Kelly Ripa turns 50 on Oct. 2, 2020. The soap opera star-turned-TV host (seen here at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1999) has enjoyed quite an eventful life filled with career highs and lows, personal successes, family joy and everything in between. To mark Kelly's milestone birthday, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at her life and career in photos. Keep reading for Kelly's photo flashback…
Kelly Ripa was born on Oct. 2, 1970, to a middle class family in Berlin, New Jersey, and studied ballet and piano as a child. She was a cheerleader in high school and became interested in acting after her drama teacher encouraged her. "I owe so much of my career to Jim Boeckle," she told KHON2 News. "He thought I was a natural performer and so he gave me the lead in the next show." Kelly — seen here at age 20 — studied psychology at Camden County College after high school but dropped out to chase her acting dreams in New York City…
Kelly Ripa's big break came in 1990 when she was cast as Hayley Vaughan, a troubled party girl, on the long-running ABC soap opera "All My Children." Her character — seen here in 1991 — became an instant fan favorite. "The training ground that 'All My Children' provided me was second to none," Kelly later told Variety.
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Kelly Ripa was just 22 but looked far older when she got all glammed up for the Ninth Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards in February 1993.
Kelly Ripa has more than one reason to love "All My Children." The talk show host met her future husband, actor Mark Consuelos, on the soap's set after he was cast as Hayley's love interest, Mateo Santos. The two immediately hit it off and began dating in 1995.
In May 1996, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos eloped in Las Vegas. Their whirlwind wedding came right after they (briefly) split. "We broke up and we got back together the day before we went off and eloped," Kelly said during the debut episode of Betches' "Comments by Celebs" podcast. "Yeah, we eloped. We went to Vegas and got married… He popped the question the day before we got married." The newlyweds are pictured here at a charity event the year after they tied the knot.
Kelly Ripa also began expanding her professional resume in 1996. As she continued to star on "All My Children" — she's seen here at the 12th Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards that year — the talented blonde beauty also appeared in the film "Marvin's Room," which starred Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and Leonardo DiCaprio, as Coral, a character on a soap opera.
By late 1996, Kelly Ripa was expecting her first little one with husband Mark Consuelos. Son Michael Joseph Consuelos was born on June 2, 1997. Kelly's seen here that February when she was about six months pregnant.
Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos attended the 26th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on May 25, 1998. This marked Kelly's eighth year acting on ABC's "All My Children."
At the 16th Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards in 2000, Kelly Ripa took home the award for outstanding younger lead actress for her performance as Hayley Vaughan on ABC's "All My Children." Her hubby, Mark Consuelos, also took home the award for outstanding younger lead actor that same year!
Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and son Michael are pictured here at the 2001 Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation celebrity carnival in New York City. At the time, Kelly was pregnant with her and Mark's second child…
Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos' first and only daughter, Lola Grace Consuelos, was born on June 16, 2001. The actress and her adorable kiddos are pictured here at a Disney Channel event in 2002.
Kelly Ripa became an overnight A-lister in February 2001 when she replaced Kathie Lee Gifford on the daytime talk show that was renamed "Live! With Regis and Kelly." "There was one guest we'd had on with us a few years before who had [a certain sparkle]," Regis said of Kelly in his autobiography, "How I Got This Way." "Hers was a natural, quick-witted, unaffected, confident, fun-loving kind of sparkle that both [executive producer Michael] Gelman and I remembered very well. We decided to invite her back, this time to consider her as a possible co-host. So that was when this smiling, petite ball of fire named Kelly Ripa made her return to 'Live!' for a test run at the rotating, up-for-grabs hot seat to my left. And my God, who knew what spontaneous combustion we'd make together?" After Kelly joined the show, its demographics with respect to young viewers increased by 80%.
In 2002, Kelly Ripa — seen here with actor David Canary, who played her on-screen father, Adam Chandler — said goodbye to "All My Children." Her character, Hayley, was written off after Kelly scored the co-hosting gig on "Live! With Regis and Kelly." All in all, Kelly spent 12 years on the ABC soap opera and returned for two special 40th anniversary episodes in 2010.
