Michael Strahan is getting into the swing of things at his new job with “Good Morning America,” but the drama of his departure from “Live! with Kelly” still haunts him.
In a new issue of PEOPLE, the TV host recalls the painful time after he announced he was leaving “Live!” for “GMA.”
“When I first got the call [to host part-time] a few years ago, I was like, ‘I don’t know about that,'” Strahan remembered. “But I realized, am I not doing it because I’m afraid to try or because I can’t do it? It was because I was afraid to try. So then when I finally said, ‘Okay, I’ll give it a shot,’ I found that I loved it. I found that I could do it.”
Strahan’s co-host Kelly Ripa didn’t take the news lightly. One day after Strahan’s exit was announced, Ripa took the day off and added two additional days to an already planned vacation. When she returned to the show four days later, she expressed her dismay for the way ABC handled the news.
That’s when Strahan decided to leave the show earlier than originally announced.
“I wasn’t surprised by her reaction at all, but I can’t control somebody else’s actions,” he said. “I was there four years, and it’s about more than just being in front of the camera.”
“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,” he added.
Strahan spent the summer traveling and gearing up for his September 6 start date at “GMA.”
“It’s so interesting because I never thought I would be doing this,” he said. “And it’s not easy, trust me. It requires a lot of work, and I work my butt off. Even after 15 years in the NFL and nine years on TV, I still approach every day feeling that there’s something new to learn.”