Michael Strahan throws major shade at Kelly Ripa: I felt like a 'sidekick'

Michael Strahan is clearing the air about his rumored to be estranged relationship with Kelly Ripa -- and he's not holding anything back.

In a juicy new interview with the New York Times, Strahan alluded to his former gig on Live! with Kelly and Michael by saying that he's had jobs where he arrived and thought "Wow, I didn’t know I was supposed to be a sidekick. I thought I was coming here to be a partner."

When asked to clarify whether or not he was talking about Ripa and Live! he said "It was an experience" before elaborating on his departure:

" ... I remained the same person I was from day one. One thing I will not do is alter my attitude for somebody else’s. I learned so much from Kelly, so much from [producer] Michael Gelman. When it was time to go, it was time to go. Certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up."

Strahan worked as Ripa's co-host on the hit talk show from 2012 to early 2016, during which he won two Daytime Emmy Awards. 

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Michael Strahan & Kelly Ripa
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: TV personalities Michael Strahan (L) and Kelly Ripa attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 12: Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the ceremony honoring Kelly Ripa with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 12, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Michael Strahan as Luke Skywalker and Kelly Ripa as Princess Leia Organa attend the Hallowe'en photocall for Live! with Kelly and Michael on October 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Michael Strahan as Left Shark and Kelly Ripa as Katy Perry on the Super Bowl Halftime Show attend a photocall outside the Live! with Kelly and Michael Studios on October 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 12: Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa and Michael Gelman attend the ceremony honoring Kelly Ripa with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 12, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF15/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Hosts Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa pose for a photo at the 'Live With Kelly & Michael' Halloween Show at Live with Kelly And Michael Studio on October 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: TV personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attends the Oscars held at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: Kelly Ripa (L) and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 CNN Heroes at the American Museum of Natural History on November 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: (L-R) Event host Anderson Cooper, and TV personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute at The American Museum of Natural History on November 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: (L-R) TV personality Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the Broadcasting And Cable 23rd Annual Hall Of Fame Awards dinner at The Waldorf Astoria on October 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -9/5/13 - Arsenio Hall and Jennifer Hudson are guests on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by David Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL - 8/1/13 - Bryan Cranston and Poppy Montgomery are guests on the syndicated talk show, 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Rob Tannenbaum/ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -7/12/13 - Kevin James is a guest on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Dave Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -7/11/13 - Salma Hayek is a guest on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Dave Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN,
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -7/9/13 - 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Dave Steele/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: TV personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -5/1/13 - 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -2/26/13 - Using chopsticks to arrange their smiles, Kelly and Michael try out the latest stress-relieving smile therapy, on 'LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL -1/25/12 - LIVE with Kelly and Michael,' distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: 'Live With Kelly And Michael' hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan attend the Kids' Night on Broadway 2013 press conference at August Wilson Theatre on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/FilmMagic)
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The former NFL star announced he would be leaving the show on April 19, 2016 for a full-time gig at Good Morning America where he had been appearing as a regular contributor.

Ripa took an unexpected week off following Strahan's announcement which fueled rumors that she was less-than-thrilled about the decision, which was only verified by the monologue she gave the Live! audience upon her return:

"I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts; after 26 years with this company, I earned the right ... [Strahan's departure] started a much greater conversation about communication, and consideration, and most importantly respect in the workplace."

In January of last year, Strahan told Time that he hadn't"spoken to [Ripa] in a long time."

Strahan seemed to allude to the rough handling of his exit to the New York Times by simply saying "It could have been handled better."

He went on:

"People who should have handled it better have all apologized, but a lot of the damage had already been done. For me, it was like: Move on. Success is the best thing. Just keep on moving ... I tried to ... have a meeting every few weeks with [Ripa]. We met a few times, and that was fine. But then eventually she said she didn’t need to meet. Can’t force somebody to do something they don’t want to do."

Strahan officially left Live! on May 13, 2016. 

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