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5 reasons why Kathie Lee Gifford's new memoir 'It's Never Too Late' will inspire you

Jenna Ryu
USA TODAY

Kathie Lee Gifford may have stepped down from the "Today" show, but her career is just getting started. 

In her memoir "It’s Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best Act of Your Life," out now, Gifford offers encouragement and wisdom to women embarking on major life changes – something Gifford can relate to after leaving the TV world to pursue other creative endeavors. She shares little-known details about her rise to fame, faith and life-changing relationships to show us that it truly is "never too late" to do whatever you want. Take it from Gifford, 67, who is now writing music, releasing books and directing movies.

From her discouraging struggle to succeed in Hollywood to becoming the all-star she is today, Gifford proves that she's "not retiring," but rather "refiring." Along with documenting what she calls "the most creative act of her life," she gives readers a glimpse of the challenges she's faced throughout the years, such as the loneliness of her first marriage, her second husband Frank Gifford's infidelity and the death of her beloved co-host and friend, Regis Philbin.

But Gifford is also an entertainer and engages readers with lighthearted anecdotes about such as celebrities Dinah ShoreAl Pacino, Howard Stern, Kris Jenner and more. 

So how did Gifford inspire us in her new book? Here are five lifelong lessons she teaches from her 45-year career: 

Kathie Lee Gifford's new memoir, "It's Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best," released on Dec. 1.

Never give up on something you love, even after some failures

It wasn't easy for the four-time Emmy Award-winner to get to where she is today, and she writes about the nine months of rejection and discouragement she experienced after first moving to Los Angeles. 

However, it was a rejection that paved the way for Gifford's current success. After being turned down for a kids' game show, an audition she thought she had "nailed," she was tapped for the role that changed her entire life: "Name That Tune." It turned out that the producer of the game show preferred her for this role, saying she was too "sophisticated" to host a program for kids. 

Your small steps can really change the world

Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford in August 1992.

It's a cliche life lesson, but Gifford's narrative proves that small actions can inspire major life-changing movements. Around the time of her son Cody's birth, she and Frank Gifford sued the state of New York to provide mothers with their HIV test results, which were kept secret at the time, to help at-risk women "combat the possibility of their children being born infected with HIV or AIDS." Though their decision came during a time of great stigmatization, Gov. George Pataki eventually ended up approving their initiative, which she says may have contributed to the AIDS death rate decreasing in New York "for the first time."

Make the most of your tragedies

From the humiliation of her divorce to the death of Frank, Gifford gets candid about the many tragedies in her life, yet inspires by sharing how she coped with these challenges. She details her mental growth and confidence after her first husband, Paul Johnson, left her without any notice, and how she wrote the successful song "He Saw Jesus" about her second husband, after his death in 2015. Most notably, she decided to transform her life after her depression as an empty-nester by moving to Nashville, Tennessee, a place she calls her new home.

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You haven't met everyone who can change your life yet

"Then Came You" stars Kathie Lee Gifford, Craig Ferguson and Scotland landscapes.

Gifford shares stories of her memorable friendships, from Hoda Kotb to Evel Knievel. However, she also pays tribute to the importance of relatively new figures in her life, such as comedian Craig Ferguson, with whom she wrote the 2020 rom-com movie "Then Came You," and songwriter Brett James, who encouraged and influenced her to seriously pursue music-writing. 

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Some friendships are forever

Kathie Lee Gifford and co-host Regis Philbin reminisce during her last appearance on the show, on July 28, 2000, in New York.

Most notably, Gifford documents her relationship with her longtime friend and co-host, Regis Philbin, with whom she first started working in 1985 as a replacement for Ann Abernathy as co-host of "The Morning Show" on WABC-TV (which would eventually go national as "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee"). She documents how inspired she was by the "pioneer in the television industry," whose success stemmed from his natural spontaneity and authenticity. Gifford attributes him not only with her career's success but also for giving her the confidence to be her silly, carefree self. 

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