIFFORD: You know what? I monitor our children every single day, and they're the two nicest little human beings I've ever known in my life.

KING: You can't beat that.

Weston, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Kathie Lee.

K. GIFFORD: Hello.

CALLER: I just wanted to know with the age difference between, such a large age difference between you and Frank if you thought...

K. GIFFORD: I think Larry's is larger than mine.

KING: How many years are you?

K. GIFFORD: Twenty-three.

KING: I'm 26.

K. GIFFORD: See. So ask Larry this question,


KING: What's the rest of the question? Ma'am?


KING: What's the rest of the question? I didn't hear the rest.

CALLER: I'm sorry. I wanted to know...

KING: The age difference, yes.

CALLER: The age difference between she and Frank, if she thought that that affected the parenting style?

KING: That's a good question.

K. GIFFORD: That's an interesting question.

KING: Very good question.

K. GIFFORD: Frank is from a different generation, no question, and I was raised with enormous amounts love and enormous amounts of, you know, discipline. And I think you need equal amounts. I think you need loving, discipline.

KING: I didn't have a lot of discipline.

K. GIFFORD: Yes. Well, and look what happened.


KING: You're going to get it, Kathie.

K. GIFFORD: I remember when Cody was 2 years old and when Frank would go away for a football game, I was a maniac about saying "please," "thank you," and "your welcome." And Frank, I remember one of the first fights we had was about, he said: Kathie, he's 2 years old, let the kid be a kid. And I said, no, there are certain things that you teach them as a child and ingrain in them when they're so little they don't even realize it. It will be such second nature to them.

And one night when Cody was about 2, Frank had gone out for a football game and he was sleeping with me. Middle of night, he woke up and he goes, "Mommy, I need to go potty, please." I said: OK, Codes. Got him, took him to potty. Comes back, goes: "Thank you, mommy. I love you, mommy."

I went I got him. Two years old, he's in that netherworld. He doesn't even know he's saying please; he doesn't even know he's saying thank you.

And we can be out anywhere and Cody will go: "Mommy, they didn't say `please.' Mommy, they didn't say..." And Cassie goes: "Mommy, they didn't say `you're welcome.'"

I mean, maybe I've overdone it a little bit, but in today's world, with so many little brats running around, I'll take that any day.

KING: Elkins, West Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, how are you?


CALLER: Kathie, I'd like to first say you're such a class act.

K. GIFFORD: Oh, thank you.

CALLER: And then I'd also would like to ask you, whenever -- how do you respond when your children come and say, mom, I heard this or this, and it could be about them or about you? As a mother, how do you handle when there are so many cruel people out there and you don't want to show...

KING: You can't keeping everything from them.

K. GIFFORD: You know, it happens to everybody's children. Whether you're public figures or not, people spread lies, people are vicious, and people are mean-spirited, and people are jealous. So it's going to happen in everybody's life.

What I always tell our children -- and Frank does, too -- is live in your own truth. Many times, Cody will hear something and go, "Mom, what's their problem?" He realizes it's the person -- they're the ones that have a problem, those kinds of lies. I'll say, "Cody, this is" -- what they're saying now about this and this and this. And he'll go, "Mom, duh, what's their problem?" I go, "Cody, you're right, they have a problem."

And then you know what we do? We pray for them. We pray for our enemies, as the Bible instructs to do.

And it's amazing how once you've prayed for people, you can't hate them.

KING: Cody and his mother appeared in "Model Behavior" on ABC. They're going to repeat that on June 25th. Here's a clip.


K. GIFFORD: Listen, honey, just be a good girl while I'm gone, OK, and do everything that Winnie tells you to do, please.


K. GIFFORD: Thank you.

Sweetheart, when I was a model, we did everything our handlers told us to do. You know why? Because they know what they're talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Mom, when you were a model, they used oil paint, not photography.

K. GIFFORD: Oh lovely. That's so lovely.

CODY GIFFORD: Mom, I'm coming!


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: One job and my brother's gone Hollywood. Have a nice trip, Max.

C. GIFFORD: Actually it's Maximilian.

Want me to sign it for you? Should I write anything special?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Yeah. How about, "Get a life, midget!"

C. GIFFORD: Some fans can get very hostile.


K. GIFFORD: Hello.


C. GIFFORD: My agent's attorney's publicist.



KING: "Born for You" is dedicated to some people, the Fords -- former president and his wife -- and the Grahams. Billy Graham has been on this program 1,100 times.


About faith...


KING: ... you've had ups and downs.

K. GIFFORD: Who hasn't?

KING: What keeps your faith?

