Kelly Ripa says "All My Children" "gave me my life" and is already mourning its loss, following the announcement that the ABC soap opera that helped launch her career as a talk show host and sitcom actress, will go off the air later this year.
The show is set to broadcast its last episode in September 2011 and another soap opera, "One Live To Live," will broadcast its series finale in January 2012, Disney/ABC Television group, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com, announced on Thursday, April 14.
"That show gave me my life," Ripa, 40, told WABC Television, the sister station of KABC Television, OnTheRedcarpet.com's parent company, about "All My Children." "It gave me everything. It was the best training ground."
Ripa played Hayley Vaughan on "All My Children" between 1990 and 2001. She then went on to star in the ABC comedy series "Hope & Faith," which also launched the career of Megan Fox, and was later confirmed as Regis Philbin's new co-host on "LIVE! with Regis & Kelly."
Ripa said she began acting on "All My Children" when she was 19. On the set, she met her first adult friends, including Mark Consuelos, who played her on-screen love interest Mateo. The two married in 1996 and are parents to sons Michael, 13, and Joaquin, 8 and daughter Lola, 9.
"You feel like you've lost a member of your family," Ripa said, regarding the end of "All My Children." It was my family for many, many years. We did everything together."
"I'm going through all of the motions and I'm thinking, I should've hugged everybody more," she added. "All the fun we had, trying to hide our scripts because we could never learn our lines in enough time. I just have fond memories there."
Both "All My Children" and "One Life To Live" have been on the air for more than 40 years. Ratings have fallen for many soap operas on different networks in recent years amid a changing society, which sees more women in the workplace during the day, and the rising popularity of reality, game and talk shows.
"The show's longevitiy speaks for itself and nothing can take that away," Ripa said.
Check out Kelly Ripa's video interview with WABC Television below.