“Today” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford opened up about leaving her show behind after becoming a widow and empty nester.

Weeks before her final broadcast on April 15, Gifford teared up while discussing her emotional departure next month. In an interview with People, the 65-year-old discussed her “Today” show exit and move to Nashville following Frank Gifford’s death.

Although her friends told her not to make any sudden changes after her husband of 29 years passed away at 84 in 2015, Gifford said after her devastating personal losses, she realized it was time to make some adjustments.

Gifford said:

“I experienced huge changes. I’ve become a widow, an orphan and an empty-nester all at once. There’s nothing really keeping me in this part of the country anymore except for my job.”

The talk show host discussed the loneliness of being solo with her adult children Cody, 29, and Cassidy, 26, living across the country in Los Angeles.

In an interview with AARP The Magazine, Gifford said at times the loneliness can be “crippling” after losing her mother and husband:

“You battle a lot of things when you get older, especially as a widow, when you lose a spouse.

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. If you’re not careful, what you’ve lost in life can define you. It’s so much healthier to be defined by what you still have. 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.”

She added:

“I had to make moves and spiritual moves. You gotta make new memories or the old ones are going to kill you.”

The three-time Emmy award-winning co-host is now focusing on writing and producing Christian songs and films out of Nashville.

About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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