The mother of three opened up about a difficult postpartum moment when she had to return to set less than 2 weeks after giving birth to her son Michael in 1997
On Wednesday’s episode of her podcast, Let’s Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa, the Live with Kelly and Mark host, 53, opened up to guest Hilarie Burton Morgan about a particularly unpleasant experience she had on set of All My Children, the soap that launched her career in 1990 — and led her to her husband, Mark Consuelos.
“I think all women who have given birth will tell you that they are on an island,” she recalled of her first postpartum experience. “I don’t care what the support system is like — my in-laws moved in with us and I felt like I was on an island because I didn't recognize my body.”
Ripa then revealed that she “had to go back to work” on All My Children just “nine days after giving birth.”
“No!” Burton replied as she called the quick turnaround “brutal.”
“It was brutal,” Ripa agreed, before adding an even more devastating detail. “And then the wardrobe people were like, ‘I thought you’d be smaller by now.’ I was like, ‘Well I’m not gonna be smaller any time soon. I don’t know much, but here’s what I do know. This looks like it’ll be here for a while. I’m not in any rush, so.’ ”
Ripa previously spoke about the difficulties of managing her pregnancy with her work on All My Children. Since Hayley wasn't going to have a baby, the show went to ridiculous lengths to hide the 60 lbs. she eventually gained. "Initially, I would carry luggage with me everywhere," Ripa previously told PEOPLE. "Then I started to carry guitar cases. Then I carried trees. Trees!"
While Ripa’s postpartum experience wasn’t all pleasant on the soap opera, she still credits the series for launching her career — something that even shocks her, considering she nearly wasn't cast in the role in the first place.
“I got like, six callbacks and two screen tests, 'cause they were really sure they wanted me," she recalled to Entertainment Weekly in 2020. "And I wound up getting the job. But it was really — I mean, talk about happy accidents. It really was a happy accident. It changed my life. It changed my entire life — not just my acting life, but changed the whole trajectory of my life.”
Eventually, Ripa transitioned from acting to being a morning show host, as she joined Live with Regis in 2001 and has remained the show’s host ever since. Consuelos, 53, joined her as a co-host in April.
He recalled a similar experience being cast as Mateo Santos early in his career. "What drew me to the role was that I had never worked as an actor before, so that was very exciting, to get a job," he told EW. "It was one of my first auditions. Similarly, I had to re-screen test a few times as well."
His now-wife was rooting for him, though. "You know, Mark was working the whole time and so we bonded with him as a cast," she said. "So imagine, suddenly, they kept saying, 'Well, there's got to be a better actor out there.' And we're like, 'No, he's our friend now! We love him.'"
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For a 2022 cover story, Ripa admitted that she and Consuelos were “too young to get married” when they wed at 25.
“On paper it should not have worked and when it didn't work, we really worked at it. We fought for our marriage when it would have been easier to quit and throw in the towel,” she told PEOPLE. “Listen, my parents have been married for 61 years and Mark's parents have been married for 55 years. We didn't know any other way.”
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