Steve Wilkos will hold his most recent memory of late friend and mentor Jerry Springer close to his heart.
The “Steve Wilkos Show” host spoke exclusively with Access Hollywood following the death of the talk show icon on Thursday and reflected on the last time they’d seen each other and why the conversation has so much more meaning to him now.
“I saw Jerry a little over a month ago. It was a Wednesday, I got done taping and he sent me a text he goes, ‘Hey, I was in New York I’m coming up I’d love to see ya,’” Wilkos recalled.
The TV personality went on to remember how he felt tired that day but made sure to make plans with Jerry because they hadn’t seen each other in a while. Wilkos said the gathering ended up having more emotional weight than their usual meetups but he had no idea at the time that it would ultimately be their final time together.
“Looking back, I really didn’t think anything unusual was happening. But whenever I would see Jerry we would talk and catch up on things. We weren’t two guys who sit around and talk about the glory days and rehashing old times and all that. Once in a while, but for the most part he would tell me about his grandson and what was going on in his life and I would be catching him up on my kids and we’d be talking baseball. We weren’t two guys who sat and looked in the past a lot. But that night, we did,” Wilkos told Access.
“We reflected a lot and we shared a lot of old stories and he embraced me in a way that he’d never really embraced me. He gave me a hug and was telling me he loved me. I think he knew he was sick. I didn’t even know he was sick until this morning because he looked the same to me,” Wilkos continued. “I knew there was something off, but I certainly didn’t know he had a terminal illness, or whatever he had. I think this was his way of saying goodbye to me.”