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‘Marriages Are Under Attack’—What Kathie Lee Gifford Has Learned About Marriage and God’s Faithfulness

Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford on Jan. 24, 2020, at the Avalon Hollywood 28th Annual Movieguide® Awards. Movieguide®, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Emmy Award-winner Kathie Lee Gifford said in a recent interview with Fox News that she believes marriage is an institution ordained by God and that it is currently under attack. Gifford is an outspoken Christian and has shared publicly about how her faith has impacted her own marriages. 

“God loves marriage,” said Gifford. “God instituted marriage for [a] reason, for a purpose. Family is so important to God.” She added, “Marriages are under attack. Monogamy is under attack.” 

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Kathie Lee Gifford Talks Faith and Marriage 

Kathie Lee Gifford, a singer, songwriter, and actress, is probably best known for co-hosting the nationally syndicated talk show, “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” alongside Regis Philbin. Gifford was on the show from 1985 to 2000, after which actress Kelly Ripa took over as co-host. 

Gifford married Paul Johnson, a composer and producer of Christian music, in 1976. She wrote in her memoir, “It’s Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best Act of Your Life,” “The truth is, it was only a marriage in the pages of the law. Though Paul and I were married, we shared only one thing — our faith.” Gifford elaborated, explaining why she did not pursue a divorce:

I was a virgin on my wedding night with Paul, and still considered myself one when he left me…It’s hard even now to explain why I stayed so long in a sexless marriage. I certainly would never do it again. But back then divorce had much more of a stigma, and no one in my family was divorced. I believed that God could heal our marriage and prayed every day that He would.

Johnson eventually left Gifford and the couple divorced in 1983. In an interview with The Christian Post, Gifford describes the harmful teaching about submission she received from church leaders when trying to work through her marital struggles with Johnson. “In my first marriage,” said Gifford, “I was married to a man who didn’t want anything to do with me in any way, sexually, romantically, didn’t even want me in the same room with him for seven years. I was married to this man. And in counseling, I was told I was the problem because I was not submitting to him.”

Now, Gifford says she understands “submission,” described in Ephesians 5, as meaning to “reach down and lift up,” as opposed to letting one’s husband “treat you like garbage or rape or control you.” She said, “We as women are supposed to reach down and lift up in loving support of this gift that God has given us, our husbands.”