From Babysitter to a Famous Persona: Kathie Lee Gifford's Struggles, Family Life, Salary and Net Worth

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From Babysitter to a Famous Persona: Kathie Lee Gifford's Struggles, Family Life, Salary and Net Worth

Quick Fact Check

  • Date of Birth 1953-08-16
  • Age 66 Years 1 Month(s)
  • Nationality American
  • Birth Place Paris, France
  • Profession Television Host, Singer
  • Birth Name Kathie Lee Epstein
  • Nick Name Kathie, Kathie Me
  • Zodiac Sign Leo
  • Ethnicity/Race Mixed
  • Father Joan Cuttell
  • Mother Aaron Epstein
  • Brother/s David Paul Epstein
  • Sister/s Michie Mader
  • Son/s Cody Gifford
  • Daughter/s Cassidy Gifford
  • Relationship Status Single
  • Husband/Spouse Frank Gifford (m. 1986–2015) (Died)
  • Divorce/Split Yes (Once)
  • Ex-Boyfriend Carl Weathers (1984-1985)
  • Ex-Husband Paul Johnson (m. 1976–1983)
  • Salary $5 Million Per Year
  • Net Worth $60 Million
  • Career 1970-present
  • High School Bowie High School
  • College Oral Roberts University
  • Height/ How Tall? 5'5" (1.65 m)
  • Weight 53 kg (117 lbs)
  • Feet (Shoe) Size 7 (US)
  • Hair Long
  • Hair Color Blonde
  • Eye Color Dark Brown
  • Lesbian No

Hardships are a part of what people are made up of. Everyone has to face struggles, whether big or small, in their life. Losing those who are dearest must be one of the saddest things that a person has to deal with. 

Speaking of struggles, Kathie Gifford, an American television host, singer, songwriter, Comedian, and actress expressed her grievances for the loss of her husband and the love of her life, Frank Gifford.

Learn more about her relationship with her now-deceased husband and also know her experience after his death. Embark on her backstory and find out about her past struggles as well including how she used to be just a babysitter and what controversies she has faced?

The Death Of Her Husband

Frank Gifford passed away on 9th August 2015 at the age of 84. Gifford was known as an NFL Hall of Famer, a former New York Giants star, and a Newscaster. He and Kathie shared 29 years long marriage. They have two children from their relationship; Cody (29) and Cassidy (25).

Read More About Kathie's Family:- Kathie Lee Gifford got Married twice. Do you know who her Husbands were? Children: Son and a Daughter

The loss of her loving husband must have felt like the world turning upside down, but Kathie returned to the sets of her show, ‘Today," despite NBC giving her all the time that she needed.

Frank Gifford during his NFL days (Photo: Hollywoodreporter.com)

In an interview published in the Spring 2016 issue, she told the outlet,

"When life stops being challenging, you might as well say, 'Sayonara, sister’ because the joy of living is finding out something brand new every day."

(From right) Frank Gifford, Katherine Lee Gifford, Cody, and Cassidy Gifford (Source: hollywoodreporter.com)

Babysitter And Terrible Relationships In Past

It’s not surprising that Kathie has bounced back from this incident so quickly. She has had to face many other struggles in her life. Kathie spent a disillusioning year babysitting, doing secretarial work, and occasionally singing in Southern Baptist churches for Anita Bryant, who wanted to polish her skills as a Christian Entertainer. She did not have enough money for studying music, so she secured a full scholarship for Gifford at the evangelical Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Beginning in 1972, Gifford sang on Oral Roberts' television show. When she became aware of the manipulation happening behind Roberts' charismatic veneer, she dropped out of the university.

Experiencing a form of spiritual awakening, Gifford used the remainder of her scholarship money to rent an apartment. She spent a few weeks scribbling down her spiritual thoughts, which she eventually published as The Quiet Riot in 1976.

In April of that year, Gifford married Paul Johnson, her Bible study group leader and owner of a Christian music publishing company. She later admitted it was a show-biz marriage, no more than "a contract with the state of California."

After that, she landed many small roles in NBC while she was visiting her friend. Later, she became the co-anchor of ‘The Morning Show,’ and her career's graph has only gone upwards after that.

Surrounded By Controversies

However, like every celebrity, she faced some controversies. In 1996, the National Labor Committee reported that child laborers were producing her clothing line. She denied all knowledge of it and immediately embarked on a mission to advocate for stronger laws against sweatshop labor.

She further ensured the public that all profits from her clothing line went to Cassidy's Place, a home she set up for AIDS and crack babies. Despite her efforts, Gifford found herself the butt of jokes for months.

