Kathie Lee Gifford on Bill Cosby: “He Did Try to Kiss Me”

Kathie Lee saying Bill Cosby tried to kiss her once
Kathie Lee Gifford said on the Today show that Bill Cosby tried to kiss her once in the 1970s, but that he backed off when she told him no Larry Busacca/Getty Images for SiriusXM; Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Kathie Lee Gifford is having a hard time reconciling the Bill Cosby she knows with the Bill Cosby that has been in the news over the last several weeks. During the Today show on Tuesday, Dec. 16, co-host Hoda Kotb brought up the subject of Camille Cosby's statement about her famous husband, who has been accused by several women (including supermodels Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson) of sexual assault.

Noting Camille's description of her spouse as "a kind man, a generous man, a funny man, and a wonderful husband, father, and friend," Gifford, 61, began, "He is kind, he is capable of great kindness, he's capable of great generosity…I, along with so many Americans and people worldwide, don't want these stories to be true."

She went on to recall her experience touring with the comedian in the late 1970s, and then revealed he'd once made a pass at her. "I will admit, toward the very, very end of the last time I saw him, he did try to kiss me," she told Kotb. "I said, 'No.' I said, 'Bill, we're friends.' He said, 'Okay, goodnight,' and I said, 'Goodnight.' And I went into my room, and he went into his room."

She added: "I'm not saying the women's allegations are not true. I'm just saying I never personally saw it with my own two eyes."

Gifford then alluded to Johnson's allegations that Cosby drugged her cappuccino. "I do know, I got a chill, because every night when we'd come off stage and Bill would be going onstage, he would have made cappuccinos for all three of us," the Today host said. "I always thought it was such a kindness and so sweet, and now you see Beverly Johnson saying that he made a cappuccino or something for her, and I just don't want it to be true." 

"But I'm not saying that the women are liars," she continued. "From my own personal experience, it didn't happen. A lot of married men come on to single women, but once I said, 'No, absolutely not,' he respected it." 

Cosby, for his part, has chosen not to discuss the claims against him, though his lawyer has called the stories "unsubstantiated" and "fantastical."

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