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Kelly Ripa Jokes Son Michael Consuelos Experiences "Extreme Poverty;" Internet Explodes With Backlash

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Kelly Ripa's Son? New Details On Michael Consuelos Experiencing Extreme Poverty

America has been hearing about Kelly Ripa's kids ever since she started on Live back in 2001 with Regis Philbin. We remember her talk about baby Michael and her maternity leaves for Lola and Joaquin. We've watched them grow up. Now she has top billing on the show and Michael is a college graduate. Lola started at NYU and Joaquin is old enough to drive. Where does the time go?

Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos are clearly bursting with pride over their three kids. Kelly was on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week talking about her son's life as a young adult trying to make his own way in the world. Somewhat surprisingly, the stories she told made it sound like Michael is truly paying his own bills now that he's out of school. Kelly cracked that he doesn't like being chronically poor and he's never experienced extreme poverty before. 

She's getting some blowback on the comments, of course. The phrase extreme poverty conjures a much more dire situation that a kid who doesn't know how to budget his paycheck from his first job. However, even if the words she chose were over the top, she confirms that Michael isn't getting financial help from her or Mark these days and he has to pay his own way. 

Who is Kelly Ripa's son? 

1. Broke in Brooklyn

Kimmel asked Kelly how her kids are doing and she talked with a lot of maternal pride about her son Michael's first months living on his own. “I think he loves the freedom. He hates paying his own rent and he’s chronically poor,” she said, describing what a lot of recent graduates experience when they first have to cover all their own expenses. She went on to say "I don’t think he ever really experienced extreme poverty like now.”


A post shared by Kelly Ripa (@kellyripa) on Jun 21, 2019 at 7:39am PDT

Mark Consuelos with sons Michael and Joaquin.

2. Clarification from Kelly

Some observers thought the phrase "extreme poverty" was over the top to describe a college kid with extremely rich parents, even if he is scraping to make the ConEd bill. But Ripa defended herself by saying that she and husband Mark Conseulos aren't footing the bill for their son's apartment and he's having to learn how to earn enough money to live. "Michael goes to college and is a senior and works full time," she wrote in reply to a comment on one of her Instagram posts. "He is in his first non-parent subsidized apt with roommates. I’m used to getting a lot of slack because people love to have fake outrage over something they didn’t see. They only read a headline and wag their tired fingers. I didn’t grow up privileged and neither did @instasuelos We work and we expect our kids to as well. And the fact that a pack of fools wants to bitch about that, I say let em."

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3. Looking for a windfall

On the show, Kelly copped to the level of comfort with money that al her kids have. Page Six notes that Kelly alone reportedly makes over $20 million per year just for her work on Live With Kelly and Ryan, not to mention what her husband brings home from Riverdale and any other projects they have. Despite that, Kelly's parents still do the classic grandparent thing and send each kid a card with a $20 bill for holidays — even Halloween. Kelly told Kimmel that the small gifts didn't impress the kids when they had their parents' bank accounts to rely on but now that he's making it on his own. Michael is learning the value of a dollar. He's been calling home to ask if his Halloween envelope has arrived and he's planning to take the subway to come grab it. He needs it to pay the utility bills. Kelly joked about his sudden appreciation for every buck but she didn't say she offered to spot him the money for bills until his gift comes in. It sounds like she's really expecting him to earn his living. 

4. High cost of living

Kelly says Michael is living in the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn. It's not the peak of trendy Brooklyn spots like Williamsburg or Park Slope but that doesn't mean it's cheap. The website TripSavvy estimates that average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood is about $2,100 per month. Utilities for a 900 square foot apartment in New York will run about $150 per month but groceries can cost $400 per month, per person. That transit pass Michael would need to use to take the subway to his parent's house is another $127 per month. Life in New York has a lot of costs. 

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5. Forcing the kids to grow up

Kelly and Mark seem to be really excited about the latest chapters of life for their kids and it encouraging their independence. It's taking some convincing, however.  She told Kimmel that each of her two older children wen to NYU, against her better judgment. She wanted them to go further from home. But she agreed on their school choice on the condition that they don't treat their parents' house as a crash pad all the time — they need to stay on campus. Neither child listened. Michael tried to come home for his first weekend of college. Daughter Lola threw a party in her parents' house on the actual first day they dropped her at school. 

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6. Working in television

Michael may be making his own way but he's doing it in familiar territory. Last year, he got his first big acting role playing a younger version of his father's Riverdale character. He did a guest post as young Hirman Lodge, much to the delight of his supportive parents. Now it appears that he is working in some type of film or television production work. Kelly posted a selfie of the two of them with the caption "When your son gives you a job....... #filmschool #tvshow #producer"


A post shared by Kelly Ripa (@kellyripa) on Oct 20, 2019 at 2:14pm PDT

Kelly and son Michael.

7. Internet Backlash

Not everyone thinks Kelly’s cute take on her son’s financial status is in good taste. The phrase “extreme poverty” rubbed some social media users the wrong way. One Twitter user suggested Ripa gain some perspective before using the phrase again, saying: "@KellyRipa "I hope by now you realize that joking about #extremepoverty is no joke. Your son is NOT living in extreme poverty. Why not volunteer at a shelter and meet some people who live in extreme poverty?”
Another Tweet referred to the comment, saying "Today's out-of-touch celebrity confusing teaching an adult child financial responsibility with "extreme poverty," the Kelly Ripa edition.”
Critics are probably correct to suggest that Michael’s standard of living isn’t on par with what true poverty looks like. The Federal poverty level for a single adult is an income of $12,490 or lower per year. While Michael may be struggling to pay New York's cost of living, his income probably exceeds that level by a good bit. And, unlike people enmeshed in systemic poverty, he knows he has a way out. A college education alone increases your earning potential dramatically.
Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.