A family of five! On Feb. 24, 2003, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos welcomed their third child, son Joaquin Antonio Consuelos. The family are pictured here at the opening night of "A Year With Frog and Toad" in New York City with their then-7-week-old baby boy.
A vision! Kelly Ripa is seen on stage during the 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in New York City in May 2003.
Kelly Ripa also returned to acting in 2003. That September, she made her debut as Faith, an unemployed ex-soap star, on the ABC sitcom "Hope & Faith." The half-hour comedy, which also starred Faith Ford, Megan Fox and Ted McGinley, gave ABC its best Friday premiere ratings since 1996.
Meanwhile, "Live! With Regis and Kelly" continued to flourish. The chemistry between Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, along with their stellar interviews and friendly banter, attracted an average of 6 million viewers a day. While working together, the stars — seen here interviewing Senator John Kerry in September 2004 — racked up nine Daytime Emmy Award nominations for outstanding talk show host and took the trophy home twice (in 2011 and 2012).
In 2006, Kelly Ripa (seen here with co-star Macey Cruthird) said goodbye to "Hope & Faith" after three seasons. She later said that she "never wanted to work that hard again."
In the late 2000s, Kelly Ripa — seen here visiting the "Late Show with David Letterman" studios in April 2008 — explored some new business ventures. In 2007, she and husband Mark Consuelos founded their own production company, Milojo, named after their children (Michael, Lola and Joaquin). Their first production under the Milojo umbrella, the documentary "The Streak," was nominated for an Emmy. One year later, Kelly launched her own fitness activewear line, The Kelly Ripa Collection, in collaboration with Rykä.
All good things must come to an end. In January 2011, Regis Philbin announced that he would be retiring from "Live!" at the end of the year. He and Kelly Ripa shared an amazing last season together — they finally took home an Emmy for their hard work — and shed tears during his goodbye-show taping that November (seen here). Kelly went on to lead the program "Live! With Kelly" with various guest co-hosts for a year.
In 2012, former NFL star Michael Strahan was announced as Kelly Ripa's permanent co-host and the show was renamed "Live! With Kelly and Michael." The pair were an immediate hit. The show became the No. 2 talk show in the country and brought in 268,000 more audience members daily, on average, than "Live! With Regis and Kelly."
Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa dressed up as characters from "Game of Thrones" — one of several costumes they tried that year — for the "Live With Kelly & Michael" Halloween show in New York City in October 2014.
Kelly Ripa also continued to maintain a very happy family life. She and her husband, Mark Consuelos, are pictured here with their children — Joaquin, Lola and Michael — at the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards in New York City.
The success of "Live! with Kelly and Michael" came to abrupt end when Michael Strahan — seen here with Kelly Ripa at her Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony in October 2015 — announced in the spring of 2016 that he was leaving their show for a new hosting gig at "Good Morning America." Kelly wasn't present when Michael shared the news live on the air or for any of the other episodes that followed that week, leading to speculation that she was furious with ABC executives and Michael for blindsiding her with the news. An ABC spokesperson said at the time that Kelly had "a previously scheduled vacation." She diplomatically addressed her absence when she returned to "Live!" a week later: "I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts. After 26 years with this company, I earned the right. In that time, I gained some perspective… What transpired over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication, consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace. Apologies have been made and the best thing to come out of all of this is that our parent company has assured me that 'Live!' is a priority. There is a commitment to this show and the people that work here and, most importantly, to you, the viewers, who have watched us every day for 30 years. I am thrilled for Michael… This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn't be prouder of you and everything we have accomplished together." Kelly went on to host "Live! with Kelly" with guest co-hosts for a year.
