Kelly Ripa Sheds Light on Working Conditions at Live, Reveals She Was Denied an Office for Years

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Kelly Ripa is speaking out about the work culture during her early years on Live With Regis and Kelly.

Ripa, who has been a part of the ABC daytime talk show since 2001, revealed to Variety she wasn't given an office until her fourth season.

And when she did get an office, it was allegedly the janitor's closet she had already been working from.

 Kelly Ripa attends the 6th Annual Save the Children Illumination Gala at the American Museum of Natural History

The star revealed it served as her "office" until the late Philbin vacated his seat in 2011.

She went on to speak about having to use public restrooms used by audience members instead of being given a private bathroom like her male costar.

Kelly Ripa attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards

"It was the strangest experience I've ever had in my life," Ripa told Variety.

"I was told that I couldn't have an office. It didn't make a whole lot of sense, especially because there were empty offices that I could have easily occupied."

As for why the offices were empty, they were allegedly reserved for when executives from the West Coast were in town.

"It was after my fourth year that they finally cleaned out the closet and put a desk in there for me," the Hope & Faith alum shared.

SiriusXM's Town Hall with Kelly Ripa hosted by Andy Cohen

"And so I was working in the janitor's closet with a desk so that I could have a place to put things."

Kelly detailed how she thought she would be given Philbin's office after he departed in 2011 but was told it was reserved for "when the new guy comes."

"I looked at them, and I said, 'I am the new guy,' I just moved my things. I forced my way into the office because I couldn't understand how I would still be in the janitor's closet and somebody new would come in and get the office."

"Initially, I thought this is just what happens, and they don't have to fill me in because I've only been here 10 years," she added.

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"I'm still the new girl. But then, when I was the more senior on-air person, it was like watching the same movie all over again: All of those offices that were not available to me were suddenly made available, with walls knocked down to make them twice as big."

"It was fascinating for me to watch — the need to make the new guy comfortable and respected, but I couldn't use those offices. I had to use the broom closet," Ripa recalled.

The star also touched upon pay equity on the series, revealing that she had no leverage until her contract was up.

"I don't think they wanted to pay me," she said.

Kelly Ripa poses for a photo during SiriusXM's Town Hall with Kelly Ripa hosted by Andy Cohen

"I think they had to pay me. I was trying to walk out the door and close it behind me."

"And I think they really figured out rapidly that they had screwed up in a major way, and it was not a good look."

"I think that was really the impetus behind paying me fairly. They had no choice."

Ripa said she doesn't blame her male co-hosts for these working conditions.

 Kelly Ripa attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland

"The network had a duty and an obligation to keep all things equal. I don't blame the fellas," Ripa shared. 

"They were just doing what they had been told, or what they were instructed to do, or what they thought they deserved."

Next month, Ripa will anchor the show alongside her husband, Mark Consuelos, who has stepped in to replace the departing Ryan Seacrest.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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