Days after the passing of the iconic television host Regis Philbin, who died last Saturday at the age of 88, his former cohost Kelly Ripa is speaking out to reveal the unforgettable life lesson he taught her.

Ripa and Philbin hosted “Live! With Kelly and Regis” from 2001-2011, and in a special for ABC that aired last night, she opened up about working with the legendary host.

“I think my biggest takeaway from the 11 years that I shared with him was that you have to be yourself,” Ripa said. “You cannot be one person on camera and a different person once the light goes off or the audience is gone.”

“You have to be who you are,” she added.

Ripa went on to say that Philbin’s “talent was being himself completely and making everybody else the star of the show.”

“I think his love of people will also be his legacy,” she said.

Ripa also revealed what she was thinking when she heard the news that Philbin had passed away.

“It was this moment — and my daughter sort of crystallized it for me — Lola said: ‘That’s gotta be a mistake. That can’t be right,'” she recalled. “And there was a moment where I had this incredible hope that it was somehow misreported.”

Ripa’s children shared a close bond with Philbin as well, and he even once babysat for them. This was captured on camera in various clips that left Ripa feeling “particularly emotional.”

“There’s a moment where Regis is brushing Lola’s teeth and she’s staring at him, and he says to her: ‘You’re a genteel little [woman],'” she remembered. “Just the way he spoke to her in this very sweet way.”

Ripa had previously become emotional as she paid tribute to Philbin on her talk show on Monday.

“As people get older, you always know that certain things are inevitable, and passing away is one of those things, but Regis is one of the people that we all believed, I think, would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable,” a visibly emotional Ripa said. “It was not in the cards.”

Ripa’s cohost Ryan Seacrest agreed with her, saying that he always looked up to Philbin when he was growing up.

“I remember watching him as a child growing up, and I was so excited to see him on TV because I feel like I knew him,” Seacrest said. “I remember when I got the chance to work with you [Ripa] and Regis the first time on that parade. I thought, ‘I made it.’”

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