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Andy Cohen Defends BFF Kelly Ripa, Slams Michael Strahan for Leaving 'Live!' So Soon

Andy Cohen is defending one of his best friends, Kelly Ripa, in the wake of her Live! with Kelly & Michael co-host Michael Strahan‘s announcement that he is leaving the show after four years.

“I’ve been getting so many questions about what’s going on with my friend Kelly Ripa, and ‘How’s she doing?’ and ‘What do you think?’ You know, I want to say that she… I know she spent the weekend celebrating her 20th anniversary with Mark, which has been a long-planned vacation. So don’t get her trending on Twitter today because she’s not at work. She is on a long-planned vacation,” the 47-year-old Watch What Happens Live host said on his SiriusXM radio show.

“You know, when I look at this whole situation, it’s worth nothing, the two of them, Kelly and Michael, they had such great chemistry,” he continued. “And I’m just looking at this and it just seems like a premature end to a great relationship that ended way too prematurely. So much has been written about this situation and how it was handled. I’ve been a TV executive or producer for 25 years, so I’m always fascinated to see how TV things go down. I can’t say this went down the greatest way.”

Click inside to read what Andy Cohen said about Michael Strahan’s decision to leave… More Here! »

Kelly Ripa to Return to 'Live!' Alongside Michael Strahan Next Week

Kelly Ripa will return to Live! with Kelly & Michael next week following her weeklong absence.

Both Kelly and her co-host Michael Strahan are set to fulfill their hosting duties together starting next Tuesday (April 26).

“I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information. Your kindness, support, and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning,” Kelly reportedly said in a staff email.

Kelly has not returned to the talk show since Michael announced last Tuesday that he would be leaving the show for Good Morning America.

She is reportedly not replying to his attempts to contact her and the network “does not yet know what she wants” but Michael “wants her to come back.”

Kelly Ripa Is Not Returning Michael Strahan's Calls or Texts

Kelly Ripa is taking some personal time after being blindsided by the announcement of Michael Strahan‘s departure from Live! with Kelly & Michael and now reports say she won’t speak to him.

Michael has called her and reached out to her and texted her and she is not acknowledging him,” a source close to Kelly told People, adding that she won’t speak to ABC executives either.

A close source to Michael said that Kelly “has not called him back. She won’t get back to him. He total understands why she’s upset. He gets it. And he hopes she will come back. He feels bad about this for her.”

Kelly is expected to return to the show on Tuesday after a week-long break.

Regis Philbin, the former host of the show, recently spoke out about the blindside and why he feels bad for Kelly.

Regis Philbin Speaks Out About Kelly Ripa Being Blindsided

Regis Philbin is speaking out about Kelly Ripa being blindsided by the departure of Michael Strahan from their morning show Live! with Kelly & Michael.

“They should have told her in the beginning,” the 84-year-old former talk show host told photographers (via TMZ).

Regis was asked if he thinks Kelly got backdoored and he said, “To a degree. I can’t tell because I’m not there. They’re going to be alright. It’ll be fine.”

When asked about Michael‘s move, he said, “He’s great. He was great with the Giants. He was great on our show. He’s doing a lot of stuff. He really is. He’s a real pro and they’re going to use him [at Good Morning America] because they’re in second place right now.”

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Will Kelly Ripa Leave 'Live!' After Michael Strahan Exit Drama?

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Michael Strahan Praises Kelly Ripa Amid Reported Behind-the-Scenes Drama (Video)

Michael Strahan publicly praised Kelly Ripa on Good Morning America on Thursday (April 21) while making an appearance to celebrate his new full time job on the show.

“I’m ready,” the 44-year-old television personality said. “It’s my second family here…I’m going to miss everybody at Live, sitting next to Kelly every day and having a lot of fun on that show over the last four years.”

“I’m very thankful to her because I learned so much from her, and [Live's producer] Michael Gelman,” Michael added about leaving Live! with Kelly & Michael to pursue a full time gig with GMA. “I was so new to all of this, and worked for her and worked for Michael Gelman and the staff there — that really boosted me up and made me look a lot better than I really am. I never would’ve had a chance to be here, but I’m grateful that I’m here.”

“And we’re on the same network. I’m just right over here a little earlier now. But we’re on the same team, same family, same network,” Michael added. Kelly reportedly “went crazy” when she found out Michael was leaving the show.

Watch his appearance below…

Kelly Ripa Emerges for First Time Since Michael Strahan's 'Live' Exit News

Kelly Ripa steps out in New York City with her husband Mark Consuelos on Thursday (April 21).

The Live! with Kelly and Michael co-host has not been seen since news broke that Michael Strahan would be leaving the show to work full time at Good Morning America. While stepping out, Kelly was holding a copy of Malcolm Gladwell‘s “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.”

There have been many stories circulating about how Kelly truly feels about the exit, but she has yet to make an official statement. Kelly will be out from the show until at least Tuesday, because of a pre-scheduled vacation.

20+ pictures inside of Kelly Ripa out for the first time since the announcement… More Here! »

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