Kathie Lee Gifford says Howard Stern asked for her forgiveness after feud

“He’s a very odd duck,” said the former ‘Today’ anchor

Kevin E G Perry
Los Angeles
Wednesday 29 May 2024 22:09
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Kathie Lee Gifford has revealed that Howard Stern called her to apologize for instigating their decades-old feud.

The former Today host, 70, writes about the incident in her new book I Want to Matter: Your Life Is Too Short and Too Precious to Waste.

Speaking to Fox News about the theme of forgiveness that runs through the book, Gifford said: “It was a surprise to get a voicemail from Howard Stern. Once I listened to it, I said to my kids at the table, ‘Well, pigs have now officially flown...’”

The pair had been at odds since 1995, when Gifford sang the national anthem at that year’s Super Bowl while her husband, NFL star Frank Gifford, hosted the live telecast.

While Gifford was performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” she heard booing, and later learned that Stern had asked his listeners to boo Gifford when she was introduced.

Years later, when Stern was appearing on Today in 2012 to announce that he was joining the judging panel of America’s Got Talent, Gifford decided to react to his provocations with kindness. “The Lord… said, ‘Kathie, go down and say hello to him, and wish him well with the show,’” recalled Gifford. “And I said, ‘OK Lord.’ I got up out of my hair and makeup. Those girls had been told, ‘Don’t let Kathie go anywhere near the studio.’ I couldn’t care less. I go downstairs. They go, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘I’m going to go say hello to Howard.’”

Howard Stern asked his listeners to boo Kathie Lee Gifford when she performed ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at the Super Bowl in 1995
Howard Stern asked his listeners to boo Kathie Lee Gifford when she performed ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at the Super Bowl in 1995 (Getty)

Gifford recalled that she wished Stern well, then returned to the makeup room. Later that day, she received an apologetic voicemail from the radio host. “He says – I can’t even use the language that he used,” said Gifford. “It was a lot of F-words, but he was saying, ‘I can’t believe how nice you were to me. I’ve been so rude to you and you were so nice. I just need to apologize to you. Please call me.’”

Later, Stern called her again and Gifford says they spoke privately and he asked her to forgive him.

“I said, ‘I’m really happy for you that you’re asking for forgiveness, because anytime we hurt somebody in life, it’s important to ask for forgiveness,’” remembered Gifford.

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“‘But I just want you to know that I forgave you 30 years ago.’ He goes, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I forgave you 30 years ago, and I’ve been praying for you every day since. And it’s the truth. He goes, ‘Oh my God.’ I said, ‘Would you like to come to dinner sometime?’ He goes, ‘You’d have me at your house?’ I said, ‘Of course.’”

“He’s a very odd duck,” added Gifford. “But then I saw him a couple of times over at Sirius, and we were fine. I can get along with a rock.”

Earlier this month, Jerry Seinfeld apologised to Stern after making candid comments about his comedy skills.

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