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Kelly Defends Ryan On-Air Amid Ongoing Sexual Harassment Claims

Mar. 1 2018, Updated 5:33 p.m. ET

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After days of silence and an awkward on-air dig, Kelly Ripa finally broached the topic of her co-host Ryan Seacrest’s ongoing sexual harassment battle with his former stylist.

“I just want you to know you are a privilege to work with, and I adore you, and I am speaking on behalf of all of us here,” Ripa told Seacrest on the Mar. 1 episode of Live! with Kelly and Ryan.

I know what an easy, professional, great person you are and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day,” she said, adding, “You are happiness.”

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Seacrest, 43, then told his co-host, “You are happiness wrapped in chocolate.”

As Radar reported, the exchange comes on the heels of Ripa, 47, seemingly alluding to stylist Suzy Hardy’s allegations that Seacrest pushed her head into his crotch while she was helping him tie his shoes.

Ripa had removed her footwear on Feb. 28 for a Live! segment and Seacrest followed suit. But when he couldn’t get his shoes back on, Ripa offered to help.

“Sweetie, do you want me to put your shoes back on for you?” Ripa asked Seacrest, who grew visibly uncomfortable.

Seacrest, 43, has denied claims he sexually harassed his former stylist.

“This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions — I refused,” Seacrest said in a statement.

“I have worked extremely hard to achieve my success and I don’t take my opportunities for granted. I don’t want to accuse anyone of not telling the truth but in this case, I have no choice but to again deny the claims against me, remind people that I was recused of any wrongdoing, and put the matter to rest.”

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