Kelly Ripa did have one very big reason to celebrate in 2016, however. The talk show host and her hubby, "Riverdale" actor Mark Consuelos, marked 20 years of marriage that May (they're seen here two months earlier at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party). Kelly opened up about their love-at-first-sight romance in 2018. "I saw my husband in a photograph before I saw him. I knew when I saw his photograph," she said on the "Radio Andy" podcast. "At that point, I was not a hopeless romantic. I never thought about getting married, it never occurred to me that I would grow old with someone. When I saw him, the photograph of him, I saw my entire future with him flash before [my eyes]. And I don't believe in any of that, and now I do because of that moment." As far as marriage advice, Kelly had this to say: "Sometimes we'll put the kids to bed early and watch 'Jersey Shore' on DVR. It can be that simple, just the two of us, alone, one day a week, for dinner and hijinks… a little bump and tickle," she told Good Housekeeping. "I think about my husband in the middle of the day because I love him and I can't wait to see him. He is my best friend. Nobody knows me the way he knows me." Mark similarly told Us Weekly, "I'm crazy about her. Because she has to go to work early, I get up with her, I make her a cup of coffee and we talk." Awww!
In 2017, Ryan Seacrest officially joined Kelly Ripa on "Live With Kelly and Ryan." The "American Idol" host also signed on as an executive producer and the show implemented a new logo, modifications to the studio and a brand new show opener. "Ryan is a quintessential broadcaster and at the top of his game. I am thrilled to start my mornings with him every day, and we are so fortunate at 'Live' to have him join the family," Kelly said in a statement. "Ryan is a close friend, and his star shines as brightly off camera as it does on. His tremendous success is only matched by his impeccable reputation. Plainly said, everyone loves him, and so will our daily viewers."
Kelly Ripa was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2017. She and dad Joe Ripa are seen on stage at the Asbury Park Convention Center in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 7 that year as the talk show host accepted a performing arts award at the ceremony.
Could they be any cuter? Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos are seen here at the 91st Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood on Feb. 24, 2019.
Kelly Ripa appeared at a "Riverdale" special presentation and Q&A during Comic-Con International 2018 and seven months later popped up on the hit CW show on which husband Mark Consuelos was a series regular. She played Ms. Mulwray — the mistress of Mark's character, Hiram Lodge — on an episode titled "Chapter Forty-Six: The Red Dahlia." Kelly quipped on Twitter, "23 years of auditioning for a role I was born to play."
Kelly Ripa won another Daytime Emmy for outstanding entertainment talk show host, along with co-host Ryan Seacrest, at the 2019 award show in May. (She took home the same prize for her work with previous co-host Michael Strahan in 2015 and 2016.) Kelly, who didn't make it to the ceremony, is seen here at the Trevor Project's TrevorLIVE Gala a month later.
Two months after sending middle child Lola Consuelos off to college, Kelly Ripa returned to acting on the Oct. 4, 2019, episode of ABC's "American Housewife." Kelly did voice overs on the show in 2018, playing the elusive boss of star Katy Mixon's character, Katie. On the season that kicked off in 2019, Kelly appeared in the flesh as Whitney, who turns Katie's world upside down when she pops into town and promotes Katie to vice president of events.
A gorgeous duo! Kelly Ripa brought daughter Lola Consuelos — a student at New York University — to the 13th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute event in New York City in December 2019. Kelly along with journalist Anderson Cooper hosted the "CNN Heroes" television special from 2016 to 2019.
Kelly Ripa wore a voluminous Christian Siriano ballgown and cuddled up to husband Mark Consuelos cuddled up at the 2020 Academy Awards in Hollywood that February.
"Live! with Kelly and Ryan" co-hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest are seen here during a "Live at the Paley Center: An Evening with Kelly and Ryan" program in New York City in March 2020. During the event, Kelly and Ryan spoke about their favorite moments from their show thus far.
In August 2020, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and their three children — Michael, Lola and Joaquin — appeared on the cover of People magazine's first-ever Family Issue. Kelly said of parenting, "As you get older and you learn more, that youngest kid hopefully benefits from a little bit more wisdom … and hopefully fewer nerves." She went on to discuss how it's been raising a girl versus three boys. "I think I had definitive ideas about raising girls versus raising boys, even though I don't really believe in gender stereotyping," she said. "My sons are just as sensitive as my daughter, and my daughter is as strong as my sons." The whole family is pictured here during Thanksgiving 2019.