Back in August of 2015, when Kathie Lee Gifford’s husband, Frank Gifford, died, everyone was shocked. The former New York Giants player hadn’t been fighting illness or showing any signs of deterioration. So it’s no surprise that Kathie still gets choked up any time she talks about him. On Tuesday, when she was honored at the 41st Annual Gracie Awards, Kathie took time to pay tribute to her late husband in an emotional and genuine speech.
The ceremony was held to honor women in media and Kathie was there to accept an award for her contributions to television and film. During her speech, she spoke of Frank and her two children, Cody, 26, and Cassidy, 22, saying, “They are the greatest expression of the love that I shared for 29 years with the greatest man I’ve ever known, my husband Frank. Thanks. This is for you, honey. You make me laugh. God bless you all.”
Her tearful, sweet nod to her husband was exactly the way everyone should remember Frank. He brought joy to her life, created a family with her and shared in her faith. The speech was a way to remember their love but not stay stuck in the sadness of her loss, which is something Kathie is focused on right now.
“My joy is nonnegotiable,” she said to Us Weekly. “It doesn’t matter how much success you have in life, if you’re not a joyful person, if you’re not happy, it’s not worth the price you pay. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Hearing her speak so honestly about the loss she felt but also the process that has helped her heal and move on is a great sign of progress for many fans of Kathie and the Today show. Most fans remember the speech she gave to commemorate his life right after his passing. She returned to her hosting job just one week after Frank died, which definitely had an effect on the speech she delivered. Instead of focusing on the man, she focused on the importance of religion. Viewers saw it as preachy more than respectful.
Thankfully, now fans have this emotional, genuine and much more hopeful speech to hold on to as they remember Frank and support Kathie in her quest to heal and live a full and joyful life.