Kelly Ripa claimed that when she first started hosting the morning show “Live” executives refused to provide her with an office and instead sent her to a janitor’s closet.

Image Credit: Celeste Sloman for Variety

In a recent interview, the longstanding co-host acknowledged that she might not have accepted the position if she had understood how challenging her first three seasons would be.

“It was the strangest experience I’ve ever had in my life. I was told that I couldn’t have an office,” Ripa, said in her Power of Women 2023 cover story, which was released on Tuesday. She explained that when she started “Live” in 2001, she wasn’t given maternity leave, holiday time, or a clothing budget.

It didn’t make much sense, she remembered, “especially because there were empty offices that I could have easily occupied.”

Ripa was informed that the available offices were set aside for visiting executives from the west coast. By my fourth year, she recalled, “they finally took out the closet and put a desk in there for me.

Kelly Ripa: Sexism at 'Live' Couldn't Stop Her From Being a Star - Variety

Image Credit: Celeste Sloman for Variety

“And so I was working in the janitor’s closet with a desk so that I could have a place to put things,” she adds.

Yet when Regis Philbin, the show’s original host, retired in 2011, Ripa thought she would finally receive an office. However, she was passed over once more in favour of Michael Strahan, the show’s new male host.

“Oh, no, we’re saving that,” they said. I then questioned, “Saving it for what?” She recalled them saying, ‘Well, for when the new guy comes.’

The incident served as just another reminder to Ripa that female anchors were often considered to be the supporting cast rather than the main talent.

In addition, Ripa claimed that, despite her male co-anchors having their own stalls, she was forced to share a bathroom with the live studio audience.

After 22 years and three different male co-hosts, Ripa feels like she is now being treated with respect and earning a salary of almost $20 million annually.

In regards to negotiating her substantial deal, she stated, “I don’t think they wanted to pay me but they had to pay me.”

“I was trying to walk out the door and close it behind me. And I think they really figured out rapidly that they had screwed up in a major way, and it was not a good look. I think that was really the impetus behind paying me fairly. They had no choice.”

Published by HOLR Magazine.