As Michael Strahan prepares to exit "Live! with Kelly and Michael" on Friday, Kelly Ripa is speaking out about the drama surrounding his departure.
Ripa was blindsided by the news that Strahan was leaving for "Good Morning America," learning about it just before the rest of America. Her immediate response was to take time off to collect her thoughts.
In an exclusive interview with People, she opened up about what happened.
"There's a part of me that can say, 'Okay, I understand. This may have been an oversight,'" Ripa explained. "And again, after 26 years, at this point we are like a family. And sometimes when you are so comfortable with somebody, you may not give them the same consideration as somebody you're not as comfortable with — a certain formality falls away."
She went on to say, "I think that all people are deserving of fair treatment in the workplace. People deserve respect. People should be treated equally and with dignity."
Ripa said that when it comes to big business, it is easy to forget that we are all just human, and that "people have feelings."
"It's easy to just look at it like a business unit, a unit, a unit," she added.
She wanted to make one thing clear about her colleagues and bosses at ABC, saying, "I'm not dealing with monsters. I don't think of anybody as a monster or out to get me. But sometimes stability and dependability can be misinterpreted as passive. Like, 'Oh, we don't have to worry about her, she's fine. She's fine.'"
The 45-year-old continued, "And I am fine, but I need assurances that we're all going to be fine."
She also clarified that she didn't "just not show up" to work after being told that Michael was leaving.
"I said, in the room, 'I am going to take the day off.' I needed to actually sit and gather information. I needed to make sure I said the appropriate things on TV and didn't just come out and say whatever."
Kelly insisted she thinks Michael is a great fit for "GMA." "I get it. We're excited for Michael," she said. "He wanted that job, and it's great for him. I think it is a perfect match, I really do. However, what nobody considered is there's a whole other group of people that it really impacts, because we have to now find another great person."
Finding a replacement won’t be easy. She said "chemistry and camaraderie and trust" don’t just "fall out of the sky."
Nonetheless, she is ready to move on. "People make mistakes, and we're all human," Ripa said. "They're human and I'm human. We all have these moments, and it's about how you move forward and how you begin again."
Meanwhile, sources tell TMZ that there is still tension on the "Live!" set. Apparently, Kelly used to keep her makeup room door open every morning and Michael would stop by to say hello. Not anymore. The door has remained shut since she returned from vacation.
As far as his final show is concerned, TMZ says Strahan wants to keep it low-key.