A Look Back at Frank & Kathie Lee Gifford's Enduring Marriage Full of Love, Faith & Forgiveness

by Raphael Chestang 6:33 PM PDT, August 10, 2015
Playing A Look Back at Frank & Kathie Lee Gifford's Enduring Marriage Full of Love, Faith & Forgiveness

During their nearly 29 years of marriage, Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford faced many storms, but their love for each other could not be broken.

Their love story began in 1983 when Kathie Lee was 30 years old and just starting out her TV career, while Frank was a 53-year-old retired NFL legend. Both were coming off of bitter divorces.

WATCH: Frank Gifford Dies at 84

"I ended a long term relationship last spring and Frank kind of took me under his wing," Kathie Lee told ET in August 1986, just two months before their wedding. "He's got a great wing. I don't know. We didn't fall in love. We really grew in love. Somebody asked me if the age difference between us bothered me and I said, 'Absolutely! I just hope I can keep up with him.'"

In 1997, the couple faced their biggest trial - a brief infidelity. After learning of her husband being unfaithful, Kathie Lee chose to stay with Frank.

"People always say to me, 'Do you have a statement?'" she said in 2000. "I say, 'You know what? We are our statement.'"

MORE: Regis Philbin Shares Memories of the Late Frank Gifford

At the time, the couple's two children -- Cody, now 25, and Cassidy, 22 -- were still very young and Kathie Lee couldn't imagine uprooting their family structure.

"If I had run when Frank had his temporary insanity, which he was set up for let's face it, then our children wouldn't have their father," Kathie Lee said. "A very dear friend told me when I was going through the hardest time about it, he said, 'If you can't forgive your husband, forgive your children's father.' Too many families break up over something that could be healed if they just stay there and trust God to do a healing in their life."

The Gifford family confirmed Frank's death in a statement to ET on Sunday, writing, "Frank died suddenly this beautiful Sunday morning of natural causes at his Connecticut home." He was 84. For more on Frank's life and legacy, check out the video below.