K. GIFFORD: Absolutely.

KING: You don't say why?

K. GIFFORD: When you know something is just so true in your own heart, you can rail against it all you want: That doesn't make it less true.

KING: You think there's a god looking at you now?

K. GIFFORD: Oh gosh, yes.

KING: Yes?

K. GIFFORD: And he's looking at you, too. And he's laughing because he has a sense of humor: He goes, boy, you know, I don't get it right all the time.

(LAUGHTER) You know, I am -- I think it is so incredibly important to raise children to believe two things: not just that you love them, that you want them, that you're so grateful that they're in this world, but there is a purpose to their life as well, because God loves them and has put them on this Earth for a purpose. You will not raise selfish children if they think they're not center of the universe but they're here to make the universe better.

KING: When bad things happen, whether they're manmade bad, whether they're Frank bad, whether they're rainstorms that blow down a house...


KING: ... a fire tonight in New Mexico wiping out homes...

K. GIFFORD: Right.

KING: ... keep the faith?

K. GIFFORD: Absolutely.

KING: You don't say why?

K. GIFFORD: Well, you can question why, but you still -- I mean, it's not human to sometimes not question why. I wrote a song on my album called "Only My Pillow Knows," it's all about questions. "Go ask the river that's run here so long. Go ask the sparrow that still sings its song. Go ask the willow that bends though wind blows, but only my pillow knows."

And that is a metaphor in a sense for the Lord, because if He is our rock and our redeemer, then is He not also our comforter? And if He's our comforter, is He not also our pillow, too?

KING: What do you do when you doubt? Do you doubt, ever doubt?

K. GIFFORD: You're just honest about it. As if He doesn't know? Hello! You're going to keep it from God? I'm doubting You, but I don't want You to know about it. He knows everything. He created us. He knows how many hairs are on your head, and you've got less than the last time I saw you, and me too actually. I've augmented mine.

He knows everything. He knows every time a sparrow hits the ground. I believe that with all my heart or why are we here. If there's not a purpose to it all, then we are biggest fools to even live. Then why don't we end it all when we're, you know, young before we go through anything in life?

There's a purpose for it. There's -- there's a...

KING: How did you find him?

K. GIFFORD: There's a line in that song that I did. I said: "Is there some purpose to this time in the darkness buried beneath winter snows? Will I be stronger, somehow be better? Only my pillow knows." But you've got to go through it, and you almost have to embrace pain in your life, equally as joy, because there's a purpose for both.

KING: How did you -- how did you find this?

K. GIFFORD: I've had it since I was a young child. I was 12 years old when I asked the Lord into my heart.

KING: You were Jewish, right?

K. GIFFORD: Well, my father's Jewish by birth and by race and blood. My mom was raised Christian, and we were raised in a godly home, but not necessarily a...

KING: Go to church on Sunday.

K. GIFFORD: Yes, but it was -- there's such -- when people say Kathie Lee is such a religious woman, I almost gag.

KING: Did you go to synagogue?

K. GIFFORD: No, we didn't go to synagogue, but I was raised with many Jewish traditions and raised to be very grateful for my Jewish heritage, and taught all my life that Jesus was Jewish, the disciples were Jewish, Mary Magadalene was Jewish. It was all came -- the first pope was Peter. He was Jewish.

KING: But you had it as a child then, you had faith?

K. GIFFORD: I would have been raised in my faith as a child. It's been questioned many, many times as I've been through the fires of life. But it's the one thing in my life that I would never change. It is -- it is my -- the one constant, because others will be unfaithful to us. Friends will let you down. Husbands will let you down. I will let my husband down, I will let my friends down. The only truly faithful presence you will ever have in your life always forever is the almighty God.

KING: As we go to break, here's what Regis had to say about his partner leaving. Watch.


REGIS PHILBIN, HOST: She's kidding. She ain't going anywhere.


She's staying right here where she belongs.

K. GIFFORD: Ah, that's sweet you.


K. GIFFORD: I love you.

(APPLAUSE) I love you.

PHILBIN: Are you really going to go?

She'll be back, crawling in here saying, please, I don't know why I said those things.

K. GIFFORD: Absolutely, and I will stay -- as long as, you know, everybody needs me to find the right lady, if it's a lady. Hey, it's the new millennium. Why not a guy?


PHILBIN: Why does it have to be anybody?


K. GIFFORD: Oh, you're really out of control now.



KING: Cleelum, Washington for Kathie Lee Gifford, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Kathie Lee.


CALLER: First, want to say I loved you hosting for David Letterman.

