As Kelly Ripa gets ready to start a new chapter at Live! with her husband Mark Consuelos taking over for Ryan Seacrest, the daytime talk show staple is opening up about her early days at ABC. Turns out, she dealt with a lot of sexism, and it wasn’t great. Despite landing the coveted spot co-hosting with Regis Philbin, the network was not in any hurry to accommodate Ripa in any way.
Ripa has previously revealed that ABC kept her in the dark twice when Philbin and Michael Strahan were getting ready to leave, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. When she first arrived on the show, ABC reportedly “commanded” Ripa to use Philbin’s hair and make-up team. She was also denied a private bathroom, which meant she had to use the same one as the audience.
“Picture this,” Ripa says. “We have a studio audience — like 250 people! — and I have to queue up. Particularly when I was pregnant, it was extraordinarily exhausting to have to wait in line. I have to host the show, and I’m still waiting in line to use the bathroom. It just seemed, you know, a very needlessly difficult situation.” What did tourists think of having to stand in line to pee with Kelly Ripa? “Yeah,” she says, taking a beat. “They couldn’t believe it either.”
Ripa revealed how she also spent years fighting for an office, only to be reluctantly given access to a janitor’s closet during her fourth season while actual offices were left empty in case executives visited from the West Coast.