Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa’s Time as ‘Live!’ Co-Hosts: Relive the Highs and Lows

by Kayla Zadel

It seemed like a match made in TV heaven. America’s sweetheart, Kelly Ripa, paired with gentle giant Michael Strahan.

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan were off to a wonderful start when Strahan joined the morning talk show in 2012. Then things took a turn for the worst on “Live With Kelly & Michael.” Strahan ended up abruptly leaving the show four years later.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the good, and the not-so-good times the talk show hosts offered up for public consumption.

Michael Strahan Thinks Kelly’s ‘Brilliant’

In an exit interview published on TV Insider that’s come to light earlier this year, Strahan actually complements Ripa on her smarts.

Strahan says, “She’s brilliant.” Then the Super Bowl champion continues saying, “If people think, ‘Oh, he hates her’ — I don’t hate her. I do respect her for what she can do at her job. I cannot say enough about how good she is at her job.”

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan Learn to Dance

The duo had a variety of guests on the show ranging from Oprah to Tyler Perry and even WWE star John Cena. But they love when they can interact with their guests. Like the time Korean pop legend Psy taught them how to do his famous dance to the song “Gangnam Style.” Or when the two learned to salsa dance with “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Mary Murphy.

Halloween was Always a Hit

Strahan and Ripa dressed up in some pretty iconic duos for Halloween, like Beyonce and Jay-Z and even Princess Leia and Lando Calrissian from “Star Wars.” As a matter of fact, they also recruited staff from the show to partake in the Halloween festivities.

One particularly memorable year, the two dressed up as the iconic “Sons of Anarchy” characters portrayed by star actors Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal.

Partnership vs. Sidekick

Strahan says he felt more like a sidekick to Ripa, instead of a partner. He compared his time on “Live!” to that of when he was in the NFL.

“But the mental aspect of working in TV is like it was in football. I don’t want to be on the show and feel like everyone else is carrying me. I want us all to be successful. I’ve done things where I went in with team concepts, and I got there and realized it’s not about team. It’s selfish, and I don’t operate well under that,” he said.

When he was asked to clarify if he meant sports or TV were selfish, he said “both.” However, “on television, I’ve had jobs where I got there and felt like ‘Wow, I didn’t know I was supposed to be a sidekick. I thought I was coming here to be a partner.’”

Strahan Stuck to His True Self

Strahan says that he maintained his true personality throughout his entire time he was with “Live!” Furthermore, he believes that any problems that were started, were not directly his fault.

“Well, I remained the same person I was from Day 1. One thing I will not do is alter my attitude for somebody else’s. I learned so much from Kelly, so much from (executive producer) Michael Gelman. When it was time to go, it was time to go. Certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up,” he admits.

Strahan did acknowledge his departure from the show “could have been handled better.”

Ripa Gave Strahan Public Silent Treatment

After Strahan announced his leaving of the show to join “Good Morning America,” Ripa sent a very silent message of her own. She took an unplanned absence from the show before she spoke out on the developing news surrounding her co-host.