K. GIFFORD: Thank you.

CALLER: I noticed that Regis jokes and kids around about your album and when you are on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Do you ever get hurt by these jabs and are there any subjects you tell Regis are off-limits?

K. GIFFORD: Through the years there have been times in our lives when I'd say, Reg, don't mention this, or he'd say, don't mention that, because we rarely talk before the show, because that's...

KING: I know. I've been on that.

K. GIFFORD: Yes, we don't.

KING: You're the last (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the set.

K. GIFFORD: We just make it...

KING: You're lucky you make it.

K. GIFFORD: Yes, many times we're lucky we make it. We try to keep it very, very spontaneous. But he's always been great about not mentioning something that I was uncomfortable with. And he -- and I've always tried to respect that about him.

Once in a while, we get on each other's nerves. We've been together 15 years. But we've never had an unkind word between us in 15 years. Never.

Our lawyers have spoken...


No, I'm just kidding. We never have.

KING: Wasn't it difficult not to bring up that incident when it occurred?


KING: no?


KING: Because everyone in the audience is thinking about it. Everyone watching it...

K. GIFFORD: That's all right. Let them think what they think. No. I didn't talk about it until I was ready to talk about it.

KING: Did Reg ask you if you wanted to talk about it?

K. GIFFORD: No, no, no, no. Reg -- Reg -- Reg just gets so uncomfortable about so many things. He would have liked to have disappeared for a while then, I think. We all would have.

But you know what? I am, if nothing else -- if you hate my guts, you've got to give me credit for being one hell of a survivor in this world.

KING: What do you make of all this reality television?

K. GIFFORD: I don't like it much. I don't like it. It doesn't do anything for me. No. That's -- I think that's why the networks are losing so much of the core audience that used to be there. I think "Millionaire" is a great example of if you put something on that's decent and nice and families can watch together and it's compelling and people get interested in the people again, they'll watch.

KING: It's also about making money.

K. GIFFORD: It's always about making money. You sitting there right now is about making it. If you didn't make money for CNN, believe me -- and you know it's true -- you wouldn't be there very long...

KING: Correct.

K. GIFFORD: ... much less 15 years. If Regis and I hadn't made a whole lot of money for ABC and Disney all these years, no matter how much they liked us as individuals it wouldn't have mattered. Bye-bye.

Frank made billions of dollars for ABC on "Monday Night Football," you know? He knows that. He helped build that franchise. They wouldn't have had the NFL contract the last two times if it hadn't have been for Frank Gifford.

KING: Really? He got involved?

K. GIFFORD: Of course. He was best, best friends with, you know, the commissioner before Pete Rozelle, and then really good friends with Paul Tagliabue. And he, you know, those people love and respect him very much.

KING: I don't mean this to be rude: How old are you?

K. GIFFORD: 46. The whole world knows it. How come you don't know?

KING: Because I don't -- you know, the age -- because I want to decide to where you feel at 46 in your life.

K. GIFFORD: I feel 20 years old, I do. I feel -- I feel younger than I've ever felt in my life. I feel more excited. I feel more -- I feel like a kid again. And I don't -- and I think that's because of the creative juices that are -- that are just pouring out of me.

KING: Would you adopt another child?

K. GIFFORD: Love to adopt a child. We tried to adopt a Chinese child, but I think it was kind of funny. They don't let you adopt a Chinese child if you're over 100, and Frank and I are way over 100.

KING: You mean combined over 100?

K. GIFFORD: They've changed it now, so maybe we still could. But now, now it's almost the time has passed. We take care of 200 little crack and AIDS babies every day at our two homes in New York City. I just sent a -- a bouquet of flowers to Gretchen Buchenholz, who runs the Association to Benefit Children, because she -- she's the mother there each day that I can't be there. But she's the one that takes care of those kids.

But they wouldn't have the facilities and they wouldn't have everything they have if Frank and I didn't make it happen on a daily basis. So in a way we have 202 children.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Kathie Lee. The album, brand-new and terrific, "Born for You." Don't go away.


KING: Our guest is Kathie Lee Gifford in our remaining moments. Why do you think -- we discussed controversy at the beginning of this show. Why do you think people like to knock you? Forgetting controversy: Why do you think people like to make fun?

K. GIFFORD: They -- you'd really have to ask them.

KING: What's your guess?

K. GIFFORD: You know, all I know.

KING: You're America's sweetheart, you're goofy nice?

K. GIFFORD: I don't know. I really don't know, because it's so foreign to me.

KING: Because you're that nice. You're caustic. You jab me three or four times.

K. GIFFORD: I'm a little on the edgy side.

KING: Yes, I would say.

