Michael Strahan Opened Up About His Tense Relationship with Former Live Co-Host Kelly Ripa

"Certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up."

After nearly 4 years as the co-host of ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael, former NFL star Michael Strahan made a hasty exit, switching over to Good Morning America.

Rumors concerning the nature of his departure focused on Strahan’s relationship with co-host Kelly Ripa. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Strahan set the record straight, admitting that he was “asked” to leave the show — “It was really not a choice. It was a request.” As for his rumored issues with Ripa, Strahan said, “certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up.”

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The GMA presenter alluded to the problems, however, telling NYT, “I’ve had jobs where I got there and felt like: Wow, I didn’t know I was supposed to be a sidekick. I thought I was coming here to be a partner.” When asked whether it was Live he’d referenced, Strahan said (with a laugh), “It was an experience!”

Strahan explained that he tried to iron things out with Ripa by organizing meetings with his co-host every few weeks. “We met a few times, and that was fine,” he began. “But then eventually she said she didn’t need to meet. Can’t force somebody to do something they don’t want to do.”

Rocky history notwithstanding, Strahan said he “learned so much” from Ripa. “If people think, Oh, he hates her — I don’t hate her. I do respect her for what she can do at her job. I cannot say enough about how good she is at her job.”

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