Lifestyle & Human Interest

Kathie Lee Gifford Shares 'Crippling Loneliness' She's Felt Since Husband Frank's Death


Kathie Lee Gifford has been extremely open about her struggles with grief since her husband passed away.

Her husband of 29 years, NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, passed away in 2015.

Ever since his death, Gifford has publicly thanked God for the grace shown toward her and her family and shared how much of a role her faith has played in her life.

“My faith is not what I do for an hour on Sunday mornings; my faith is who I am,” she told AARP in a recent interview.

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“You know, the Bible talks about ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’ That means every nano-second of our life.”

In 2018 she told her audience that even though she wasn’t actively seeking out a new relationship, she was open to anything the Lord wants for her life.

While Gifford has not been shy about sharing how God has carried her through such hard times, she just recently opened up about exactly how difficult those times were.

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In a recent interview with AARP The Magazine for their 2019 April/May issue, she vulnerably talked about the “crippling loneliness” that sometimes creeps in.

“You battle different things as you get older, especially as a widow, you battle the loneliness when you lose a spouse,” she said. “It dawned on me the other day, I’m a widow, I’m an orphan, because my mother also passed, and I’m an empty nester all at the same time.”

Loneliness has a funny way of making certain situations more painful than others. Gifford shared a few of the moments that have been more difficult than others, like going to social events.

“When you’re part of a couple, you don’t realize that the whole world is just made up of couples,” she said. “And all of a sudden, you’re that odd number at a dinner party. You’re the fifth, seventh, ninth person at the table. They’re always making an adjustment for you.”

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“So I didn’t want to go out and go alone to things. I go to professional things alone, but nothing social. I just wasn’t comfortable.”

Even something as simple watching a sunset has served as a painful reminder of how empty her house is.

“Sunset used to be a huge thing in our family,” Gifford said. “Every day, no matter what, we’d yell, ‘Sunset alert!’ and we had to stop whatever we were doing, go out, and honor another day. And now I still say it out loud to the puppies. We still go and do it, but sunset alerts are some of my saddest moments when it’s just me and the dogs at home.”

Thankfully she has had her two children, Cody and Cassidy, as well as her co-anchor at the “Today” show, Hoda Kotb to help her get through her “darkest, darkest time.”

Now she is making big changes in hopes of making new memories.

Not only is she leaving the “Today” Show on April 5, 2019, after 11 years, but she has also written a movie called “Then Came You” about a widow traveling around the world to spread her late husband’s ashes. The movie has not been given a release date yet.

Gifford is also planning a big move from her Greenwich, Connecticut, home to Franklin, Tennessee, about 20 miles south of Nashville.

“I didn’t have a reason to have to stay in this big house anymore,” she said. “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 continued, “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.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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