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Kathie Lee Gifford Opens Up On Death Of Her Husband: 'I Was Expecting It'

Kathie Lee Gifford's life is very different from how you may remember it.

She sat down recently to talk about her new life, her new career, and how the passing of her husband was something she saw coming from a long way away.

Kathie Lee Gifford made her career on television.

Long before Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest hit the air, Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin were the hosts of Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.

She appeared on the show for 15 years, ending in 2000.

After that, it was over to "Today".

She and Hoda Kotb took over the fourth hour of The Today Show in 2008.

They anchored that hour for 11 years before Kathie Lee stepped down in 2019. She and Hoda won a Daytime Emmy in 2019 for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host.

Before those career highs, she married Frank Gifford.

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They wed in 1986. Gifford was an American football player and television sports commentator and had been married twice already.

Kathie Lee and Frank's marriage lasted 59 years. They had two children together: Cody, and Cassidy.

Frank passed away in 2015.

Which left Kathie Lee in a rough place.

She told USA Today that she left New York for Nashville because she was "dying of loneliness."

"That huge beautiful memory-filled home was like a morgue to me," she said.

She opened up to about Frank's death.

"The last three years were tremendous. Frank died four years ago. And I was pretty good about that, because I was expecting it." She said in an exclusive interview with them.

She knew it was coming, due to his advanced age.

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"Not as suddenly as it happened, but he'd been failing. He was one week shy of 85 when he passed. He was still in great shape, still working out," she continued.

His memory started to go.

"He could remember every single person he'd ever played football with on every team. But it was the recent memory things that were starting to happen."

At 85, a slip every now and then is not too bad.

They did an interesting thing after he died, however.

"We had his brain given to science for study because of all the injuries and CTE and all of that."

CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is caused by blows to the head. Frank likely sustained them while playing football for the New York Giants.

But the rest of his brain was healthy.

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"It turns out that he was riddled with CTE. But the part of his brain that wasn't affected by it is what they call heavy brain, was the brain of a 20-year-old man."

Continual learning is scientifically proven to keep the brain young.

"And that's because he was always learning something and he was always working out and he was always interested in things. I mean, we, it's not just your body you need to exercise."

Religion became very important to them both.

"He went to Israel with me in 2012 and it absolutely changed his life. He realized that all of his life he'd had a religion, not a relationship," she said.

These days, her life doesn't involve television.

Instead, her days are filled with music. She composes and writes music, as well as movies.

Her focus is now on bringing God and religion into her work, and she said it's very fulfilling.

She needs a purpose in life.

"But listen, I'm a widow. I'm an orphan now, my mom passed, too, right after my husband did. My children live in California. I have a big day to fill."

She isn't going to waste her time on something she doesn't believe in.

"And I don't wanna be that kind of person that sits around and feels...has a pity party for everything they've lost. I'm not that kind of person."

Instead, she writes constantly.

She appreciates the life she has.

"I try to concentrate on what I still have. I'm very blessed. I've got amazing health, amazing energy still. And [I'm] grateful to God for that."

You go, Kathie Lee.