Kathie Lee Gifford on Daughter & Son's 'Precious' COVID-19 Weddings -- and If She'd Ever Remarry (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Kathie Lee Gifford had a lot to celebrate this summer. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, both her children traded the "big weddings" they had planned for more intimate affairs in order to tie the knot -- and as Gifford told ET, they "ended up being precious."
"Neither one of them had the weddings that they had dreamed of because COVID made it impossible," she shared during an interview with ET's Rachel Smith at Acme Feed and Seed in Nashville, Tennessee, this week. "But can I tell you they ended up being more beautiful than ever."
"They were going to be typical big weddings, and you never know how many people to have. 'Oh, we can't leave them out,' and, 'Oh, their feelings are gonna be hurt.' This just got it down to the nitty gritty -- who is closest family," Gifford explained. "It ended up being precious."
The TV personality's 27-year-old daughter, Cassidy, married Ben Wierda in his backyard in Michigan in June, while her 30-year-old son, Cody, married Erika Brown over Labor Day weekend in Connecticut.
"I didn't have to plan them. I just had to show up. I was sort of obligated," Gifford joked, before praising her new son and daughter-in-law as "two people that I just adore." "They're just beautiful human beings, and to see your children happy like that -- I know Frank's smiling each day... we just sensed their dad just smiling."
Gifford's late husband, football player and sports commentator Frank Gifford, died in 2015. He was 84.
"I hear him in my head all the time, encouraging me and cheerleading me," Gifford confessed to ET. "He was a football player, but he was my cheerleader and he was so excited about all of the different projects I had."
"It is going to take a very, very special person if I ever do get married again," she added, "and frankly I can't see that happening."
As Gifford explained, she's "not looking" -- but that doesn't mean she's completely closed off to finding love. Her new movie, Then Came You, is about a widow who travels with her husband's ashes to the places they loved -- and ends up finding a second chance at love. Gifford wrote the screenplay, and stars in the film alongside Craig Ferguson and Elizabeth Hurley.
"It's a romantic comedy actually for people who think that romance will never happen for them again, and that nothing's funny anymore," Gifford described. "[My character] doesn't get very far before she meets Craig Ferguson, and once you meet Craig, all hell breaks loose!"
One of the lessons Gifford learned from her character is that love could find her when she least expects it.
"If it finds me, I will rejoice, and if it doesn’t, I am so doggone busy. I am not sure I would know honestly, and I am doing now what I have dreamed of doing since I was a child," she said. "Whatever happens in my life, I want it to be authentic, not manipulated by anything, and totally of the Lord."
Gifford, who also collaborated with Brett James on original music for the movie, has a lot keeping her busy. Her new children's book, Hello, Little Dreamer, releases Oct. 13.
"I owed my publisher another children's book," Gifford admitted, when asked what inspired the book. However, the book stems from an idea the Emmy winner holds dear -- that the dreams people have as a child are not accidents. "They are there for a very good reason," she said.
"I believe what you love as a child is, in some way, what you are supposed to end up doing in some form," she shared.
She got emotional recalling their last day together, and how Philbin asked his wife, Joy, to wash his hair so he could "look good for Kath."
"As soon as he sat down for lunch, I said, 'Regis, you still have the greatest head of hair!' And then he goes, 'I do?' He knew he looked handsome," Gifford recalled. "The next day when I was with [Joy] after he had passed, she said, 'Kathy, that was the last time I heard Regis laugh, when we all had lunch together.'"
"I knew it was going to be the last time that I'd see him. He was very frail by then and he was ready. You know ,you get tired in this life, you get tired," she continued. "And I'm so happy for him now, he's rejoicing. He's putting on shows for Jesus."
Gifford couldn't help but laugh while remembering her friend. "'Regis is here!' He went into Heaven going, 'Hey everybody! Regis is here!'"
Then Came You hits select theaters on Sept. 30, and will be available On Demand on Oct. 2.