Kathie Lee Gifford Kennedy Ethel Michael Bible verse

Kathie Lee Gifford has been a beloved actress, author, and television personality for decades. What many fans don’t know about her, however, is her connection to the Kennedy family.

Kathie Lee Gifford’s Connection To The Kennedys 

In her new memoir “It’s Never Too Late,” the former host of “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” opens up about her connection to the Kennedy family for the first time.

In her memoir, the 67-year-old also shared the powerful Bible verse that she used to help the famous family get through one of their greatest tragedies.

Kathie Lee’s stepdaughter Vicki Gifford was married to Michael Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy and his wife Ethel.

Michael was sadly killed in a skiing accident on New Year’s Eve in 1997 at the young age of 39.

Though he was separated from Vicki at the time because of a cheating scandal, Kathie Lee and her husband Frank were still very close to Ethel.

Related: Kathie Lee Gifford Applauds Hallmark Channel For Making Faith-Based Movies: “They Know What America Is Missing”

Kathie Lee Gifford Comforts Ethel Kennedy

After hearing about the accident, Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford rushed to the hospital, where they found Ethel Kennedy still in her ski clothes and in “utter shock” as she sat by Michael’s body. 

“She was grieving so deeply that she couldn’t move,” Kathie Lee, 67, recalled to People Magazine. “She was literally paralyzed with grief.”

“‘My God,’ I thought, ‘how much can one woman take?’” she added, referring to the fact that Ethel had already been through her husband’s assassination back in 1968, not to mention the many other tragic deaths in the Kennedy family. 

“I quietly walked over to her and embraced her and whispered how sorry I was,” Kathie Lee recalled. “She had always been very candid that Michael was her favorite child of the 11 she had born. And now, he, too, was gone.”

Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls That Special Bible Verse

Kathie Lee sat with Ethel by Michael’s body for over an hour, with the two women silently praying the entire time.

The former “Today” show co-host wrote in her book that Ethel “did not say a word” and “did not cry a tear,” adding that she refused “to leave her son’s lifeless body, shaking her head adamantly when anyone came in to try to convince her to depart.”

That’s when Kathie Lee remembered a Bible verse that would change everything for Ethel. Turning to the grieving mother, Kathie Lee whispered in her ear, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

The former “Today” host believed that these were “the only words that could comfort her heart long enough to give her the strength to move away from her beloved son.” 

It was clear that the words had an immediate positive effect on Ethel, and Kathie Lee said that Frank “signaled to me that I should leave so he could be there with her when she finally said goodbye to her cherished son for the last time.”

With that, she “gently squeezed her [Ethel’s] arm and left the room, marveling yet again at God and how He works through His Word.”

RELATED: Right Before Regis Died, Kathie Lee Got A Divine Sign To Head Back East

The Power Of God’s Word

“Ethel is someone who’s had religion her whole life,” Kathie Lee explained. “And so [God had] been a huge part of her life, but she’d never heard the scripture before that I shared with her in the book … It changed her life.”

Over twenty years later, Kathie Lee has never forgotten this experience. It show her just how powerful the word of God really is. 

“The word of God has power,” she said. “It is the power of all life is in the word and the words. And that’s what broke through the darkness for her — the light of the truth of God’s word.”

We can all learn a lot from how Kathie Lee used the word of God to help a grieving friend in her moment of need.

God bless you, Kathie Lee Gifford! 

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