Former New York Giants NFL star Michael Strahan beat out contenders including Seth Meyers, Josh Groban and others for the coveted cohost spot alongside Kelly Ripa on LIVE!, but it wasn't just his good looks and charm that scored him the gig. According to Ripa, it was Strahan's ability to be Mr. Mom that won her over.
"He lost a sports bet and had to babysit for my kids," Ripa told Us Weekly Tuesday of Strahan, who filled in as a temporary cohost multiple times since Regis Philbin's November 2011 retirement. "I just looked at him and knew he was a good guy. I said to myself 'He would make a great cohost one day.'" What else did Strahan do to win over Mark Consuelos' wife? "He had on lipstick and a feather boa while babysitting!" Ripa recalled. "We like a man that's willing to dress up like a lady!"
For Strahan's part, the footballer — who will pull double duty to remain as host of FOX NFL Sunday — says it was a no-brainer when the team at LIVE! asked him to fill Philbin's legendary shoes. "Kelly asked me 'Would you consider to honor me by being my cohost?' And I said 'You had me at consider,'" Strahan — engaged to Eddie Murphy's ex, Nicole — explains.
Though he had plenty of time to warm up to the gig — news of his appointment was leaked in late August by Broadcasting & Cable and TMZ — Strahan admits he was a jumble of nerves before cameras rolled.
"I was more nervous getting out of the limo today [to begin on LIVE!] then coming out of any tunnel," Strahan said, referring to his time on the gridiron. "At least there I have a mask to hide behind, here it's just me. I was more nervous today than at my first professional [football] game."