Kit Hoover On Hosting Access Daily And Her Road Rules Past - Exclusive Interview

If you happen to be someone who can never get enough of the latest and greatest celebrity gossip, you're probably familiar with Kit Hoover. For the last 11 years on the show, she has interviewed nearly every A-list celebrity on "Access Hollywood" and "Access Daily," and her time with them still doesn't end when the cameras stop rolling. She's received parenting advice from the likes of Maria Shriver and has even swapped recipes with Julia Roberts. 

While Hoover likes to share many of her celeb stories on air and online, we had the opportunity to sit down with Hoover herself to find out what her life is really like behind the scenes and all about her journey getting there. In an exclusive interview with The List, the host looked back on how she "botched" her first audition for "Access Hollywood," revealed what it's really like working with her co-hosts, and opened up about the one actor who left her both starstruck and speechless.

Kit Hoover surprisingly never aspired to be on television

You have had such a successful television career, and it's been pretty diverse, too. You started in reality TV, you did sportscasting, and now you're in entertainment news. Have you always wanted to be on television since you were a kid?

No. You know what's interesting? The goal for me was never about TV or fame or anything like that. I just always knew I wanted to do something creative. Back when I did the first "Road Rules" — Let's see. I'm 51 years old. I did that when I was 24. What is that? 26 years ago? I had no idea what I was getting into, and I thought they hired me because I was an athlete. I ran in college and I love sports, so I thought it was, like, an extreme sports thing. But I didn't get, because I wasn't an actress, what it was. So on a whim, I just joined the Winnebago.

And then, after that, I was like, "Wow, if I could parlay this into TV — I really enjoyed being in front of the camera, being myself, being natural. If there was ever something that I could do that, that would be interesting to me." I sort of took off from there.

But what's funny is, those shows end, and I think it's still today, and when they're over, they're sort of like, "See you later." I remember meeting with MTV and they said, "Kit, you'd be great in sales." You know what I mean? And I'd already come from sales. I sold copiers for Kodak right out of college, so I was like, "Okay, I've already done that." So it's funny that it's not like — I think people think everything just opens up to you. You have to hustle and keep grinding and really go for it.

You were a stay-at-home mom before "Access," right?

Oh, yeah. The joke there, which is really not a joke, but I had worked. I did MTV. I did this show "Real Simple." I hosted a show for ESPN. Then, I had this moment in my life where I'm eight months pregnant with my third child, my house burned down. We lost everything we own, and, literally, I was probably 40-something by then. The phone was not ringing with the jobs coming in. The joke is that I told my agents to hold all calls. I was going to take a beat, but nobody was calling. There [were] no calls to hold. [Laughs]

But you know what was funny about me in that moment was I just threw myself — Again, how lucky that I had the luxury to be a stay-at-home mom. A lot of my friends don't have that luxury. At the time, my husband had a really good job. And so, I just took the beat and raised my babies, and we rebuilt our home and sort of released to the universe. I started creating this clothing line that I was going to do. I started writing this children's book. I just started —

This business will eat you up if it's everything you're about, so I'm lucky that I have great family and friends and a very fertile mind that I was sort of just thinking of what my next phase would be, and then "Access Hollywood" called at 40! I mean, that's funny. I don't think I'm your typical entertainment-looking reporter from back in the day.

How she 'botched' her audition for Access Hollywood

What was it that made you want to take on a job at "Access" in particular? Because you had to relocate across the country to California.

Oh, yeah. Well, truth be told, I only took the interview because I just wanted a break from the three kids. And so, I literally — my husband was like, "Just go to LA for a couple of days." No part of me thought I wanted this job, I was going to get this job. I came with strep throat and a baseball hat and, literally, just wanted to be on the airplane, in a hotel room, just take a two-day beat, right, to go to California.

And I botched the audition. I was so bad. They had an earpiece in. It kept popping out. I had self-tanned my legs, and they were slippery. I had this little outfit I put together from TJ Maxx, and just the whole thing. I wasn't in that mindset. But after the interview, they called me in, and we talked for two hours, and, all of a sudden, I was like, "Do y'all like me? Because I am not moving to California." And then, be careful what you say, because I think six months later, we were moving.

What changed your mind?

You know what's so funny is mentioning the house burning down. We rebuilt, and we were just in the new house, and my husband and I were like, "This is our forever house." Right? We had our three children, and, I mean, I was really happy in Fairfield, Connecticut. So I said to my husband, I'm like, "Honey, I'm just going to say, 'No. Thank you, but no.'" They were so nice to offer it to me.

