Michael Strahan throws major shade at Kelly Ripa: I felt like a 'sidekick'

Michael Strahan is clearing the air about his rumored to be estranged relationship with Kelly Ripa -- and he's not holding anything back.

In a juicy new interview with the New York Times, Strahan alluded to his former gig on Live! with Kelly and Michael by saying that he's had jobs where he arrived and thought "Wow, I didn’t know I was supposed to be a sidekick. I thought I was coming here to be a partner."

When asked to clarify whether or not he was talking about Ripa and Live! he said "It was an experience" before elaborating on his departure:

" ... I remained the same person I was from day one. One thing I will not do is alter my attitude for somebody else’s. I learned so much from Kelly, so much from [producer] Michael Gelman. When it was time to go, it was time to go. Certain things that were going on behind the scenes just caught up."

Strahan worked as Ripa's co-host on the hit talk show from 2012 to early 2016, during which he won two Daytime Emmy Awards. 

The former NFL star announced he would be leaving the show on April 19, 2016 for a full-time gig at Good Morning America where he had been appearing as a regular contributor.

Ripa took an unexpected week off following Strahan's announcement which fueled rumors that she was less-than-thrilled about the decision, which was only verified by the monologue she gave the Live! audience upon her return:

"I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts; after 26 years with this company, I earned the right ... [Strahan's departure] started a much greater conversation about communication, and consideration, and most importantly respect in the workplace."

In January of last year, Strahan told Time that he hadn't"spoken to [Ripa] in a long time."

Strahan seemed to allude to the rough handling of his exit to the New York Times by simply saying "It could have been handled better."

He went on:

"People who should have handled it better have all apologized, but a lot of the damage had already been done. For me, it was like: Move on. Success is the best thing. Just keep on moving ... I tried to ... have a meeting every few weeks with [Ripa]. We met a few times, and that was fine. But then eventually she said she didn’t need to meet. Can’t force somebody to do something they don’t want to do."

Strahan officially left Live! on May 13, 2016.