Kelly Ripa Biography & Facts
Kelly Ripa (; born October 2, 1970) is an American actress and talk show host. Since 2001, she has been the co-host of the syndicated morning talk show Live! with Kelly and Ryan in various formats.
As an actress, Ripa's best known roles include Hayley Vaughan on the ABC daytime soap opera All My Children (1990–2002, 2010) and Faith Fairfield on the ABC sitcom Hope & Faith (2003–2006). Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, own a New York-based production company, Milojo. In 2014, The Hollywood Reporter named her one of the Most Powerful People in Media.
Kelly Maria Ripa was born and raised in Berlin, New Jersey, the daughter of Esther, a homemaker, and Joseph Ripa, a labor union president and bus driver who attended Rutgers University. She has a sister, Linda, who is a children's book author. She was on a local PHL17, called Dancing on Air, before the dance show got picked up by USA Network, called it Dance Party USA. Kelly did several chat line commercials asking guys to call the "hot line" where us "hot girls" are always on the phone. Commercials always aired after midnight in the local Philadelphia market. She has three-quarters Italian and one-quarter Irish ancestry. Ripa was raised Catholic. Her father has been the Democratic County Clerk for Camden County, New Jersey, since June 2009.
Ripa graduated from Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees Township, New Jersey. During her high school years she was a cheerleader and was encouraged by her drama teacher to pursue acting. "I owe so much of my career to Jim Boeckle," she said. "He thought I was a natural performer and so he gave me the lead in the next show." She starred in local theater productions and was discovered while performing in The Ugly Duckling during her senior year. She attended Camden County College studying psychology, but dropped out and moved to New York City to pursue an acting career.
Dancin' on Air, Dance Party USA and All My Children
Aside from local TV gigs, Ripa's first national television exposure came in 1986 when she appeared as a regular dancer on Dancin' On Air, leading into Dance Party USA. Her career goal at the time was to be a newscaster and she often did the cast news reports.
Ripa was cast in her first major acting role in 1990 as Hayley Vaughan, a troubled party girl, on All My Children. She concluded her 12-year stint in 2002, but returned for two episodes in 2010 to help celebrate the soap opera's 40th anniversary.
After co-host Kathie Lee Gifford's final show on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, Regis Philbin began holding on-air auditions to find her replacement. In his autobiography, How I Got This Way, Philbin says of discovering Ripa:
There was one guest we'd had on with us a few years before who had [a certain sparkle]. Hers was a natural, quick-witted, unaffected, confident, fun-loving kind of sparkle that both Gelman and I remembered very well. We decided to invite her back, this time to consider her as a possible co-host. So that was when this smiling, petite ball of fire named Kelly Ripa made her return to Live! for a test run at the rotating, up-for-grabs hot seat to my left. And my God, who knew what spontaneous combustion we'd make together?
On the day of Ripa's initial Live! with Regis tryout (November 1, 2000), psychic Char Margolis was among the guests. During this segment, Margolis guessed that Ripa was pregnant with her second child. Ripa replied, "I haven't told my boss yet!" Philbin later said that Ripa was first among the potential candidates including Jane Krakowski, Valerie Bertinelli, Dolly Parton, and Bernadette Peters: "[I]t could only be Kelly. We knew that from her memorable debut onward." Ripa was announced as the official replacement on February 5, 2001. Within months the renamed Live! with Regis and Kelly's young-audience demographics increased by 80 percent with Ripa credited for bringing "a new life to the show."
The chemistry between Philbin and Ripa (or "Pippa" as he nicknamed her), their banter, interviews, and conversations about their families, personal lives, and New York City attracted a successful, strong, and loyal viewership averaging 6 million viewers daily. In January 2011, Philbin, 80, announced that he would be retiring from Live! at the end of the year. His final show aired Friday, November 18, 2011, during which Ripa tearfully reminisced about her first day, the 43 steps they walked together from her dressing room onto set each day for 11 years, and how those 43 steps changed her life. "Thank you for everything! It's been just great my Pippa," Philbin told her in an embrace. Ripa responded, "Thank you for everything. I love you." "I love you, too," said Philbin.Ripa replaced Philbin as the head of the show and returned the following Monday, November 21, 2011, to continue the show, which was re-titled Live! with Kelly. In a process similar to the one in which she was selected to replace Gifford, a rotating lineup of co-hosts auditioned on-air with Ripa to take over her former co-hosting duties, including: Michael Strahan, Seth Meyers, Josh Groban, Nick Lachey, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Harrison, Jerry O'Connell, Joel McHale, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bryant Gumbel, Jerry Seinfeld, Mike Greenberg, Boomer Esiason, Dan Abrams, Martin Short, Howie Mandel, Pat Kiernan, Jesse Palmer, D.L. Hughley, Derek Hough, Sam Champion, Taye Diggs, Ben Mulroney, Kevin Jonas, Randy Jackson, Michael Bublé, Peter Facinelli, Rob Lowe, Dana Carvey, Reggie Bush, Fred Savage, and Mario Lopez. In the end, Strahan was announced as the new co-host and Live! with Kelly and Michael premiered September 4, 2012.Live! won its first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show on June 23, 2012.
On May 16, 2016, the show's name was changed to Live! with Kelly again after Strahan's last show before his move to Good Morning America. Another round of guest co-hosts ensued. On May 1, 2017, the show became Live with Kelly and Ryan, after Ryan Seacrest took over as Strahan's permanent replacement.
Hope & Faith
Ripa ventured into primetime in September 2003 on Hope & Faith, playing Faith Fairfield, an unemployed ex-soap star. The half-hour sitcom, co-starring Faith Ford, Ted McGinley, and Megan Fox, gave ABC its best Friday premiere score since 1996. The show ended in May 2006 with Ripa declaring she "never wanted to work that hard again."
Best known for her television work, Ripa also has several feature films to her credit. She appeared in the acclaimed Miramax feature Marvin's Room in 1996 alongside Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Ripa serves as a spokesperson for several companies. In the past, she has partnered with Tide, 7 Up, Pantene, and TD Bank, but currently works primarily with Electrolux and Rykä.
Rykä announced Ripa as the spokesperson for the brand's footwear and sporting apparel in 2008. Ripa oversees the design of her own fitness-inspired active wear line, The Kelly Ripa Co.... Discover the Kelly Ripa popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Kelly Ripa books.