K. GIFFORD: But it's always done with affection, and that's the key to what Regis and I have done for 15 years. Our humor was always at each other's expense or our own, and it was not mean-spirited. It wasn't vicious Monica Lewinsky jokes. It wasn't, you know, political humor at the expense of another person. It was never, never that way.

And that I can walk away with feeling really, really good about, because I don't like that kind of humor. I think it's vicious and mean-spirited and there's no place for it in this world.

KING: So why do you think you get it?

K. GIFFORD: So when other people do it, my attitude is they must be miserable or they wouldn't do that. I don't know a kind, loving person that lives their life that way. So...

KING: People who knock people every day got to have problems?

K. GIFFORD: My attitude is if that's...

KING: You get up every day...

K. GIFFORD: ... what they do, then they must be miserable. And I can't mate a -- I cannot hate a miserable person. I can only feel sorry for them.

I was on the air yesterday with a deejay who was just miserable and a nasty woman, and I said to her, I said: Janet, you know what? I'm sorry. I feel very sorry for you.

I don't understand people that get pleasure from other people's pain. That's a sickness, and you really should deal with it. And I said it in a very loving way, because I don't hate her. I'm sorry she's miserable. But I'm not going to let her misery infect me. You know?

The last song on my album is a brilliant song by Julie Gold called "The Journey," and it says, "I won't let the darkness in. What a journey this has been. And that's the story of my life. I'm surrounded at times by darkness, I'm surrounded in a sea of lies, but that doesn't mean the truth doesn't matter and that doesn't mean that there is no light. And I hold on to the truth and I hold on to the light." And that's what gets you through.

KING: Did you ever turn down anything you regretted?


KING: Glad you stayed the 15 years?

K. GIFFORD: Very glad, very glad. Wouldn't have missed it for the world. Love Reg, love the memories, hope that I can come back.

KING: As a guest.

K. GIFFORD: As a guest. Not even just a guest. I hope that he -- I hope what happens is they can't find anybody. It'd be wonderful.

KING: He did a show where they brought back hosts -- co-hosts, right, didn't he?

K. GIFFORD: You know what? When I'm on -- when I was on maternity leave, the only time I was ever away for five weeks at a time, both times has been I had maternity leave. And Joy would be on and different people, and that was always fun for an audience, and Reg had fun with it. The only other woman he's comfortable with is Joy, and that's not going to happen. So...

K. GIFFORD: I don't know the reasons, but there are...

KING: She doesn't want to do...

K. GIFFORD: I don't know and I haven't asked, because, you know, that's their business. You know, I don't know. Honestly.

KING: Really, you don't ask?

K. GIFFORD: No, no. I haven't been -- no, no.

KING: It would seem like you logically say, "Hey, what about Joy?"

K. GIFFORD: Well, Joy would be the logical choice, absolutely, but I've been told that it's not going to happen.

KING: She's good.

K. GIFFORD: She's very good, because she gives Regis what he needs at the same time she's loving on him. You know, you can tell that she cares deeply for this man, but she's not going to put up with his bull. And then that's what you've got to do.

KING: Could you ever retire retire?

K. GIFFORD: No. No. Could you?

KING: Yes. To what? Milton Berle said, "To what?"

K. GIFFORD: To what? Yes. If I had been anything else in this world, I would have been an architect/interior designer. I've done 16 homes in the last 14 years of our marriage. I'll tell you what: If you can survive that, that's a good marriage. If you can survive 14 constructions, you know.

That I love. I love to get my feet in the mud and get -- I put down boards, and I say, I want a bathroom here and I...

KING: Are you the kind that likes to buy a house, sell a house, buy a house, sell a house?

K. GIFFORD: Yes, yes. Yes, I...

KING: Where are we going to move next?

K. GIFFORD: Give me a good fixer-upper. I don't know, but I'm ready, I'm ready. Life is a journey, and an exciting thrilling one, and it's not always fun. But -- but when you know that there is a purpose to your life and you know that you are guided and that you are loved every day of every moment of your life in spite of your problems, in spite of your inadequacies, it's an empowering thing, you know. That -- God loves me, and there's a purpose for my life.

KING: Thanks, dear.

K. GIFFORD: Thank you, Larry, and congratulations on the new baby.

KING: Thank you.

K. GIFFORD: Give Shawn my love.

KING: Another one coming!

K. GIFFORD: I know. You wicked boy!

KING: Next time you see her, she'll be hosting this show.

K. GIFFORD: Oh, I hope so.

KING: I'll go on maternity leave.


Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND." I'm Larry King in New York with Kathie Lee. Good night.



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