5 Facts About Kelly Ripa’s New Co-Host, Football Player Michael Strahan

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Michael Strahan Kelly Ripa Live with Kelly co-host 5 facts about football playerWith Regis Philbin leaving Live with Regis and Kelly nearly a year ago, we've gotten so used to Kelly Ripa taking the reins on her own that we almost forgot she was in the process of auditioning a new co-host. Just as she herself was one of many tryouts over a decade ago, Kelly has brought actors, TV personalities, and athletes onto the show over the past few months, and this morning finally announced who her new co-host is.

Am I the only one who was surprised that it's football player Michael Strahan? To be honest, I hardly knew of the guy before now; sure, I recognized him, but I didn't even realize he had a connection to Kelly. Turns out that out of the 59 guest co-hosts over the past 10 months, he's popped in several times. And when Kelly announced that he was her new partner in crime, amid balloons and confetti, he wrapped her in a big bear hug and she said, “It's so nice to have a co-host who can literally sweep you off your feet.”

So, now that Michael will be on our TV screens every morning at 9 a.m., what should you know about him?

1. He spent much of his youth in Mannheim, Germany, thanks to a father in the Army. But eventually his dad sent him back to his birthplace of Houston, Texas, where he began playing football and earned himself a college scholarship.

2. Michael's been divorced twice; the second marriage ended in a nasty split, with his ex-wife asking for $15 million in the settlement and $18,000/month for child support. But he's now engaged to Nicole Murphy, ex-wife of Eddie Murphy and star of Hollywood Exes. But lest you think he's out of his element getting married to a reality star, he's had roles on the sitcoms Brothers and Are We There Yet?

3. He co-founded 12 Society, a style site where he and other celebrities like Nick Cannon or Nas hand-pick cool products to send to you every month. For a fee, of course, but it's a fun idea.

4. Last June, Michael filmed a promo supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York City. “As a defensive end for the New York Giants, I always played the game tough, but fair,” he said in the promo. “And I feel it's unfair to keep committed couples from being married.”

5. Despite online postings from viewers suggesting Michael get the gap between his teeth fixed before signing on for the co-hosting gig, he doesn't seem ashamed about his smile. Apparently plenty of audience members this morning were also people with gaps in their front teeth; upon seeing them, Michael laughed and said, “I've never seen so many people with a gap in their teeth. We are now a gap friendly show.” He's also commented on his crooked fingers from his football career:

We appreciate a man with a few flaws.

Photo: Mr Blue/WENN.com