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VetFamily: Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa

Star talk show host Kelly Ripa started the 22nd season of her morning program “Live with Kelly and Mark” in September with her husband, Mark Consuelos. Besides being a likable personality with a successful  television career, Ripa is a member of our military community. Both her father and father-in-law served in the military.

Her dad, Joe Ripa, was an Army Specialist who served in Germany in 1958. He graduated from Camden High School and later attended Rutgers University. After military service, Joe began a career in public transportation as a bus driver, got involved in several union organizations and later became a member of the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority. Since 2009, he’s been the County Clerk of Camden, after holding many other positions, including Vice President of Central Labor and Freeholder. He and his spouse Esther celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year. 

The Ripas raised Kelly and her sister Linda in New Jersey. Born in 1970, Kelly grew up acting in local theater productions before moving to New York City to further pursue her career. In 1990, she landed a role on the soap opera “All My Children.” That role, which she held for 12 years, garnered her three Daytime Emmy Awards nominations. And it is where she met her husband Mark, in 1995. They eloped a year later.

Mark’s father, Saul Consuelos, served in the Navy.

"These two young men served in the Army and Navy and grew up to be husbands, fathers, grandfathers and American patriots. Thank you Joe Ripa and Saul Consuelos for your service," Kelly Ripa said in a heartfelt Instagram post on Veterans Day last year.

Capt. Mark Genung

Capt. Mark Genung, chief of staff at Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2, presents Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa with command coins during a taping of the Regis & Kelly Show at the Manhattan studio for Fleet Week 2010. (Photo credit: US Navy)

Mark has been co-hosting “Live with Kelly and Mark” since April, but previously Kelly hosted next to Ryan Seacrest and Michael Strahan. She initially booked the coveted co-host spot when the late Regis Philbin selected her to replace Kathie Lee Gifford in 2000.

Importantly, this “Live” show included regular hosts all touched by military service.  Founding host Regis Philbin was a U.S. Navy Veteran. Philbin’s original co-host, Kathy Lee Gifford, is the daughter of a  U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer. And Ripa’s most recent co-hosts, Michael Strahan and Ryan Seacrest are both sons of U.S. Army Veterans.

Over more than two decades, Kelly has received numerous Emmy and People’s Choice nominations, and in 2015 was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in She won her 6th Daytime Emmy in 2019.

In 2017, she was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame as her veteran father stood alongside her for the ceremony.

She has hosted several special events and shows, including the “TV Land Awards” and “Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade.” She appeared as herself in several sitcoms like “30 Rock” and “Ugly Betty,” and has been hosting the game show Generation Gap, since 2022. And her dad has also made several popular appearances on the program. 

"I will say, I don't follow ratings — I never have. … But there seems to be this boost when Joe Ripa comes on,” Kelly shared during a July 2022 episode of Live. “People like, run to the TV.”

Kelly is the mother of three: Michael, Lola, and Joaquin. Her memoir "Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories,” was published last year. On Veterans Day, she wrote on Instagram, “Thanks to everyone past, and present who served to keep our country safe.”

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