Kelly Ripa returned to Live! with Kelly & Michael Tuesday morning, and wasted no time in addressing the controversy that’s currently surrounding the show.

Kelly Ripa Returns To ‘Live!’

It was announced last Tuesday that Strahan was departing Live! for a full time gig on Good Morning America. Tuesday was also the day that Ripa found out that she would be losing her co-host. Angered by ABC’s and Strahan’s decision to keep her out of the loop, Ripa opted to take Wednesday off. Ripa had reportedly already planned to be off the next couple of days to celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary with husband Mark Consuelos. Ripa finally returned to host Live! Tuesday.

Before taking her seat next to Strahan up on stage, Ripa addressed the in-studio audience and those listening at home. In her opening remarks, Ripa explained her absence, and didn’t mince words about being disappointed with how Strahan’s shift to the earlier program was handled by ABC brass.

“I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right. And let’s be honest, I know half of you called in sick to be here, so, we get each other. In that time, I gained some perspective,” Ripa said. “I always speak from the heart. I didn’t want to come out here and say something I might regret. What transpired, though, over the course of a few days was extraordinary in that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration, and most importantly, respect in the workplace.”

“And since we’re being honest, I don’t consider this just a workplace. This is my second home. This is a place that I’ve devoted myself to, not just because of you, our loyal viewers, but because of all the producers and crew who work on this show…we are family,” Ripa added. “Apologies have been made, and the best thing to come out of all of this you guys is that our parent company has assured me that Live is a priority…there is a commitment to this show and the people who work here—and most importantly to you, the viewers.”

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Ripa went on to give Strahan a shout out, stating that she is happy and proud of him for landing his new position. “I am thrilled for Michael. I am thrilled for you,” she told the former New York Giant. “We couldn’t be any prouder of you.”

Ripa concluded with a laugh, “My dad, who was a bus driver for 30 years, thinks we’re all crazy. And I think he’s right.”

Ripa replaced longtime Live! host Kathy Lee Gifford in 2001, co-hosting with Regis Philbin through 2011. After nearly a year of trying out guest co-hosts, Strahan officially joined the show in Sept. 2012. The show has continued to enjoy solid ratings. Currently, names that are floating around to replace Strahan when he takes his leave of Live! in September include Ripa’s close pals Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.