Following the death of Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa has shared what she says was the biggest lesson she ever learned from the broadcast titan. In a clip from ABC News' 20/20 special about Philbin's life, airing on Tuesday evening, Ripa opens up about her time hosting with the late TV personality on Live! With Regis and Kelly. The pair worked together from 2001 to 2011, and Ripa says that Philbin taught her a lot about transparency with fans.
"What I think my biggest takeaway from the 11 years that I shared with him was that you have to be yourself," Ripa says. "You cannot be one person on camera and a different person once the light goes off or the audience is gone. You have to be who you are." In the special, Ripa also opens up about hearing of Philbin's death. She says that she recalled thinking to herself, "That's gotta be a mistake. That can't be right." She added, "There was a moment where I had this incredible hope that it was somehow misreported." Regarding how she feels Philbin will, and should, be remembered, Ripa says that "his love of people will be his legacy." She continued, "His talent was being himself completely and making everybody else the star of the show."
Ripa previously paid tribute to Philbin — who passed away on July 24 at the age of 88 — in a post on Instagram. Alongside a photo of herself and new Live co-host Ryan Seacrest with Philbin, the pair issued a joint statement on the news. "We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin. He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show."
The statement concluded, "We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place." Ripa paid tribute to Philibin again during Monday's episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan, sharing that "as people get older you always know that certain things are inevitable, but Regis was one of the people who we all believed would figure out a way around the inevitable."