Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern Had an Ongoing Feud for Decades

Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern feuded for decades before reconciling after Kathie extended Howard some grace.


May 28 2024, Published 10:29 a.m. ET

Howard Stern speaking on stage with a mic and Kathie Lee Gifford at the premiere of Unsung Hero.
Source: Getty Images

If you've ever followed celebrities closely, you're likely aware that feuds aren't uncommon. It could be Drake and Kendrick Lamar, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, or if you're old school, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The feud between Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern is legendary, in part because it lasted for decades.

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In her new memoir, I Want to Matter: Your Life Is Too Short and Too Precious to Waste, Kathie Lee details how the feud eventually came to an end. Now that we know how it ended, though, many want to better understand what the feud was about and how it managed to last for so long.

Kathie Lee Gifford on 'Fox & Friends'
Source: Getty Images
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What was Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern's feud about?

The feud between Kathie Lee and Howard started back in 1995 when she was selected to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XXIX, where her husband Frank Gifford was broadcasting. As Kathie Lee sang the anthem, she could hear booing, and she eventually learned that Howard had instructed his listeners to boo her as she was singing. The trashing didn't end there, but Kathie Lee eventually reached out to try to show him some grace.

When Howard was a guest on her show years later, Kathie Lee got up the courage to reach out to him. "The Lord… said, 'Kathie, go down and say hello to him, and wish him well with the show.' And I said, 'OK Lord,'" she said. "I got up out of my hair and makeup (room). Those girls had been told, 'Don't let Kathie go anywhere near the studio.' … I couldn't care less. I go downstairs. They go, 'Where are you going?' I said, 'I'm going to go say hello to Howard.'

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"I thought it was about time," Kathie Lee added. "I said, 'I want to wish you all the best with the new show.' I got up, went back, sat down in the makeup room. They'd said, 'Why'd you do that?' I said, ‘God told me to.'"

Later that day, she received a call on her cell phone with no caller ID, and it was Howard leaving a voicemail offering an apology for his own behavior.

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"He says — I can't even use the language that he used," Kathie said.. "It was a lot of F-words, but he was saying, 'I can't believe how nice you were to me. I've been so rude to you and you were so nice. I just need to apologize to you. Please call me.'"

The two eventually connected, and they reconciled after decades of ill will between them.

"Once I listened to [the voicemail], I said to my kids at the table, 'Well, pigs have now officially flown. ... (But) I just always believe God can touch anybody's heart ... I'm not allowed to hate anybody that hates me. Once you start praying for people, you can't hate them. Love cannot live where hate does, and it's a very simple thing," Kathie Lee explained.

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