Michael Strahan: It was ‘disappointing that I was painted as the bad guy’

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People Magazine was the only celebrity weekly to put out an edition on the Brad and Angelina split this week (it’s actually dated for next week but they released it earlier) when every other print outlet missed the news. People’s original edition this week has a cover interview with Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa’s former cohost on Live who has since moved to Good Morning America. Michael left Live in April after four years, only informing Kelly that he was leaving until right before he was set to make an announcement on the air. He had been in talks with producers about his exit for weeks, but he was told by higher-ups not to discuss it with Kelly. Kelly definitely said her piece about her cohost’s abrupt departure. She left earlier than scheduled for a vacation (which may have been a negotiation tactic), and she remained somewhat classy but made it clear in her return speech that she wasn’t properly informed about Michael’s exit. She also did a somewhat dishy People Magazine cover interview, revealing how she and the staff were treated at Live and how it was not ok.

Now it’s Michael’s turn to talk to People, and like Kelly he got candid about Live and about his personal life. I was impressed with how he explained staying close with his kids following splits with two different wives. I’m sure there’s more to that story, but he explained it well. His children, 11 year-old twin daughters Isabella and Sophia and college students Tanita, 24, and Michael Jr., 22, also participated in the photoshoot with him.

People: In 1992 Strahan married Wanda Hutchins, and they had two children. When they separated, Hutchins and the kids remained in Germany.
I think a lot of times when you split, people assume that the mother is supposed to take responsibility for the kids. But from day one, it was very important for me to be active, to be a part of their life. I was constantly on planes and phones. And it’s very hard – of course it’s hard with them being in Germany. But one thing I learned is, you make time for what you want to make time for.

People: In 1999, Strahan got remarried, to Jean Muggli, but shortly after they welcomed twins Isabella and Sophia in 2004, the pair split amid ugly tabloid allegations.
It wasn’t like, “Okay, we split, now I’m gonna write a check and send it to your mom every month, and Daddy will see you down the road…” Getting divorced is probably one of the toughest things I’ve ever gone through, but I learned a lot about myself. When you’re a single father with 4-month-old kids, and you gotta be with them all the time, it taught me that there’s nothing to be afraid of. I can do it. I look back on that as one of the most fulfilling times of my life. I look at my kids now, and I know it paid off in my relationship with them.

On his departure from Live
Toward the end of it all, we didn’t really communicate that much. I kinda looked at it like, “It was what it was.” I come from a business where you have to collaborate. The show as going well? We’re all winning. That’s all that matters to me. At one point I think we were friends. I don’t know what happened at the end. I learned a lot from her though.

On the negative coverage of his departure
The most disappointing thing to me was that I was painted as the bad guy, because I value the way I carry myself. I don’t want people to see me as “Oh, he just ran out, just left them there.” That’s just not true. On air all I could do was control myself. In football… one day you’re the greatest player they’ve ever seen, then the next game you’re the worst. But I got older in that business, and I said, “Hey it doesn’t matter what their opinion is. All I know is I’m doing my best, and I’m giving it everything I have.” I’ve been in stadiums with 80,000 people calling me all different kinds of things. No big deal.

Why he doesn’t discuss his dating life
As you get older, you wanna spend your life with somebody. I never close the door on that. But I don’t talk about dating anymore. It baffles me to see people where everything is so public.

[From People Magazine, print edition and online]

Strahan refused to talk about his romantic life but we know he’s been dating a woman who is in her late 20s. He’s 44. He was last engaged to Eddie Murphy’s ex, Nicole Murphy, and that breakup was messy so his reluctance to go public may have something to do with that.

In terms of the Live drama, I get both sides of this. I thought that Kelly was well within her rights to make it known that she was not informed or treated fairly at Live, and I also thought that she dragged it out and pulled some childish moves. Just watching the show during Michael’s last two weeks though I thought they got along fine. You really couldn’t tell that they weren’t communicating off screen as Michael suggests here (and as was reported around that time). Ultimately though I think the blame lies behind the scenes in the producers who orchestrated this and left Kelly out of the loop. It’s like a lot of workplace conflicts, the people who do the work (which is very relative in this case but go with me) get blamed for just following orders from management.

