Television host, singer, songwriter, comedian, and actress Kathie Lee Gifford (née Epstein) was married to sports commentator Frank Gifford for 29 years before his death in 2015, but she revealed recently that her marriage was rocked early on by infidelity and that only her faith gave her the strength not to leave.
Kathie Lee, who recently turned 64, is best known for her 15-year run on the talk show Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, which she co-hosted with Regis Philbin. She has received 11 Daytime Emmy nominations and won her first Daytime Emmy in 2010 as part of the Today team.
"Having been through [infidelity] myself, it's no fun. It is horrible. It is a tremendous test of your relationship," she admitted earlier this year. "You better be clinging to God really tight already because you're practically going to be breaking your hand holding on."
She admitted being tempted to walk out on her marriage at the time but says her ability to forgive and the couple's desire to repair their relationship, ultimately prevailed.
That ability to forgive came from Kathie Lee's understanding of how much God had forgiven her. By placing the weight of all her sin and guilt on Jesus Christ on the cross, 2000 years ago at Calvary, God had offered Kathie Lee the opportunity to know forgiveness of all her wrongdoings and newness of life in Jesus.
Kathie Lee accepted this gift as a 12-year-old after watching the Billy Graham-produced film The Restless Ones and remains an outspoken Christian, peppering her Twitter feed with Bible verses and references to God. On August 20, 2017 she tweeted: Who among the gods is like You, O LORD? Who is like You-Majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:11 #NO ONE!
She expressed disappointment that "too many" people fail to work hard to stay in their marriage.
"A lot of people get divorced for a hangnail these days," she said, a sentiment she addressed on her independently produced album The Heart of a Woman, released in 2000 and featuring the single Love Never Fails.
She herself has known the pain of divorce, as her first marriage, to publisher Paul Johnson, ended after seven years.
"It takes a lifetime to build that kind of friendship and history together and trust, and it takes one stupid decision to destroy it," Kathie Lee said. "Sometimes you run out of time to build it up again. I was grateful that [Frank and I] could."
She also feels grateful that the couple's children, Cody and Cassidy, now 27 and 23, were too young to realize what was going on at the time.
"By the time they did know, they realized how much their parents had loved each other - and them - by sticking it out."
She wrote last August: "I've gotten through this past year [since Frank's death] the way I've gotten through every day of my life: faithfully trusting God to do what God does, which is to show up, redeem and restore. God doesn't promise you a year. He promises you a day at a time. He broke life into 24-hour periods because that's all we can handle. The next day, you reach for your fresh cup of mercy that you need every bit as much as the day before."•