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10 Quick Questions for Mark Consuelos

‘Live With Kelly and Mark’ kicks off new season

spinner image mark consuelos standing in all black with hands in pockets; blue background
Photo Collage: MOA Staff; (Source: Miller Mobley)

Actor Mark Consuelos, 52, recently joined wife Kelly Ripa as the new cohost of ABC's Live With Kelly and Mark, replacing Ryan Seacrest. Before the long-running morning talk show started its latest season on Sept. 5, Consuelos shared his memories of working on All My Children, why he loves being a New Yorker, and how he and Kelly are handling empty-nesting.

How is it different being a permanent cohost rather than filling in from time to time?

When I would just fill in, there were no stakes. Sometimes, I'd fill in last minute. I was a hero, so to speak. They were always happy to have me. It was fun, and I would go in and come out and leave [and be thinking], What's the big deal? This is not a big deal. Now it’s definitely different. I have a different appreciation for all those Monday nights where I asked my wife to go have dinner with friends at 9:30 p.m. downtown and she would say, “I have to work tomorrow.” … Now, I've essentially apologized. When you do it every single day — sometimes doing multiple shows a day — and your job is to be “on,” and you have to be ready to go, getting to bed early is probably a good idea.

Do you have a dream guest you’d love to have come on the show?

Every day it changes. Right now, I'm such a sports guy, I'd love to interview [soccer player] Lionel Messi — he just came over from Barcelona to play in the United States. I thought that was such a courageous and such a shrewd and amazing decision. I think it's gonna change American soccer.

spinner image kelly ripa and mark consuelos sitting at desk turned towards each other; mugs that say live kelly and mark are in front of them
Consuelos officially became Kelly Ripa’s cohost after Ryan Seacrest left “Live With Kelly and Ryan” earlier this year.
Courtesy ABC

Do you and Kelly agree to topics that are “off limits” to talk about on the show?

There are definitely things we're not going to talk about, but we're pretty open. It's probably what you would gauge to share at a dinner party or at a lunch with a bunch of people, and you've been married a long time, without even talking to your wife. You just know you don't talk about certain stuff. … We've had 27 years of marriage, plus we're 52 now, so we've seen and done a few things. I think we're pretty relatable when it comes to being married and having a point of view on life, kids, whatever the topic of the day is, even the weather.

What’s the secret to 27 years of marriage?

There really is no secret. I am absolutely crazy about my wife. She is probably really patient. … I love that we built a life together. I love that we have chapters. Chapters upon chapters — of some happy, some scary, some sad — of a life together that, at the end, we'll look back on and just cherish regardless of what we were going through. This being one of them. If I were to give you one little secret: We love to dream together, and it started when we were 23, 24 years old, when we met. We'd take a walk and we'd plan the most outrageous plans for our life together. … Not materialistic stuff — just life experiences. As long as you can still dream with the person after 25 years … I haven't stopped dreaming.

At 52, are you focusing more on your physical and mental health and making changes to diet or exercise to stay in shape?

All of it. All of that stuff. When you're in your 20s, life is very forgiving to you when you miss a workout or you eat this [or] drink. We had our kids young. I want to be in the best shape for the grandkids. I want to remain active. I think it's a lifestyle for us. We love — even on vacation right now — we'll just take a walk, even if we're not doing anything specific in the gym or whatever … just a long, long walk. And we're pretty careful about what we eat. We read a lot about what people are doing to stay healthier longer because time waits for no one. I think we're very conscious, and it's pretty much a lifestyle for us.

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Do you look back on your soap opera actor days fondly?

How can I not? I still remember walking down 66th Street and West End [Avenue] to meet the people at All My Children. And they had the woodshop where they could make the sets, and I could smell the cedar and the pine. I can still sense the memory of that [and recall thinking], Wow, this is like real New York. And they're making sets.

How did you land that role?

It was really Judy Blye Wilson, the casting director. She found me in Tampa, Florida, from a photo from an agent that I had down there when there were still small productions happening in Florida. She found me there, and she flew me up to New York for one of my first auditions, and I essentially never left New York.

What's the best thing about living in New York?

Sometimes it's leaving. Sometimes it's getting out of New York City and then coming back. And then when you've gone somewhere, and you land, and you're driving toward the city, and you see that skyline, and it's so majestic, and [you think], Wow, this is one of the best places in the world to live by far. We've been blessed by not having to move our kids around. As an actor, I've worked pretty much everywhere, and Kelly — with Live — we were anchored and rooted in New York, and that gave the kids such stability. We live near the park. I love Central Park so much. It's magical. What I love about New York is that when you have to think about something, you can essentially just leave your apartment and take a lap in the neighborhood — just get out and walk it out. … I'm so happy that we're New Yorkers.

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How have you handled empty-nesting? [Consuelos and Ripa have three children: Michael, 26; Lola, 22; and Joaquin, 20.]

When our youngest went off to school up in Michigan a couple years ago — he's going to be a junior now, which is insane — that was hard, because the older two went to NYU. And essentially, they were both home the first day we dropped them off. They came back home to grab something, and I would see them daily, biweekly, bimonthly. I knew they were just right there. [So at first] I would just be overcome with fear. It was a scary fear, and sadness, [thinking] I can't believe it's over. Our kids are out of the house. And Kelly was, like, “What's wrong?” I [said], “I can't believe I feel this way. I'm really freaked out.” And she was, like, “Are you crazy? This is gonna be awesome. We're empty nesters.” And I soon got over it. Definitely over it now.

Anything on your bucket list?

Professionally, I'm doing it, which is great. If I were to add to it … doing a play in New York City. Off-Broadway, Broadway, I really don't care. To get back on the stage — I would absolutely love to be able to do that. And obviously do the morning show. I can't think of a more New York experience as an actor than that. Lifewise, I know it sounds a little cliché, [but] I'm so grateful for even today, being with my family. We're on vacation, and we have friends coming. … I make a point of stopping and smelling the roses on a daily basis. I've been blessed beyond belief.

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