Michael Strahan on Kelly and Michael: "I Didn’t Know I Was Supposed to Be a Sidekick"

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Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Live With Kelly and Michael

Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa from Live! With Kelly and Michael

It's been almost four years since Michael Strahan departed from Live! With Kelly and Michael, and the former NFL star is finally opening up about his contentious departure from Kelly Ripa after it was announced he would head over to Good Morning America.

In an interview with the New York Times, Strahan discusses the similarities as a New York Giants defensive lineman and being in television.

According to Strahan,

The stakes are definitely different. Football will be the hardest thing I will ever do when it comes to work, because it requires you, mentally, to take yourself where you never thought you could go physically. That’s not required now. But the mental aspect of working in TV is like it was in football. I don’t want to be on the show and feel like everyone else is carrying me. I want us all to be successful. I’ve done things where I went in with team concepts, and I got there and realized it’s not about team. It’s selfish, and I don’t operate well under that.

When questioned if he meant the "selfishness" was either in sports or television, Strahan replied,

Both. In sports, you can put as many great players as you want on a team, but if one guy out there is worried about himself, it will not work. Then on television, I’ve had jobs where I got there and felt like: Wow, I didn’t know I was supposed to be a sidekick. I thought I was coming here to be a partner.

Related: Was Kelly Ripa "Blindsided" by Michael Strahan's Departure from 'Live'?

Strahan co-hosted Live! With Kelly and Michael alongside the soap alum from 2012-2016. Things seemed fine between the two until it was announced Strahan would exit the show to co-host GMA. Soon, word spread about the behind-the-scenes tension Strahan had with Ripa. Ripa was allegedly caught off-guard about his departure and wasn't clued in until days before the announcement.

Asked about his time on Live! Strahan joked,

[Laughs.] It was an experience!

Was his exit handled properly? Strahan admits it was handled poorly and explained what really made him leave Live! Strahan revealed,

It could have been handled better. I didn’t wake up and say, “I want a job at ‘G.M.A.’” I was asked to do it by the people who run the network. It was really not a choice. It was a request. But it was treated as if I was the guy who walked in and said, “I’m leaving.” That part was totally misconstrued, mishandled in every way. 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.

Related: Kelly Ripa On Michael Strahan's Exit: "People Should Be Treated Equally and With Dignity"