She’s finally back! After being off since last Tuesday when Michael Strahan announced he was leaving ‘Live!,’ Kelly Ripa returned on April 26.

After being completely blindsided by Michael Strahan‘s announcement that he was leaving Live!, it was no surprise that Kelly Ripa took some time off — but that vacation is over. She put on a brave face and went right into the tough stuff — and made one heck of a statement!

The two walked out holding hands — and then the camera cut right to her on a close up shot. She looked visibly emotional when receiving a standing ovation. “Guys, our long national nightmare is over! Please sit down,” she said smiling. Here are some key moments of her amazing speech.

“I first want to honestly, sincerely thank you for welcoming be me back to this show.The love, the show of support to this bizarre time has been really overwhelming,” she said. “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right—and let’s be honest, I know all of you called in sick to be here!”

She then added that she thought long and hard about what to say.

“What transpired, though, over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace,” she said. “Since we’re being honest, I don’t consider this just a workplace. This is my second home. This is a place I’ve devoted myself to, not just because of you, our loyal viewers, but because of all the producers and the crew who work on this show. We are family apologies have been made and the best thing to come out of all of this you guys, is that our parent company has assured me that Live! is a priority. There is a commitment to the show.

She also of course, added she was “thrilled” and very proud of Michael.

We told you Kelly was returning when she finally broke her silence in a staff email, obtained by our partner publication, Deadline. “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 found out about Michael’s departure on April 19 — when the viewers did and was understandably totally shocked; however, she has received an apology. “[ABC execs] expressed regret for the way Kelly was told the news,” a source told CNN. “We had a plan, which obviously did not go as planned.” Disney-ABC Television Group president Ben Sherwood, ABC stations president Rebecca Campbell and ABC News president James Goldston all alsodelivered personal apologies, according to the report.


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