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Kelly Ripa & Michael Strahan Hold Hands on ‘Live!’: 'Our Long National Nightmare Is Over'

Kelly Ripa & Michael Strahan Hold Hands on ‘Live!’: 'Our Long National Nightmare Is Over'

Earlier this morning, Kelly Ripa made her return to “Live! with Kelly and Michael” after a nearly one-week absence.

Despite rumors that there was turmoil between Ripa and co-host Michael Strahan, they walked out holding hands. She told the audience after receiving a standing ovation, "Guys, guys, guys, guys — our long national nightmare is over... I’m gonna be completely honest — I’m fairly certain that there are trained professional snipers with tranquilizer darts in case I drift too far off message.”

Ripa continued, "I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming me back to the show. The love, the show of support through this bizarre time has been really overwhelming. I really, I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with the company I earned the right... In that time, I gained some perspective. I always speak from the heart, I didn't wanna come out here and just, like, say something I might regret.” Watch!

She continued, "Since we're being honest, I don't consider this just a workplace — this is my second home. This is a place that I've devoted myself to, not just because of you, our loyal viewers, but because of all of the producers and the crew who work on this show. We have an incredible team. We are incredibly devoted to one another. We are family,” Kelly reiterated.

Kelly also took time to congratulate Michael on his full-time job at “Good Morning America,” saying, "I am thrilled for Michael... this is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn't be, and we couldn't be, prouder of you and everything we accomplished together. So, back to the show, this is entertainment — it's supposed to be entertaining — so let’s get back to what we do best and start the show."

After Ripa’s comments, Michael said, "I'm so happy you're back. And one thing I know about you is you love this show, you love the fans, you love this staff, I love you... This show has been transforming for me. And I know this show lives on because you are the queen of morning television... And I'm right down the street. You need me, I'm comin' back to help out!"

Michael and Kelly reportedly exchanged a few cordial texts over the weekend, but he apparently had no idea how she would address her absence. A source told People, "They didn't talk about it beforehand but he respected that it was her thing to do, however she wanted to do it."

The source continued, "The vibe between them is all business. It remained tense. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Nobody shared with Michael what she was going to do. But he just went there to do his show and be professional."

Before the show, "Extra's" cameras caught Kelly leaving her New York apartment with husband Mark Consuelos, who walked a few paces ahead of her.

Kelly was seen carrying Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt's book, "The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss." Is she sending a subtle message, or is she hinting that Cooper could be Michael’s replacement?

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Last week, Kelly was spotted holding a copy of “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,” written by Malcolm Gladwell.

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