We thought about it, and the next morning, we're having coffee, and he said, "You know what? You have to try." He said, "Not now. At this moment, it's too much to think about, but it might be three months, six months, a year, [that] you're going to regret that you didn't try this." I said, "Alright."

We rented the house in Connecticut out. My husband stayed in New York. That's where his job was. I came out with the three babies, and we started this boondoggle. Yeah, and 11 years later, I'm still here.

Here's her best advice for other busy moms trying to balance it all

What's the best tip that you have for working moms? Because mom guilt is a very real thing.

Lean into it all. I always say that balance is a four-letter word. There's really no such thing. There's sometimes where I'm in good balance with everybody, and then there's sometimes where my job takes up more time than it needs, and there's some time when the kids take up more time, because you kind of work its way out.

But, also, the thing that somebody told me, and I want to say it's Maria Shriver, but I can't remember: "Stop apologizing for work." Men don't apologize when they leave for work, and I love my work, and I love my kids, so I'm always like, "Mom is so lucky to get to go. I've got the Golden Globes tonight, kids. I'll be home tonight," or whatever. I just think sort of don't make apologies for it and do the best you can, and acknowledge that there's no even, right? You sort of do the best and be grateful for it all, I guess.

What is a typical day for you like shooting both "Access Hollywood" and "Access Daily"?

I love it. So I'm an early riser. I wake up at about 6:30, get the kids breakfast. My two daughters are home from college, and they'll go back soon. My son is in 9th grade, so make him breakfast, get him to school, work out, which I love. My morning starts, actually 6:30, cup of coffee. I call my mom because she's east coast. So we talk every morning. It's our routine. And then, of course, 12 times throughout the day. Work out, do the kids, work out, and then come on into work and do both shows as I'm coordinating all the kid stuff, and then grocery store, dinner, cook dinner, binge my show, and collapse, and do it all again. [Laughs]

What Kit Hoover loves about being on live television

What's the hardest part about doing live television?

Well, live is the best for me. I grew up in sports, and I went to school on a track scholarship. For me, it was first call, 1600-meter race. I love the idea of getting up, and then when that light goes on, for better or for worse, you're in it. When you're doing it, too, you're only focused about that at the moment. You're not thinking about other things. Although, truth be told, I am thinking about, like, "Did I get the clothes out of the dryer?" You know? "What's for dinner?" All those things are going through.

But I love the one and done. When it's over, clean slate, and you're on to the next. It works well for my personality.

I just feel like it'd be such a rush, too, to do live TV.

It's such a rush. Yeah, and, "Three, two, go!" 

My friends are watching "The Morning Show," and they're like, "Oh, my God. Is that your life?" I'm like, "Kind of, with the TV stuff." Yeah, I feel very grateful for that.

These are Kit Hoover's favorite kinds of interviews

What is the most memorable interview that you've had so far on "Access Hollywood" or "Access Daily"?

Oh, gosh.

I know there are a lot.

Yeah. It's interesting because they definitely do sort of run together, at least for this job being 11 years and so many shows. I think it's the — I mean, celebrities. I'm still fascinated by them, right? And I still get starstruck and in awe. When you talk to them, they're just so normal — [they're] regular people is what you find out. So that's been really interesting.

I think it's the human interest stories that really — I just interviewed this young woman [on January 6] who is 22 years old but has the body of an 8-year-old. To hear her so eloquently speak and with such a positive attitude, like, I was thinking to myself, "Wow. We really don't have any problems, any stresses." I know it's all relative, but I'm so inspired by the human strength and regular people doing extraordinary things.

She once accidentally introduced herself to Brad Pitt as 'Kit Pitt'

Who have you been starstruck by?

Oh, my gosh! Okay. I'm at the Oscars red carpet. Would that be last year or the year before? I'm bad with this COVID and time thing. And it was Brad Pitt. I've never met him. I've never interviewed him. I thought Kit Pitt had a great ring. I don't get to interview him. I was interviewing Halle Berry and Julia Roberts at the time. He comes up, and he goes to Mario [Lopez], my co-host, here. Then, I'm so bummed. I'm like, "Ah, I just wanted to interview Brad."

All of a sudden, I'm walking out with my producer, and we're grabbing champagne they have on the red carpet, and I bump into him. I say, "Hey Brad. Kit Pitt." He stops, and he looks me in the eye, and he goes, "Wait, maiden or married name?" I'm like, "Oh, my God. I'm such a liar." And I'm like, "Maiden." I'm just making it up. Then I say, "I love architecture." I don't like architecture. [Laughs] I mean, the whole thing. My producer was crying. We were like — I got so verklempt and like, "Agh!" that it was — and we have the funniest picture. Then, we pose for pictures with the paparazzi, and I'm like —

Anyway, it's Brad Pitt. He was just as cute in person. Oh, my gosh. Is he adorable? And well-dressed and tall, and it was great. I was like, "This is so much fun."

