Howard Stern is a changed man -- at least when it comes to Kathie Lee Gifford. After years of bullying, criticizing her every move and engaging in a one-sided feud, the 60-year-old radio show host gave a sincere apology to Gifford. While appearing on Watch What Happens Live with Today show co-host Hoda Kotb on Thursday, Feb. 13, Gifford revealed for the first time the story of how Stern asked her for forgiveness.
"I have never had anything against Howard," Gifford, 60, explained to host Andy Cohen. "I had never met Howard until two years ago when he was getting ready to [appear as a judge on] America's Got Talent."
While Stern was in the the Today show studio, Gifford decided to make the first move and greet her longtime enemy. "[I] said, 'Hi, I think it's time we probably we said hi,' and he was stunned," she recalled.
Gifford later received a voicemail from Stern. "[He said], 'I used a lot of language but I'm so sorry. You never deserved it,' she recalled of the apology. "'You've always been so nice. You just pissed me off because you were everything I wasn't.' I've never shared this story," she added to Cohen. "I hope it's okay with him that I do -- it's almost been two years. He said, 'Can we talk?'"
After sharing a "beautiful conversation" for about 15 minutes, Gifford said Stern asked, "'Can you forgive me?'"
"I said, 'Howard, I forgave you a long time ago. I'm just so glad that now you're doing your own good work that everyone of us has to do when we've hurt people, and asked for forgiveness. I said, this is the beginning of wisdom for you. And I just hope that you continue down the path because the best years are head of you if you're going to turn your life around this way.'"
"Wow," Cohen said in shock. "You heard it here first everybody, that's amazing."
Stern frequently criticized Gifford for her marriage and family values, especially back in 1997 when reports surfaced that her husband, Frank, had an alleged affair with a flight attendant. "How embarrassed is she?" Stern said at the time. "She looks like the biggest idiot." Soon after, Stern separated from his first wife Alison in 1999, and Gifford wrote him a note to commiserate with him. Stern, however, made fun of it on-air, saying, "I was laughing as I read it." After the incident, Gifford told CNN of the letter, "I did a kind thing, and I never regret that."
Watch Gifford share her conversation with Stern on Watch What Happens Live in the video above.