"I stand by her," the Talk co-host, 62, told Extra's Mario Lopez of Kelly's abrupt exit from the E! style series. "You know, she had an amazing five years on the show, and she learned so much from Joan [Rivers]. It was just her time. She's got to grow up, move into the big world."
Kelly, 30, departed the program amid controversy late last month, after some headline-making back-and-forth over her co-host Giuliana Rancic's comments regarding Disney star Zendaya Coleman's Oscars hair. "I feel like she smells like patchouli oil," Rancic memorably said.
Kelly took issue with the criticism of her friend and spoke out on Twitter, saying she was "seriously questioning staying on the show" because of the incident. Days later, E! announced she'd quit to "pursue other opportunities."
As Us Weekly reported, the network is currently considering a few stars to replace her, including NeNe Leakes, Chrissy Teigen, and Amber Rose.
"There are lots of great names, lots of great people over at E! that they have under contract that they'll slip into that chair," Sharon told Extra of Kelly's possible replacements. "It'll be done and dusted like that."
Kelly herself spoke out about her exit, too, in an appearance on her mom's talk show on Tuesday. "You know what, it was the five best working years of my life," she shared. "I am so grateful for the experience — working with Joan Rivers for five years was incredible. I learned so much and I'm excited for my future. I want to try new things."
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!