Kathie Lee Gifford Met Howard Stern in Person After Years of His Insults

Howard Stern, Kathie Lee Gifford Met Him in Person | Image Credit: foxnews.com
Howard Stern, Kathie Lee Gifford Met Him in Person | Image Credit: foxnews.com

A Master Class on Emotional Intelligence Occurred Next

An significant lesson may be learned from a resurrected narrative about the decades-long, one-sided feud between Howard Stern and Kathie Lee Gifford: avoid the desire to strike back and respond in kind.

It was Kathie Lee Gifford’s mission.

As the TV presenter was getting ready to go live on air, she heard that Howard Stern was downstairs in the Today show studio making an announcement about his decision to join the America’s Got Talent judge panel. Stern had openly criticized Gifford for years, but Gifford had never met Stern and had never watched his show, so she had no clue why, she recently told Fox News.

Abruptly, Gifford rose from her chair and walked over to extend a cordial greeting to Stern.

Gifford claims that after introducing herself, she said two things to Stern:

Gifford remarked, “I felt it was about time we say hello.” “I’d like to wish you luck on your new program.”

Later that day, Gifford claims, she received a call while she was boarding an aircraft to fly to her son’s college graduation. Gifford claims that even though the caller ID didn’t display a number, she was positive it was Stern. Stern left her a strong message even though she didn’t respond.

According to Gifford, “He was essentially telling me how lovely you were to me.” “I simply have to say I’m sorry to you. Kindly give me a call.”

Gifford claimed in a different interview from a few years back that Stern expressed his anger at her by saying, “You were everything I wasn’t.”

However, this tale is not over yet. As it happens, Gifford contacted Stern before that day in the Today show studio.

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Let’s explore this topic in more detail and see why Gifford’s actions are a master lesson in emotional intelligence—that is, the capacity to overcome obstacles and control the emotions of others. (By the way, if this post is helpful to you, you might want to check out my free emotional intelligence course, where you’ll receive a new rule by email every day for a week.)

How conflict resolution is aided by emotional intelligence

According to Gifford, she never felt animosity against Stern. She seems to have even reached out to him at one point.

In 1999, Stern revealed on his radio program that he had gotten a letter from Gifford in reaction to the public announcement of his and his wife’s divorce. Gifford wrote in her message that she was “sad to hear the news” and that she want to offer life-saving spiritual lessons.

Stern responded by mocking the letter and calling it “stupid” on his radio program.

Step back in time some years later, and imagine yourself briefly in Gifford’s position. In her shoes, what action would you take?

Had Gifford known Stern was housed in the same building, he may have challenged him and taken a counterattack. Alternatively, she may have just stayed away from him; nobody would have held her accountable.

Rather, Gifford adopted an emotionally astute strategy: she seized the chance to speak with Stern face-to-face.

The outcome was astounding: in addition to Stern’s phone apologies, the two were allowed to speak privately for the first time.

“Howard, I’m so glad that you’re reaching out for forgiveness.” According to Gifford, she told Stern. However, I only want you to know that thirty years ago, I did forgive you.

Gifford fostered respect and set the example for their relationship by being polite to Stern. She hardly said anything, but instead of inflaming the issue, she encouraged Stern to make apologies.

When Gifford departed the Today program years later, she told another endearing tale about Stern that demonstrated how much he had changed. A heartfelt congrats card was sent with an enormous arrangement of red roses for her. “Howard and Beth Stern” signed the card.

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What then is your takeaway from this?

Often, your natural response to an attack is to defend yourself. However, the following is the more emotionally astute course of action:

Try to arrange a face-to-face meeting if at all feasible. Be compassionate, assume the best, and speak with dignity. Most of the time, you’ll work to dispel the hatred of the other person and advance understanding in its place.


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