Why Kathie Lee Gifford Stopped Socializing After Her Husband’s Death

Kathie Lee Gifford co-hosted her last show of Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda in April 2019. Now enjoying her new home in Nashville, Tennessee, the former NBC star is pursuing a plethora of passion projects.

After her husband, ex-NFL player Frank Gifford, passed away in August 2015, Gifford went through some major adjustments. With their two adult children on their own and now facing life as a single woman, Gifford found it difficult to be around others.

Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Kathie Lee Gifford posts a tribute to her husband

Tying the knot on October 18, 1986, the two met on the set of Good Morning America, according to Good HousekeepingMarried for almost 30 years,
Gifford took to Instagram to share a tribute to her husband on the fourth anniversary of his death.

“Four years ago today God took this beautiful, wonderful husband and father to his real home -BET AV-THE FATHER’S HOUSE. We miss him everyday but we will hold him again!” she wrote. “Bet Av” is a Hebrew phrase meaning “the father’s house,” according to Today.com.

The couple’s daughter Cassidy also remembered her father on social media, posting a loving picture of her parents with the caption, “To have lost you means to have gotten you. And it was the best.” 

RELATED: Kathie Lee Gifford Pays a Visit to Hoda and Jenna on ‘Today’

‘Today’ star decides to head south

Deciding to move to Nashville after wrapping up on Today, Gifford described some of the factors that prompted her choice to relocate.

“That house is loaded with a gazillion memories,” she told AARP of her previous Connecticut home. “Sunset used to be a huge thing in our family. Every day, no matter what, we’d yell, ‘Sunset alert!’ and we had to stop whatever we were doing, go out, and honor another day.”

Though Gifford still took part in the ritual with her dogs, the experience ended up resulting in greater loneliness with her husband gone and her son and daughter out of the house.

“I still say it out loud to the puppies,” she said in April 2019 before planting roots down south. “We still go and do it, but sunset alerts are some of my saddest moments, when it’s just me and the dogs at home.”

RELATED: ‘Today Show:’ Former Co-Host Kathie Lee Gifford Reveals When She and Hoda Kotb ‘Started to Click’

Kathie Lee Gifford chose not to mix

While most know Gifford as a vivacious, extroverted personality, the former Today star revealed that she deliberately shied away from social gatherings for a while after Frank died.

“When you’re part of a couple, you don’t realize that the whole world is just made up of couples,” Gifford explained. “And all of a sudden, you’re that odd number at a dinner party. You’re the fifth, seventh, ninth person at the table. They’re always making an adjustment for you.”

Making an intentional choice to avoid group events, Gifford stuck to business interactions.

“I didn’t want to go out and go alone to things. I go to professional things alone, but nothing social,” the television personality shared. “I just wasn’t comfortable. And I didn’t want people giving me that widow look.”

Read more: Kathie Lee Gifford Reveals the Workout that Got Her in Killer Shape

Now relishing her new environment, Gifford is back on a social schedule in her Nashville home.

“I thought to myself, ‘Why am I so happy here?’ And I realized one of the biggest parts is that there are joyful people,” the former NBC star said of her new hometown. “I haven’t run into one cynic yet in Nashville. They love God, they love their country, they love music, wine and food. I’m in heaven in Nashville, Tennessee.”