Kathie Lee Gifford Opens Up on Decision to Leave “TODAY”

TODAY Instagram / @today

It was a bittersweet moment for fans of “TODAY” on Tuesday, December 11 when Kathie Lee Gifford announced that she’d be leaving the show after 11 years. While a few reasons for her departure were cited in her announcement, Kathie Lee is now opening up further about her decision.

“You want to get your story out before somebody else tries to tell your story in an inaccurate way,” she said the following day alongside her co-hosts.

She shared that while she’s passionate about her job at “TODAY,” she has other passions that she wants to focus her energy on. “All these other projects have been bubbling up in me,” she said. “Movies and music and just so many wonderful things, and I need the time for them to do them properly.”

In fact, Kathie Lee shared she originally had planned to depart from “TODAY” sooner, but after turmoil within the network involving Matt Lauer, she was asked to stay on for a bit longer.

“I don’t want to leave, I just have to do my other stuff,” she recalls telling “TODAY” executives at the time. “But if you guys can work it out for me where I can still do my projects and stay— I was thrilled with that decision.”

Now, however, Kathie Lee believes it’s time for her to officially depart— and she has the unwavering support of her fellow “TODAY” co-hosts.

“I always felt like sitting next to you was like a master class in this broadcasting business,” Hoda Kotb told her. “Your fearlessness is contagious.”