Kathie Lee Gifford Recounts 1970s Incident When Bill Cosby "Tried to Kiss" Her

Kathie_Lee_Gifford_Today_Show_Still - H 2014
Courtesy of NBC

Kathie_Lee_Gifford_Today_Show_Still - H 2014

"Today" co-host talks about her experience as an opening act for the comedian in the '70s

Kathie Lee Gifford said Bill Cosby tried to kiss her when they were touring together in the 1970s. Gifford told her story to co-host Hoda Kotb during the Tuesday broadcast of NBC's Today.

Before Tuesday's show, the Today co-host had consistently defended Cosby in the wake of allegations that he sexually assaulted more than 20 women over a period spanning several decades. In telling her story, Gifford said Cosby was generous and kind and she doesn't want any of the claims against him to be true. 

"I will admit toward the end of the tour, the last time I saw him, he did try to kiss me," Gifford told Kotb.

"I said, 'No.' I said, 'Bill, we're friends.' "

"He goes, 'OK, good night," and I said, 'Good night.' And I went into my room and he went into his room."

Read more Bill Cosby's Daughter Defends Comedian: "He Is the Father You Thought You Knew"

"I'm not saying the women's allegations are not true," Gifford said. "I'm just saying I never personally saw it with my own two eyes."

She added that she got a "chill" hearing supermodel Beverly Johnson's claim that Cosby had drugged a cappuccino he served to Johnson, because Cosby would make cappuccinos for Gifford and her backup singers after every show. 

"Every night, when we'd come off stage and Bill would be going on stage, he would have made cappuccinos for all three of us," Gifford said, a gesture she thought was kind at the time, but the memory of it now gives her a chill.

But Gifford reserved judgment on her friend's behavior. "I want to be fair. I think we all should be fair and wait till more facts come out," she said.

Read more Woman Claims Bill Cosby Drugged Her, Licked Her Toes in 2008

Cosby has remained mostly silent about the allegations, though he commented in a New York Post interview over the weekend that the “black media” should remain “neutral” on the charges against him.

His attorney, Martin Singer, has denied the sexual assault claims and questioned the accusers' credibility.
Evin Cosby defended her father on Tuesday as "the father you thought you knew." The statement followed her mother's statement on Monday insisting that the comedian "is the man you thought you knew."

Watch an excerpt from Today, below.