Former NBC “Today” show host Kathie Lee Gifford discussed her recent move to Nashville, Tennessee, saying she appreciates being around people who love God and America after living and working in and around New York City for over three decades.
“What I do not miss about the Northeast is the arrogance of it and the cynicism,” Gifford said Tuesday during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Five,” which was broadcasted live from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I don’t mean this as a blanket statement, but as a culture,” she added, noting she has many good friends in the Northeast.
“It’s a getcha, gotcha kind of a culture and after 35 years of it, I said, ‘You know what, I want to hang out with people who love God, love my wine, love music, love our country.’”
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Gifford, whose last day on “Today” was April 5, said that she had told NBC two years ago that she would be leaving the program, which she co-hosted with Hoda Kotb.
“You know you run out of tick tock in life and there are things I wanted to do and been dying to do and you just need to make time for certain things,” the 65-year-old star said. “And I’ve been so blessed to be there for 11 years and make the friendships that I had, but it was time.”
“The Five” co-host Greg Gutfeld teased Gifford and wondered why she never stopped by Fox News during her time working in New York City, pointing out Rockefeller Center is close to FNC’s studios in Manhattan.
“Oh, like NBC would let me go over to Fox, come on,” Gifford shot back. “Now I’m free, I can go anywhere. I’m going to do some porn. Why not?”
“It just makes me happy to say that,” she joked. “I don’t know why. It’s just so ridiculous. I love it. Because there are some really strange sick people out there, who would actually like it.”
Admitting to an awkward segue, Gifford pivoted to speak about a short film she directed in Israel earlier this spring with Christian music artist Nicole C. Mullen called, “The God Who Sees.”
It tells the story of Hagar, Ruth, David and Mary Magdalene, who Gifford contended — though Biblical figures that lived thousands of year ago — dealt with the same issues people deal with in modern times, like sex trafficking, single motherhood, widowhood, despair and mental illness.
The video offers a message of hope that God sees you and is near in the midst of those difficult circumstances.
“My faith is not what I do for an hour on Sunday mornings; my faith is who I am,” Gifford said in a recent interview with AARP.
“You know, the Bible talks about ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’ That means every nano-second of our life.”
Gifford purchased a home in Franklin, Tennessee, about 20 miles south of Nashville, last October.
“I didn’t have a reason to have to stay in this big house anymore,” she said of her home in Greenwich, Connecticut (outside of New York City), where she raised her family with her husband Frank Gifford, who passed in August 2015.
“I found myself dealing with crippling loneliness. I had to make a move to someplace physically, and I had to make emotional moves and spiritual moves. You gotta make new memories or the old ones are going to kill you.”
She added, “If you’re not careful, what you’ve lost in life can define you. It’s so much better to be defined by what you still have, it’s just healthier. I’m making big changes in my life because I need to, really big changes that are feeding my soul. Otherwise, despair sets in and loneliness can be crippling.”
Gifford told AARP that being in Nashville brings her joy.
“I thought to myself, ‘Why am I so happy here?’ And I realized one of the biggest parts is that there are joyful people,” she said.
“I haven’t run into one cynic yet in Nashville. They love God, they love their country, they love music, wine and food. I’m in heaven in Nashville, Tennessee.”
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