Kelly Ripa Claims She Used A Janitor’s Closet As An Office In Her Early Years On ‘Live’

Kelly Ripa has come a long way.

The “Live” host, 52, opened up about the obstacles she faced during her rise to the top of daytime TV in a wide-ranging interview with Variety published on Tuesday, in which she recalled being allegedly denied an office during her first few years on the show.

“It was the strangest experience I’ve ever had in my life,” Ripa shared with the mag. “I was told that I couldn’t have an office. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially because there were empty offices that I could have easily occupied.”

Ryan Seacrest & Kelly Ripa's Friendship Over The Years

Ryan Seacrest & Kelly Ripa’s Friendship Over The Years

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Ripa claimed that she was informed at the time that the vacant space was reserved for visiting West Coast executives, and that she wasn’t given her own private area until she started using a janitor’s closet.

“It was after my fourth year that they finally cleaned out the closet and put a desk in there for me. And so I was working in the janitor’s closet with a desk so that I could have a place to put things,” she said.

After original co-host Regis Philbin’s departure from “Live” in 2011, Ripa said, she expected to have earned an office since she was preparing to be the senior on-air personality for the show.

However, she claimed she was denied the opportunity once again before deciding to take over the space on her own.

“They said, ‘Oh, no, we’re saving that.’ And I said, ‘Saving it for what?’ And they go, ‘Well, for when the new guy comes.’ And I looked at them, and I said, ‘I am the new guy.’ I just moved my things,” she recalled. “I forced my way into the office because I couldn’t understand how I would still be in the janitor’s closet and somebody new would come in and get the office.”

Ripa is now preparing for another new chapter on “Live” as friend and Ryan Seacrest makes way for Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, to take over his co-hosting slot he’s occupied since 2017.

Ripa and Consuelos, 52, have been married for 26 years after meeting during their time as actors on “All My Children” in the ’90s, and she reflected with Variety on the pay disparity she experienced back then with her now-husband and throughout much of her subsequent career.

“I was used to that pay inequity because that was my life for 15 years – 11 years on ‘All My Children’ and then during the Regis years, certainly. I would expect a man who was at the helm of that show for many years before me to earn a substantial amount more than me,” she said.

Ripa now earns a reported $20 million a year, but she said having finally achieved that salary level still has its drawbacks.

Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos' Love Story Over The Last 25 Years

Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos’ Love Story Over The Last 25 Years

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“There has been a weaponization of my salary, as though I somehow should not ask for the money that the men routinely earn. And I’ve earned it the hard way,” she told the mag.

Looking ahead, Ripa plans to take a year off for the first time in her life once she does eventually step down from “Live” for good – and she’s already hopeful about the next generation of talent to step in.

“I don’t want to put a timeline on it but I do believe there is a great opportunity to get two younger people and start training them because I like seamless transitions,” she said. “However long it takes to get two people up and ready is how long we’ll be there.”

— Erin Biglow

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