"I need to make a new life for myself, or this one's gonna kill me," said the former "Today" host.
Kathie Lee Gifford opened up about how she suffered from "crippling loneliness" after her husband, Frank, died in 2015.
The 66-year-old entertainer stopped by her old haunt, Today, on Thursday to discuss her new life after moving to Nashville, recalling how her former residence began to feel "like a mortuary" without her partner of 29 years or her children Cody, 29, and Cassidy, 26, who had moved out as adults.
"This home of mine in Connecticut where Frank and I raised our beautiful children, we had so many happy years," she began. "And then it came to feel like a mortuary with me just there alone. And I said I need to make a new life for myself, or this one's gonna kill me. The loneliness was crippling. It was crippling."
She said she found solace in showing up to work with her former co-host Hoda Kotb, but "then I'd go home to it again at night." Asking herself "where is there life in abundance," she landed on Nashville as the answer.
And Hoda couldn't agree more as she interjected, "Ever since you got to Nashville, I feel like it's a puzzle piece that fit, I feel like it's always been that way for you."
Kathie Lee said the move to the Tennessee capital was years in the making, as she was ready to return to the city where she first began her career in entertainment.
"You know, I first worked there in 1978 on a situational comedy called 'Hee Haw Honeys' and it was a very different town then, but the people are still the same. The town is unrecognizable to me now. But the people are the same."
She recorded three albums while there and also made a gaggle of famous friends -- including Dolly Parton, The Gatlin Brothers and Kenny Rogers.
The move has proved cathartic for the former "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" host as she revealed to Hoda and her replacement on "Today," Jenna Bush Hager, that she is in a good place now.
"I'm so good. I'm happy. Happy in the South, happy in Nashville. It's a culture of kindness down there," she said earnestly, before adding, "I hear church bells all the time. I go to rodeos and things, no I'm kidding!"
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