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photos credit: Getty, People and WENN.com

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21 Responses to “Michael Strahan: It was ‘disappointing that I was painted as the bad guy’”

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  1. Kate says:

    I feel for him but I get her side too. I think the whole thing got blown way out because they live in the public eye. Kelly should have been told for sure but like you said, it wasn’t Michael’s fault. He seems like a nice guy. And on the set of Live, he was never going to be more than Kelly’s side kick, so I can’t really blame him for looking for something bigger for himself.

    Overall, it was poorly handled all around.

    • InVain says:

      All of this. I like them both. Being a life-long Giants fan, I’ve followed Michael for many years – he is a stand-up guy and I have a lot of respect for him. I’m glad the entertainment/broadcasting world welcomed him with open arms upon his NFL retirement. He has a great personality for it. I do feel for Kelly… she deserved more than the crappy treatment she got from producers and execs making the actual decisions. It’s too bad these two couldn’t remain friends.

    • g.lamerek says:

      He is a lovable person, camera loves him. I’m sure they told him to keep it under wraps or the deal is off. It is avery hard position n the higher ups care about their pockets at the end of the day. But if it were me, a job that is not “office” style but spend time together b4 taping, joking and laughing, became good friends and helped him get the job,I would be pissed. Pissed at the producers but hurt that someone I considered a friend lied. For couple months at most he knew, so picture her talking about the new season, what they are planning to do, hanging out while he knew he would be outta there. Not right.

  2. Lucy2 says:

    I am in agreement – I can see both sides, and really feel Kelly should have been made aware it was happening, but ultimately the producers should have handled the whole thing better.

  3. Lala says:

    The management did it on purpose so they could spin the story and make something out of nothing. They were both instrumentalised

  4. Barrett says:

    Yeah but anyone notice the theme of messy splits in his personal and professional life. Um he must contribute?

  5. Almondjoy says:

    I gots nothing 😕🤔 beautiful children though

  6. Frosty says:

    I understood where Kelly was coming from – there was no good reason to keep her out of the loop. But her anger should have been focused on the network and not Strahan, who after all had to abide by a written agreement. I like Strahan, he’s a class act.

  7. Crowdhood says:

    I work in an industry where we are contract vendors and so there are constantly moving pieces. The higher ups always have a plan for each move but they don’t share it with everybody. As part of the marketing team, I’m privy to these moves and sometimes they will directly effect people I know and care about (both positively and negatively). While it is hard sometimes to keep my feelings in check, I keep my mouth shut and do my job because that is how I get paid. I’m sure the same goes for Michael Strahan. He may well have wanted to tell her but was instructed not to.

  8. doofus says:

    my friend took that cover pic!

    yup, that’s all…

  9. Merritt says:

    I thought the drama over his exit was silly.

  10. Lexx says:

    I never understood Kelly, I thought she acted very rudely. She was essentially mad at him for getting and then taking a promotion. Be mad at the network and at the producers, sure fine, but you have no right to take that out on him. He didn’t do anything.

  11. Michelina says:

    Unpopular opinion: the fact that Kelly has blamed Michael for what happened makes her look dumb. I understand her frustration and being upset, but the fact that she chose to take it on him was childish and immature. When a person is up for a promotion, they aren’t obligated to tell their work friends all about it. Some things get kept close to the vest. Maybe no one said anything because they knew she would act like this. Either way, in my book, he came out smelling like roses and she looks terrible. Even more so now that it has come out that she couldn’t even get over herself and be his friend.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      We will be unpopular together because she well knows it isn’t his fault but decided to hold it against him anyway. Is he supposed to lose two jobs so she can run his career for the rest of his life? Would she do that for him?

    • jmacky says:

      absolutely. she acted like a baby–i do think she was goaded by producers and had some bad counsel because in watching her pettiness from the fall out, she looks unprofessional.

    • kori says:

      I’ll join you at that table.

  12. Josefina says:

    Where people painting him as the bad guy, though? I remember most people were painting the producers badly, rightfully, because they orchestrated the whole thing and then released that statement of Kelly being a demanding diva with crazy spending habits. Those who weren’t were blaming Kelly for the childish decissions she made. But I don’t ever remember people taking it out on him?

  13. jana says:

    He’s obviously not as affable as he claims, or his track record of trouble with women is just a fluke.