Kathie Lee Gifford moved to Tennessee because she was 'dying of loneliness'

Taryn Ryder

When Kathie Lee Gifford exited the Today show in April she was ready to leave behind more than just her day job at NBC. The television personality packed up and left the East Coast for a quieter life in Tennessee.

"I moved here because I was dying of loneliness," she told the Tennessean of her decision to relocate to Franklin, just south of Nashville.

Gifford, 66, previously lived in Connecticut where she and her late husband, Frank Gifford, raised their two children: Cody, 29, and Cassidy, 26.

"That huge beautiful memory-filled home was like a morgue to me," she explained.

Frank passed away in 2015 from natural causes at their house and her two children, daughter Cassidy and son Cody, moved out a few years prior.

"Here’s the bad news — I’m a widow, an orphan and an empty nester," Gifford explained. "The good news is, I have the freedom of a widow, an orphan and an empty nester. I’ve got all the time to spend my days writing. I’m having the life I could’ve only ever dreamed of."

Since buying her brownstone in Franklin, Gifford has connected with songwriters, producers, Christian and country artists, according to the Tennessean, which has unleashed new creativity. Gifford said she is fulfilling her dreams by making religious movies and writing songs as she grew up wanting to be Barbra Streisand or Meryl Streep.

"I had these these childhood dreams that I never had time to make it happen. Now I do," Gifford shared. While she has no desire to release an album or tour — "No. No. No," she declared — the former TV host loves working with songwriters in Nashville.

"They come over here and I’ve got mounds and mounds of lyrics. I write every single day. I let them go through them and see what moves them and touches them. If there’s nothing, we write from scratch, even though that’s been hard for me," she revealed.

"These are just gifts from God," Gifford declared. "I’m just trying to keep them growing."

During a recent appearance back at the Today show, Gifford explained how there’s "a different culture" in Tennessee.

"It’s a culture of kindness in Nashville," she shared. "They are authentically kind. They are joyful, they have so much fun."

"I wake up and there are church bells ringing all around me," she added. "It’s just a different attitude."

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