Kelly Maria Ripa is an American actress, television producer, talk show host, and dancer who is best known for playing Hayley Vaughn on the ABC daytime soap opera All My Children (1990-2002, 2010) and Faith Fairfield on the ABC sitcom Hope & Faith (2003-2006). She has been co-hosting the syndicated morning talk show Live! with Kelly and Ryan in numerous formats since 2001. She was named one of the Most Powerful People in Media by The Hollywood Reporter in 2014.
Kelly Ripa was born October 2, 1970, in Berlin, New Jersey, to parents Joseph Ripa, a bus driver and labor union president, and Esther a homemaker. Ripa has a sister, Linda, who is a children’s book author. Apart from playing the piano, Ripa also studied ballet since age three.
She attended Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees Township, New Jersey. While in high school, she was a cheerleader, and her drama teacher encouraged her to pursue acting. “I owe so much of my career to Jim Boeckle,” Ripa said. “He thought I was a natural performer, so he gave me the lead in the next show.”
Ripa’s talents were further discovered while performing in The Ugly Duckling during her senior year. After graduating from high school, Ripa attended Camden County College to pursue psychology, though she dropped out and went to New York to pursue an acting career.
“All My Children”
In 1990, Ripa was cast in her major acting role in All My Children, playing Hayley Vaughan, a troubled party girl. In 2002, she concluded her 12-year stint but returned for two episodes in 2010 to help celebrate the soap opera’s 40th anniversary.
Ripa joined co-host Regis Philbin in February 2001 for ABC’s morning talk show Live! With Regis and Kelly, replacing longtime co-host Kathie Lee Gifford. Just after Kathie Lee’s final show, Regis Philbin began holding on-air auditions to find her replacement.
This is what Philbin says of discovering Ripa in his autobiography, How I Got This Way:
“There was one guest we’d had on with us a few years before who had (a certain sparkle). Hers was a natural, quick-witted, unaffected, confident, fun-loving kind of sparkle that both Gelman and I remembered very well. We decided to invite her back, this time to consider her as a possible co-host. So that was when this smiling, petite ball of fire named Kelly Ripa made her return to Live! For a test run at the rotating, up-for-grabs hot seat to my left. And my God, who knew what spontaneous combustion we’d make together?”
On June 23, 2012, Live! won its first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show. the show’s name was changed to Live! with Kelly again on May 16, 2016, after Strahan’s last show before his move to Good Morning America. The show became Live with Kelly and Ryan on May 1, 2017, also after Ryan Seacrest took over Strahan’s permanent replacement.
“Hope & Faith”
In September 2003, Ripa ventured into primetime on Hope & Faith, portraying Faith Fairfield, an unemployed ex-soap star. The half-hour sitcom co-starred Ted McGinley, Faith Ford, and Megan Fox. The show ended in May 2006 with Ripa claiming she “never wanted to work that hard again.”
Attributing her dedication to the experience of losing a friend to ovarian cancer, Ripa supports the ovarian cancer cause. She has teamed up with Electrolux to raise funds for The Ovarian Cance Research Fund. She hosts a Super Saturday event every summer. It’s a day-long fundraising event that raised over $3.5 million for OCRF in 2011.
Aside from that, Ripa is also an active participant in Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She claims that her sister, Linda, motivated her to join MADD after a drunk driver almost killed her in 1999.
Marriage and Children
Ripa and Mark Consuelos, to whom they met on the soap opera All My Children, got married in 1996. They have three children: Michael Joseph (b. 1997), Lola Grace (b. 2001), and Joaquin Antonio (b. 2003).