A day after PEOPLE exclusively confirmed that Kelly Ripa would be returning to Live! With Kelly and Michael! after a nearly weeklong absence, a source says Michael Strahan is excited to have her back on the show.
Strahan is “looking forward to having Kelly Ripa back on Live! He never wanted any of this to happen,” the source tells PEOPLE. “He got why she was mad but it was out of his control. He spent the last few days reaching out because he wanted her to come back.”
The source adds: “He was prepared to go on by himself if he had to, but he is relieved that it all worked out.”
Ripa took a break from co-hosting the popular morning show after reportedly feeling “completely blindsided” by Strahan’s announcement this week that he would be leaving the daytime show to take on a full-time gig at Good Morning America.
Ripa, 45, has been absent from the Live! stage since Wednesday, when a source told PEOPLE she was “refusing to come back.” On Wednesday’s show, despite her absence, Strahan, 44, gave Ripa a shout-out and thanked her for showing him the morning show ropes.
“I really want to thank, of course, Kelly Ripa,” he said. “Kelly welcomed me here, and I’ve learned so much from her. She’s just been an amazing influence on me and this has truly changed my life to be here with her.”
Strahan, who has been calling and texting Ripa since her departure, a source previously told PEOPLE.
On Friday, PEOPLE learned that Ripa had sent an email to her staff saying she would return to the series on Tuesday.
“I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information,” she wrote. “Your kindness, support and love has overwhelmed me. We are a family and I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday morning.”