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After 30-Year Feud with Howard Stern, Kathie Lee Gifford Uses Kindness to Melt His Heart

05-16-2018

Long before it was customary for celebrities to talk about their particular worldview, their values or even their faith in public, Kathie Lee Gifford was already talking about her faith in Jesus Christ both on the air and off.   

And she's continued to demonstrate that Christian faith in the wake of the Matt Lauer scandal, showing mercy and grace.

"What we need now is forgiveness, and we need mercy for one another," she said after the world learned of the Lauer scandal. "We don't need taunts and we don't need ugliness. We have enough of that in the world."

This week, the co-host of NBC's "Today" shared with her viewers how popular radio show host Howard Stern had a running feud with her for 30 years.  Now, 30 years is a long time to hold a grudge and to feud with someone, especially when it's one-sided.  In comparison, the most famous American feud between the families of the Hatfields and the McCoys only lasted ten years, and those folks were shooting at one another. 

So how did Gifford break the ice with Stern?  She revealed she was simply kind to him. 

"Howard Stern had a feud with me going on 30 years. I never met him. I never listened to his show. He hated my guts for 30 years," Gifford, 64, said on the "Today" show while discussing how Katy Perry and Taylor Swift ended their own ongoing feud. "Hated my husband, hated my children. Hated everything I stood for."

"And one day, right here, I was up in the makeup room, and all of a sudden he's here to announce 'America's Got Talent,'" she recalled. "I just feel the Lord saying very clearly to me, 'Go down and say hello to Howard.' I'm standing right here … and I go, 'Howard, Howard, I'm Kathie Lee. I thought it was time I say hello. I want to wish you the very best with your show.' And I left. He was really flabbergasted."

That initial meeting got Stern to thinking and it prompted him to act. Gifford said Stern called her at home and left a message.

"There's a message from him, a voicemail," she said. "'I was blown away and will you call me?' He calls again during dinner, we had a half-hour conversation. 'Will you forgive me, Kathie, please? I'm doing some hard work on my life. I know I hurt you. I'm so sorry and I need to ask you to forgive me.'"

According to Page Six, Gifford said she didn't give Stern a piece of her mind for the last three decades of his hurtful comments.  Instead, she congratulated him on working on himself and telling him she forgave him "30 years ago" and prays for him "every single day."

So how did Stern respond?

"He said, 'I used a lot of language, but I'm so sorry, you never deserved it,'" she said.  "You've always been so nice. You just pissed me off because you were everything I wasn't."

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