FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Kathie Lee Gifford watched her football star husband, Frank Gifford, die in 2015 in the same Connecticut house their adult children moved out of a few years prior.

“That huge beautiful memory-filled home was like a morgue to me,” said Gifford, whose mom died two years ago.

So she bought a house in Tennessee.

“I moved here because I was dying of loneliness,” the longtime TV talk show host – who left NBC’s Today show in April – said in a 90-minute interview in her opulent brownstone near the Franklin town square.

“Here’s the bad news — I’m a widow, an orphan, and an empty-nester. The good news is, I have the freedom of a widow, an orphan and an empty-nester. I’ve got all the time to spend my days writing. I’m having the life I could’ve only ever dreamed of.”

Kathie Lee Gifford’s daughter engaged:‘I am beyond the moon and stars’

Since buying a home here, Gifford has connected with songwriters, producers, Christian and country artists and others, unleashing a manic pursuit of creativity.

Kathie Lee Gifford is photographed in Franklin Saturday, November 9, 2019.

Among her recent projects:

♦ Four songs she co-wrote and recorded, spiritual tunes around losing her husband, including “He Saw Jesus” and “Love Me to Death;”

♦ A romantic comedy, “Love Me to Death,” that she wrote, produced and co-starred in with comedian Craig Ferguson;

♦ A new children’s book, “The Gift I Can Give”;

♦ Two Hallmark Channel movies;

♦ Songwriting with some of Nashville’s biggest songwriters, including Brett James, Kelley Lovelace and Stephanie Bentley; and

♦ Creating oratorios — large-scale religious narrative-music productions like Handel’s Messiah — with Christian artist Nicole C. Mullen and others.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT:Kathie Lee Gifford was a Hee Haw Honey

Mullen and Gifford debuted an oratorio Sunday night as part of the Nashville Pop Orchestra’s 1,000 Voices of Christmas concert. The night before, Gifford hosted a $350-a-person fundraiser gala at the Musicians Hall of Fame. (Proceeds will go to the pop orchestra’s student scholarship program.)

Gifford said she is thrilled to get back to fulfilling her childhood dreams. She grew up wanting to be Barbra Streisand or Meryl Streep, and now, Gifford is making movies and writing songs.



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