Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls Late Husband Frank’s Affair

Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls How She Found Forgiveness for Late Husband Frank After ‘Very Painful’ Affair

“I don’t want to be that person, that bitter, angry, unhappy, miserable human being,” the Emmy-winning TV host said

Kathie Lee Gifford is reflecting on heartbreak and forgiveness.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the former TODAY anchor, discussed one of the most difficult topics of her new book, I Want to Matter: Your Life Is Too Short and Too Precious to Waste, which is out soon.

Though it’s been nearly a decade since her late husband Frank Gifford’s death, his infidelity during their marriage still brings her “very painful” memories.

“My faith was definitely tested the most during the whole year dealing with Frank’s infidelity because I thought that I had finally found my soulmate,” Kathie Lee said in an interview with the outlet.

She and Frank tied the knot in 1986, and welcomed son Cody in 1990 and daughter Cassidy in 1993.

The former New York Giants athlete’s extramarital affair happened in 1997 with former flight attendant Suzen Johnson and was exposed by a tabloid.

In an extended version of the conversation shared on ET’s website, she added, “I could have let the seed germinate but I don’t want to be that person, that bitter, angry, unhappy, miserable human being ’cause you know what you end up doing? You end up making everybody around you every bit as miserable.”

“I have always felt from my earliest youth that I had the choice every day of my life to be a blessing or a burden and I want to be a blessing.”

The former daytime television host also opened up about knowing when to walk away — and not necessarily just from romantic relationships.

“Part of it is just gut instinct. I’ve been in this business 60 years now,” she said, discussing her exit from both Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and Kathie Lee and Hoda.

“Each time, it’s been because it was deeply prayed for,” she added after noting she never thought she would have four Emmys.

For her 2020 memoir, It’s Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best Act of Your Life, Kathie Lee spoke to PEOPLE about the hurt Frank’s affair caused.

“Sometimes the past is not your favorite place to visit,” she said at the time. “But I can look back on things with a deeper wisdom now, and if I can share that with people and it helps them, then it’s worth it.”

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She told PEOPLE that she also sunk into a deep depression: “Nobody knows what I went through. You feel hopeless and you don’t want to live anymore.”

Still, fond memories remained.

“He was a very good, dear, gentle, generous man. So many things about him that I valued as my friend, I continued to value in him as my husband and the father of my children,” she said of Frank. “But the person you loved the most in your life is the person that can hurt you the most.”