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Kelly Ripa talks to People magazine about Michael Strahan’s exit, says ‘people deserve respect’ in the workplace

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan seen on April

Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan seen on April 26, when Ripa returned to "LIVE with Kelly and Michael." Photo Credit: Disney / ABC Home Entertainment / David M. Russell

Stung by co-host Michael Strahan’s sudden announcement last month that he was leaving “LIVE with Kelly and Michael” for “Good Morning America,” Kelly Ripa is opening up on what happened.

“There’s a part of me that can say, ‘OK, I understand. This may have been an oversight,’ Ripa says in the new issue of People magazine, out Friday. “But after 26 years, at this point we are like a family,” she added, dating from the 1988 debut of predecessor show “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”

“And sometimes when you are so comfortable with somebody, you may not give them the same consideration as somebody you’re not as comfortable with — a certain formality falls away.”

And she added: “I think that all people are deserving of fair treatment in the workplace. People deserve respect. People should be treated equally and with dignity.”

Ripa, 45, took some days off work after Strahan caught both her and executive producer Michael Gelman by surprise on April 19 with news he planned to exit “LIVE” in September to appear full-time on “GMA,” where he has been a twice-weekly guest host since 2014. One week later producers announced that Strahan, 44, would be leaving after the May 13 show instead.

Ripa — who said on her April 26 return to the show that the incident started a conversation “about communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace” — told the magazine, “I think what people need to understand about the entire situation is that I didn’t just not show up,” but that as Strahan delivered the news, “I said, in the room, ‘I am going to take the day off.’ I needed to actually sit and gather information. I needed to make sure I said the appropriate things on TV and didn’t just come out and say whatever.”

She added, “I think that requires a certain amount of empathy. . . . When you’re dealing with big business, it’s easy to forget that you’re dealing with people and that people have feelings.”

Now, she says, “We’re excited for Michael. He wanted that job, and it’s great for him. I think it is a perfect match, I really do. However, what nobody considered is there’s a whole other group of people that it really impacts, because we have to now find another great person.”

Ultimately, “People make mistakes, and we’re all human. They’re human and I’m human. We all have these moments, and it’s about how you move forward and how you begin again.”

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