Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern Apology: A 30-Year Feud Ends

They buried the hatchet.

Kathie Lee Gifford has revealed how she ended her 30-year feud with Howard Stern.

Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford

The former “Today” co-anchor, 70, who is promoting her book “I Want To Matter: Your Life Is Too Short & Too Precious To Waste,” told Fox News Digital that “it was a surprise” when she received a voicemail from the disc jockey.

“Once I listened to it, I said to my kids at the table, ‘Well, pigs have now officially flown.’ [But] I just always believe God can touch anybody’s heart,” she said in an interview published Tuesday. “I’m not allowed to hate anybody that hates me. Once you start praying for people, you can’t hate them. Love cannot live where hate does, and it’s a very simple thing.”

It was a surprise to get a voicemail from Howard Stern,” Kathie Lee Gifford said.

Gifford and Stern’s feud began in 1995, after she sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl that year.

Her husband, NFL player Frank Gifford, who died in 2015 at age 84, hosted the live telecast.

Gifford writes in her book that she heard booing when she sang, and she recalled that she eventually learned that Stern had told his fans to boo.

Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford

Stern also made additional scathing comments about Gifford on-air in 1999.

Then in 2012, they got on friendly terms when he came on “Kathie Lee & Hoda” to promote his time on “America’s Got Talent,” she explained.

“I came to the ‘Today’ show studio and the Lord again said, ‘Kathie, go down and say hello to him,’” Gifford told the outlet.

“And I said, ‘OK, Lord. She said that God told her to “wish [Stern] well with the show,” adding, “So I got up out of my hair and makeup place and those girls had been told, ‘Don’t let Kathie go anywhere near the studio because Howard Stern’s coming.’”

She recalled, “There were so many people that day because he brings quite the entourage . . . I said, ‘Hey, it’s Kathie Lee.’ I thought it was about time. I said, ‘I want to wish you all the best with the new show.’ I got up, went back, sat down in the makeup room. They said, ‘Why’d you do that?’ I said, ‘God told me to.’”

Following that incident, Stern called and left her a voicemail.

“He says — I can’t even use the language that he used,” Gifford said.

“It was a lot of F-words, but he was saying, ‘I can’t believe how nice you were to me. I’ve been so rude to you and you were so nice. I just need to apologize to you. Please call me.’”

She further detailed how husband Frank and their son, Cody, didn’t want her to take the call.

“He was horrible to me and horrendous to my entire family,” she said about Stern.

“I’d never met the man, never until that day, never listened to his show or anything like that. I [heard] he said certain things about me. I’d go, ‘Why? I don’t even know the man.’”

Gifford said that Stern asked, “Will you forgive me, Kathie, please? I’m doing hard work on my life. I know I hurt you. I’m so sorry and I need to ask you to forgive me.”

She continued, “I said, ‘I’m really happy for you that you’re asking for forgiveness, because anytime we hurt somebody in life, it’s important to ask for forgiveness. But I just want you to know that I forgave you 30 years ago.’ He goes, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I forgave you 30 years ago, and I’ve been praying for you every day since. And it’s the truth.’ He goes, ‘Oh, my God.’ I said, ‘Would you like to come to dinner sometime?’ He goes, ‘You’d have me at your house?’ I said, ‘Of course.’”

The Origin of the Feud

1995 Super Bowl Incident

In 1995, Kathie Lee Gifford performed the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. This performance, however, became a pivotal moment that ignited a feud with Howard Stern. As she sang, Gifford recalls hearing boos from the audience, which she later discovered were prompted by Stern’s urging his fans to express their disapproval.

Stern’s On-Air Criticisms

The feud didn’t end with the Super Bowl. Stern continued to make scathing comments about Gifford on his radio show, further straining their non-existent relationship. His remarks in 1999 were particularly harsh, cementing the animosity between the two.

Attempts at Reconciliation

2012: A Glimmer of Hope

In 2012, a surprising turn of events occurred when Stern appeared on “Kathie Lee & Hoda” to promote “America’s Got Talent.” Gifford, prompted by a sense of divine inspiration, decided to extend an olive branch.

A Divine Nudge

Gifford recounts how she felt compelled by a divine message to wish Stern well. Despite her makeup team’s objections, she approached Stern, introduced herself, and expressed her best wishes for his new show. This unexpected act of kindness was a significant step towards reconciliation.

Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford

The Apology Voicemail

A Surprising Call

After their brief interaction, Stern left Gifford a voicemail filled with profanities but also with a heartfelt apology. He expressed disbelief at her kindness despite his past rudeness and sought her forgiveness.

Family Concerns

Gifford’s family, particularly her husband Frank and son Cody, were apprehensive about her responding to Stern. They remembered the hurtful comments Stern had made and were wary of his intentions.

Forgiveness and Moving Forward

Despite her family’s concerns, Gifford chose to respond with grace. She assured Stern that she had forgiven him 30 years ago and had been praying for him ever since. This revelation astonished Stern, leading to a heartfelt exchange between the two.

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Lessons Learned

The Power of Forgiveness

Gifford’s story highlights the profound impact of forgiveness. Holding onto grudges only perpetuates negativity, whereas forgiveness paves the way for healing and reconciliation.

Faith and Guidance

Gifford attributes her actions to her faith, believing that divine guidance played a crucial role in her decision to approach Stern and eventually forgive him. This story underscores the importance of listening to one’s inner voice and acting with kindness.

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The long-standing feud between Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern, spanning over three decades, came to an unexpected and heartwarming conclusion. Gifford’s unwavering belief in forgiveness and her faith-driven actions led to a resolution that few could have predicted. Their story serves as a powerful reminder of the potential for reconciliation and the importance of extending grace, even to those who have wronged us.


Why did Howard Stern apologize to Kathie Lee Gifford?

Stern apologized for his past rude comments and behavior towards Gifford, seeking forgiveness for the hurt he had caused her and her family.

What prompted Kathie Lee Gifford to forgive Howard Stern?

Gifford had forgiven Stern 30 years ago and had been praying for him daily, driven by her faith and belief in the power of forgiveness.

How did Kathie Lee Gifford approach Howard Stern initially?

Gifford felt a divine nudge to wish Stern well during his appearance on “Kathie Lee & Hoda” in 2012, leading her to extend an olive branch despite previous animosity.

What was the cause of the feud between Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern?

The feud began in 1995 after Stern urged his fans to boo Gifford during her National Anthem performance at the Super Bowl and continued with his harsh on-air comments over the years.

How did Kathie Lee Gifford’s family react to Stern’s apology?

Her family, particularly her husband Frank and son Cody, were initially hesitant and concerned about her responding to Stern due to the hurtful comments he had made in the past.

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