That was meant to be if you ran into him. That's awesome!

Mm-hmm. Literally, just bumped in. It was the whole sea of people going into the award show, and there he was. Yeah, Kit Pitt.

Who have you not interviewed yet that you would love the opportunity to?

Let me think. Let me think. I'm now in my, like, athlete phase where there's so many Olympians and stuff I'd want to interview. God, as far as big celebrities, I think I've probably interviewed — Name one, and let me see if I've — I mean, I've interviewed, trying to think of all the big A-listers.

You know who else was wonderful, that I was very excited [about], was Julia Roberts. I'm from Atlanta. She's from Atlanta. I mean, she's arguably one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and she comes into my dressing room. I'd only been on the show a year, and I think she could sense, like, we got to help this little country bumpkin over here. She came in with her phone and was showing me pictures of [her husband] Danny [Moder] and the kids, and we're just talking about — Her daughter's Hazel. Mine is Hayes, and she was just so normal. And then, next time I interviewed her, I brought her a sweet tea, and we exchanged recipes, and she was just cool. Like, that's Julia Roberts, and she was awesome.

It's so fun when you find out that they're exactly what you see on TV.

What you want them to be. Yes.

Here's what it's like behind the scenes of Access Daily

Just watching "Access Daily" from home on the couch, it seems like so much fun because you hear everybody on set really getting into it. They're clapping. They're laughing. What is the vibe like when you're actually there compared to some of the other shows that you've done? You've hosted a lot of different shows.

I have. You know, one thing I pride myself on [is] this is my home. My work becomes my home. Anybody that comes on, whether it's a celebrity, a chef, a normal person with their story, I want them to leave feeling great. The team here, as assembled, they're so wonderful that I do feel like it's such a positive, great environment, and you want everybody to be loose and fun and feel good. I want them to leave here and be like, "That was awesome. That was a really fun, feel-good moment." That's what I strive for every day, and, I mean, how cool is my job? Again, I always leave with gratitude and I'm like, "This is so much fun." I get to talk to you today. So, anyway.

You have such a fun team, and you all have chemistry on screen. Is there a co-host that you're closest with?

Really, all of them. The daytime show now is Mario Lopez and me, and he is just the best. We have so much fun together, and he's got the cutest wife and kids. And it's funny, because his kids are a little bit younger than mine, so it's fun to see them come up. I sort of miss that stage, and I'm in kind of a whole different stage of life, so that has been so much fun. Getting to know him and sit beside him.

Scott Evans and I have worked together now for, I guess, eight years, maybe, eight or nine years. We're really close. What's funny about him is, first of all, I could have birthed him, right? I mean, he is like 30. I'm 51. And so, we should have nothing in common, yet we are sort of the same person in so many ways that that has been such a special friendship to grow.

And then, Sibley [Scoles] and Zuri [Hall]. Again, to watch them shine, and I'm so in awe of them with so many of their interviews and their spirit. They're just spectacular. 

We really have fun, right? If you're not laughing and having fun and working hard, then what's the point?

Kit Hoover hopes to do a lot more acting

You just had a Christmas movie out with Mario Lopez called "Feliz NaviDAD." What was it like to work with him on a film set versus working together on the set of "Access Hollywood"?

Okay. So first of all, I've never acted in my life so this was a bucket-list dream, because I always wanted to be in a holiday movie. I'm like, "I want to be the lonely shop owner." Right? I was hoping for a kiss with somebody, but that didn't happen.

But anyway, I was so nervous. Mario was so kind and gracious, and we crack up because they gave me this character named Laurel Ann that was kind of just a normal Sporty Spice girl. But Mario and I — I mean, I came in hot. I had a back story. We had movement going on. I am stretching. I'm jumping around. I'm saying stupid s**t — Ooh, stupid stuff. I'm adding all these lines in there.

And so, what I didn't know with acting, because I'm used to live, is — so I do the first take, and it's good. I'm like, "Oh, good." He goes, "Okay, now you have to do it again from all these different angles." Well, I don't remember what I just did, right? I'm a one hit wonder. [Laughs] I was 20 takes later from different angles and this. It was so much fun, but I definitely peaked on the first take. [Laughs] I'm like, "That's it. No one told me there's multiple takes. I got one take."