In 1997, Kathie Lee received another horrible blow when The Globe tabloid published photographs of her husband with a flight attendant (The flight attendant was later discovered to have received $75,000 from The Globe to seduce Frank.)

Kathie Lee suffered through personal trauma and public embarrassment but remained with her husband. She had become infamous for her constant references to Frank and their children. While her fans loved her honesty and intimacy, her critics labeled her musings as annoyingly self-righteous.

Therefore, she has come a long way from being a babysitter and a pageant singer, but she believes that life is not to be underestimated because of the struggles she has faced. She currently has a net worth of $60 million coming jointly from her salary as well as her late husband’s will.

NBC's Most Charming Duo, Kathie Lee Gifford, And Hoda Kotb

Whether you're in joy or pain, grieving or enjoying, a friend to share it with makes all the difference. And for Kathie Gifford, this particular friend was Hoda Kotb. The Today pair were partners for over a decade and were critically acclaimed as one of the most enjoyable host duos in NBC's history.

On their 9th Anniversary together, Kathie decided to dedicate a line or two for her beloved best friend, and these lines were quite a tear jerker. 

"I told you this before, but I cannot believe the path my life took after our lives intersected, So for every single day of the nine years, I love you. Hoda, I love you with all my heart, I have been blessed two times to work with the most extraordinary people in the world ( the other one referring to  Regis Philbin past TV partner who was filling in for Hoda at that time), and it just keeps getting better."

On a later episode of Today, Kathie dedicated a few more words to Hoda after her return. She confessed when she started falling in love with Hoda and talked about how they first started. 

"We didn't have the chemistry for the first year. We did have the chemistry when we first sat down, when I first met her and we had lunch because I was sitting with the real, authentic, unbelievably fascinating Hoda, I said, 'You know Hoda, if you could be the same person on camera as the girl I had lunch with, we could have a good show."

She further added about how they became the best of friends and how Hoda and her relationship changed over time saying,

"As we worked together a little bit more, she got rid of the IFB in her ear, she got rid of all of her notes and just started talking and sharing life. You start sharing life, and you start falling in love with the person. You become real, genuine friends. Honestly, that's the reason I've stayed nine years because, by the time I was ready to leave, I was in love with Hoda and in love with so many of the people I work with here."

One can tell they share an inspirational relationship. 

Kathie and Hoda celebrate their 9th partnership anniversary, Cheers to their unbreakable relationship! (Photo: Closerweekly.com)

Kathie Lee Gifford And Tom Selleck Make Out On Air

Tom Selleck was once featured on Today where he was promoting his new show 'Blue Bloods;' however, the show didn't end before giving that 'wow scene.' Tom Selleck and Gifford were reminiscing about the old days.

They shared their memories, in particular, one event where Selleck was on the air with Regis Philbin and Kathie on  "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" where Kathie shared a kiss with Tom. 

"Regis got into me kissing Kevin Kline, because both his and my character were gay. But Regis wouldn't quit, and you kind of saved me. You kinda said, 'What the hell?' And you planted one on me, which was kind of you saying to the audience, 'He only went there as a tourist,' you know? That shut Regis up, which is -- as you know -- almost impossible!"

Kathie confessed about liking the flowers Tom sent the day after and then re-enacted the kiss scene once again. 

However, this incident is one that remains between the boundary of friendship and has almost no chance to bloom as Tom himself is dedicated to his wife, Jillie Mack. 

Leaving Today Show

On 5th April 2019, Kathie Lee appeared on Today for the last time. Just shy of two days for her 11th anniversary of hosting the impressive show, she bid goodbye to her day job.

Well, the NBC crew left no stones unturned to make her last day at work memorable. Special guest John Cena made an appearance and made Kathie and Hoda play fun games.

Explore:Nancy Snyderman, A Family Woman Leaves NBC; Where Is She Today

To make the farewell more touching, the TV anchor’s son Cody also made an appearance. Well, Kathie being a mom didn’t let one last chance to embarrass him slip; she went on to reveal that her firstborn was indeed conceived in the Carnival Cruise.

Talking about her other child, daughter  Cassidy- who was busy shooting a series The Baxters- couldn’t attend the show but sent an exclusive clip for her mother.

On final 30 seconds of the show, Kathie recited a Bible verse and bid goodbye to everyone. Although not on the program, she will be around in a lot of her endeavors. The talented host will focus her energy on film, music, and book projects.

Kathie Lee Gifford's Short Bio

Kathie Lee Gifford was born on August 16, 1953, in Paris, France. She graduated from Bowie High school and went on to attend Oral Roberts University in drama and music. She has appeared in 'The Meredith Vierra Show' and 'Extra' since 2015 and 2014 respectively till present. She has also appeared as a guest on 'Today' since 2008.

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