Why Kathie Lee Gifford Insists She is Not ‘Reinventing Herself’

Kathie Lee Gifford is thriving in her new home down south. After leaving her post on Today With Kathie Lee and Hoda in April 2019, the former NBC co-host continues to set down roots in Nashville, Tennessee

Now pursuing her passion projects of songwriting, directing, and producing, Gifford does not describe her life as a “reinvention” despite leaving a longtime career in television. 

Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford | Tyler Essary/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

‘Today’ star moves to Music City

Flourishing in her new surroundings, Gifford relishes the creativity and sense of community she’s found in Nashville.

“It’s the most creative place in the world. I came from Greenwich, Connecticut, 38 years I’ve lived in the Northeast,” she told D Magazine in October. “Never ever if we had a dinner party did anybody take a guitar off your wall, go and sit at your piano and you start writing songs and you have a jam session.”

Gifford revealed that those impromptu musical brainstorming sessions often took on a life of their own.  

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“And the next day you go, you know what? That song we wrote last night, let’s go record it. Then we’d go record it,” Gifford shared. “Then the next day, I’m putting it in one of my movies that I’m writing. So it’s just this constant, like, what any artist experiences when they’re in their full joy, full zone.”

Kathie Lee Gifford, director

Now that she doesn’t have to abide by a rigorous television schedule, Gifford now gets to work on the projects she previously had to put on the shelf. 

“I did not retire from life,” the former Today star said. “I retired from a certain show. I’d had it with daytime television. I’ve been living it for 35 years, off and on. I was ready to manage my time completely on my own. I realized that for the first time in my life that I was completely free to do whatever I wanted to do.”

With a love for music and film, Gifford wrote, directed, and starred in her own movie entitled Then Came You. Enlisting Craig Ferguson to co-star, Gifford’s age bracket is her target audience.

“Hollywood has ignored elderly people. And we’re elderly,” she told AARP. “I’m considered a senior citizen. But I’ve just decided that at this point in my life, I’m not gonna use my senior citizen discount to go to other people’s movies. I’m gonna make movies for them.” 

‘I’m 10 percent silly’

Gifford’s husband – NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford – passed away in August 2015. With their two grown children out on their own and her Today chapter concluded, the former NBC star has been feverishly continuing her film work and songwriting. Yet Gifford doesn’t see her life now as a reinvention. 

“That is the worst description of what I’m doing,” she said. “I’m not reinventing myself at all. I am evolving as an artist and a human being, and I will be till the day I die.” 

While Gifford is known for her vivacious personality and quick sense of humor, she insists she’s actually more reflective than raucous.

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“People who think I’m a silly person do not know me at all,” the former Today co-host revealed. “I’m 10 percent silly and 90 percent dead serious in my life.”