During the Sept. 7 episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan, the morning show star revealed they recently dropped their youngest child, 18-year-old Joaquin Consuelos, off at college.
"It was hard," Kelly admitted. "It was really hard."
While detailing the big moment, Kelly took a trip down memory lane and shared a sweet story from her kids' childhood.
In addition to Joaquin, Kelly and Mark are parents to 20-year-old Lola Consuelos and 24-year-old Michael Consuelos. When the kids were little, Kelly used to give her children a kiss goodnight, exit the room and then return saying, "One more! One more!"
"They would squeal and scream," she recalled, "and it was always exciting."
But when the kids got older, they were less enthused about this nighttime ritual. "And then they got to be, like, 15, 16," Kelly continued, "[and] they're like, 'It's weird!'"
Fast-forward to Kelly's 50th birthday this past October and Lola suggested they all sleep in the host's room so they could be there the moment she woke up and turned the big 5-0.
"I was like, 'Sure if you want to see that, that's on you,'" Kelly replied. "'Enter at your own risk.'"
For old times' sake, Kelly was asked to once again kiss them goodnight, leave the room and then come in for one more snuggle.
"They loved it," she shared. "And then I started doing it again…Whenever they were home, I would do it."
Kelly said she carried on the tradition until Joaquin left for college. So when she and Mark dropped him off at the University of Michigan, she couldn't resist asking for one more hug.
"We dropped him off at school, and we gave him a hug. It was actually brutally painful. Anyway, I gave him a hug, and I said, 'I did not realize that 18 years would go so fast.' And he didn't say anything. He was just giving me a hug. He turned to walk away, and I said, 'Wait, Joaquin, one more. And he kept walking," she said while appearing to tear up. "I knew that…it was happening to him, too. The emotion."
Joaquin's brother Michael graduated from New York University in 2020, and his sister Lola is currently a student there. "It's funny," Kelly continued. "It seemed like it would be forever from the time Michael left to Joaquin leaving."
Kelly admitted she's still figuring out the balance of checking in on Joaquin and giving him his space. "Probably he's going to file a restraining order after this airs," she joked.
Although, she and Mark are enjoying this alone time. While she said the first 48 hours consisted of sitting in silence and dealing with "awkward resentments"—like loud breathing and accusations of "aggressively" turning off the light switch—they soon found their rhythm.
During the episode, Kelly said she and the 50-year-old Riverdale actor went to the beach a few days after Joaquin left. They brought along some nice cheese and a baguette and watched a few parents chase their toddlers around and carry all the gear for a family day at the beach. As Kelly and Mark watched the parents in peace with their cheese in hand, one word came to their minds: "Suckers!"
Watch the video to hear her tell the story.