Ripa portrayed Hayley Vaughan on the ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children, between 1990 and 2002. She is the co-host of the syndicated morning talk show, Live! with Kelly and Ryan, in various formats since 2001. She also played Faith Fairfield on the ABC sitcom, Hope & Faith, from 2003 to 2006. Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, own a New York-based production company, Milojo. In 2014, The Hollywood Reporter named her one of the Most Powerful People in Media.
Kelly Maria Ripa was born and raised in Berlin, New Jersey, the daughter of Esther, a homemaker, and Joseph Ripa, a labor union president and bus driver. She has a sister, Linda, who is a children's book author. She is three-quarters Italian and one-quarter Irish ancestry. Ripa was raised Roman Catholic. Her father has been the Democratic County Clerk for Camden County, New Jersey, since June 2009. She is the first in her family to enter the acting profession. She has studied ballet since age three, plays the piano, and in her words is "no Barbra Streisand" but can carry a tune.
Ripa graduated from Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees Township, New Jersey. During her high school years she was a cheerleader and was encouraged by her drama teacher to pursue acting. "I owe so much of my career to Jim Boeckle," she said. "He thought I was a natural performer and so he gave me the lead in the next show." She starred in local theatre productions and was discovered while performing in The Ugly Duckling during her senior year. She attended Camden County College studying psychology, but dropped out and moved to New York City to pursue an acting career.