Kathie Lee Gifford Reacts After Kelly Ripa Details Alleged Tensions with Regis Philbin

"That was my first thought, 'Lord, protect Joy and the girls from this.'"

Kathie Lee Gifford is speaking out about working with Regis Philbin after Kelly Ripa said she had a tense relationship with her late cohost — and it seems their experiences were very different.

Ripa detailed her alleged experiences with Regis in her new book, “Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories,” claiming it wasn’t a smooth transition after she was added to “Live!” following Gifford’s departure. “It was not a cakewalk,” she told PEOPLE. “It took years to earn my place there,” she added, saying she the had “good and bad days” with Philbin, before he retired. “You can’t make a person befriend you,” she concluded.

Appearing on Fox 5 Monday morning, Gifford was asked about Ripa’s book — and while she hasn’t read it, she made it clear she had seen the headlines and that her experience with Philbin was nothing less than perfect.

“I was very sorry to see the headlines. We see headlines all the time and you never know what’s true and what’s not true. I was in Israel when I saw that and went, ‘Oh, I hope this isn’t true,'” she explained. “I just hope it isn’t, because what’s the point? I don’t get it.”

“I’m not gonna read the book, I haven’t read it, I don’t even know if it’s out yet. I know what Regis was to me,” she continued.

“He was 15 years the best partner a person could ever have, professionally. But he was my friend. We were dear friends. And after I left the show, for the next 20 years, we were dearer friends.”

Kelly Ripa on Tensions with Regis Philbin: 'You Can't Make a Person Befriend You'

She also shared that she last saw Regis just two weeks before his death and, according to the host’s wife Joy, it was the “last time” she heard Philbin laugh.

“We were Frick and Frack, the odd couple,” Gifford continued. “We were absolutely perfect together for television. We never had an argument, not an unkind word in 15 years, so that was my reality.”

When asked whether she thought Joy would be “upset” by Ripa’s book, Gifford said, “That was my first thought, ‘Lord, protect Joy and the girls from this.'”

“In all the years I’ve known him, I never saw him unkind to anyone, I never did,” Kathie Lee concluded. “I’m not gonna say anything ugly about anybody. I never have and I’m not gonna start now. I’m just saying my reality is something completely different from that.”

Kelly Ripa Regrets Not Addressing Regis Philbin Rumors Sooner

Appearing on WWHL after her book release, Ripa noted she expected people to boycott it because she wrote about Philbin.

“There are people that are like ‘I will never read this book because all you do is trash Regis’ and it’s the opposite of that,” she told Andy Cohen.

“I don’t trash Regis… and I painstakingly wrote every single word of this book and it was hard and those chapters were the hardest in an overall hard process for me,” she added. “As a woman we are often [told] to take the high road and that is woman speak for ‘shut the f–k up.’ That’s what it is and that’s what it means.”

She also opened up about the drama that ensued following his exit, after he said the two never spoke after his departure from “Live!” and claimed was never invited back.

“I wish I would have set the record straight in real time,” Kelly said. “I really trusted the people around me, all of my ‘advisors’ — I don’t even know what that means, but people kept telling me, ‘take the high road, take the high road. You know the truth, it doesn’t really matter … People say all sorts of things that aren’t true, why do you even let it bother you? Who cares?'”

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