Kelly Ripa stood up for her co-host Ryan Seacrest Thursday by lauding his professionalism and saying she is looking forward to seeing him at the Oscars.
Her statements on their “Live with Kelly and Ryan” show came amid calls for Seacrest to step down from hosting E!’s red carpet coverage at the Oscars, following sexual misconduct claims against him by a former stylist.
“I cannot wait to see you there [at the Oscars],” Ripa told Seacrest on Thursday morning. “I am very excited.”
She continued, “And I just want you to know, you are a privilege to work with and I adore you. I know what a professional, great person you are, and I feel very, very blessed to work with you each and every day.”
Ripa’s statement clearly meant to publicly show she is standing by Seacrest, who has denied any wrongdoing and said the former stylist, Suzie Hardy, has tried to extort millions of dollars from him in exchange for not coming forward with her claims.
Ripa and Seacrest hugged after her comments.
Seacrest stated earlier this week, "This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions — I refused. I have worked extremely hard to achieve my success and I don’t take my opportunities for granted. I don’t want to accuse anyone of not telling the truth but in this case, I have no choice but to again deny the claims against me, remind people that I was recused of any wrongdoing, and put the matter to rest."
E!, which is owned by NBC, and ABC, which features Seacrest on “Live” and the upcoming “Idol” reboot, have also stood by the 43-year-old star.
Sexual harassment allegations were first levied against Seacrest last November. E!, where Seacrest was working at the time of the allegations, said it had investigated and found “insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest.”
Ripa’s statement on Thursday came after she made a quip on the day before about putting on Seacrest’s shoes for him, which some believed was a subtle dig at her co-host, as Hardy has claimed that Seacrest pushed her head in the direction of his crotch when she was tying his shoes, with the New York Post and AOL publishing stories soon after.
A source also told Fox News on Wednesday that Ripa is not happy over the way the network is handling the accusations against her co-host.
"Kelly is licking her chops at Ryan’s problems. He’s just another case of a co-host of hers treating it like a part-time job," an ABC insider said.
Clearly eager to put the headlines to rest, Ripa made her statements at the top of the show on Thursday and then proceeded to promote the show’s post-Oscars’ plans for Monday morning.
Both Ripa and Seacrest will be at the Oscars. Ripa revealed on Thursday she plans to attend in a dress with a large bow in the back and Seacrest steered clear of giving too many details about his plans for the night.
They then interviewed Jeff Daniels about his mini-series “The Looming Tower.”
Also during Thursday's show, the pair laughed over conversations about Ripa being approached by salespeople at home and about the her daughter catching her and husband Mark Consuelos having sex.
Winston Duke, of "Black Panther," was also a guest.