Would you ever want to act again?

I would. I like pushing myself. I really don't get nervous anymore for live TV. It's so normal for me. I get excited, but not nervous. I was nervous for this, so it was fun to be outside my comfort zone. And it's a dippy little scene, but I had a ball.

Oh, some reporter was writing about the movie, and they didn't mention me by name, but they said, "Oh, Mario in a great Christmas movie and laughs from the athletic character," or something. I'm like, "That's me! That's me!" [Laughs]

Shout out!

Shout out! It was funny.

Would Kit Hoover ever want to return for a Road Rules reunion?

There have been a lot of reunions lately. There was just "The Real World Homecoming."


Have you heard anything about something like that with "Road Rules," and would you want to do it if it came around?

First of all, I would 100% do it. I keep in touch with Clay Newbill who was the executive producer at the time. Bunim Murray is who produced it. John Murray's still doing it. We lost, unfortunately, his partner. But I'm so grateful to what they did for me, and it changed my life at 24. I know a lot of people since then go on reality TV and like, "Oh, I wasn't portrayed properly," or this or that. I mean, I think you have to lean into all of it. It is odd to see yourself come back to you on the screen when you're just being yourself.

So I would 100% do it. I keep up with Mark Long. He was a boy that was on the show with me, the boy with the big hair that I kissed. I would love to see what Shelly Spottedhorse, Allison [Jones], Los [Jackson], what they're up to. There was only five of us on our show. Get us back together, and they were all extraordinary. I know what Mark's up to. He's doing great. But I would be so in for that. I know where my bread was buttered, right? I know where it all started, and I would do it in a heartbeat. I'd go in the Winnebago. I don't have much time anymore, but I could do a road trip for the weekend.

Here's the best advice she's heard in show business

You've interviewed so many incredible people. What is some of the best advice you've heard? Whether it's about life, about show business, or just something that stuck with you.

Well, it's funny as I'm drinking my little green tea over here. Women in this business is interesting. As I was saying, I'm 51 now, and I feel like I haven't even hit my stride. It's a very different narrative than what was told even 10, 20 years ago, right? Where everybody says, "Oh, you're kind of done at 37," or whatever dorky age they would put on it.

Tina Turner says it best. She says to age gratefully, and I think that's it. It's not to age gracefully or this or that. Lean into everything. But to age gratefully and just kick a** is what I want to do. I want to Tina Turner it. You know what I mean? I want to be up on stage gyrating for as long as I can, so I just think that's the best advice. No matter what work you're in, what line of business, right? Lean into it all.

Kit Hoover looks back on her favorite celebrity moments from 2021

Looking back at this past year, who's been your favorite celebrity couple?

Ben [Affleck] and J.Lo. I love the double back. I believe in love. I believe in second chances. There's something about where they were then in their matching velour sweatshirts to where they are now. I think it's quite beautiful. I'm rooting for them. I mean, I seriously am when I see them. I'm like, "There's something very cool about that." With age comes wisdom.

Who had your favorite celebrity look?

Oh, Zendaya. Zendaya by far. I'm in love with Zendaya. In my mind, I have her body, her style, her look. I love her "Spider-Man" boyfriend, who's half as tall as her. I love her. Everything about it. But her style, she's elegant and classy but pushes the envelope, and I love to see what she's going to wear.

What was your favorite reality TV show this last year?

Oh, God. I was going to say of all time would have to be mine.

Of course!

Yes. Oh, my gosh. Let me think of some of the good ones, because I got to be honest, I used to be "Bachelor"/"Bachelorette." Then they lost me for a couple of seasons. That would be my initial go-to because I'd watch with my daughters, and we'd make fun of it but also like it. So not that one. Name some of the good ones. What am I missing now that are some of the good — I've been binging so much now. I'm new to the binge, so I haven't watched as much reality TV shows. Yeah.

There's so much. I mean, "Married at First Sight" just started again. Are you into other dating shows?

Okay. No. Keep going. No. So I heard about that one, though, because I just reported on [January 5] with the new season. Their success rate is quite something. There's like eight people that are married or eight fail — I'm like, "This is incredible." No, give me another one, so I haven't seen that.

"Selling Sunset" is also coming up.

Oh, so "Selling Sunset" is a little bit of a guilty pleasure. I love Chrishell [Strause]. I remember interviewing her when I was interviewing the cast for "This Is Us." Again, to see the back stories of everybody, and I love people — doesn't have to be women, people in general — that kind of get — knocked down's the wrong word, but have to take a pivot in their life, and watch them shine. I love it. And then, of course, all the gorgeous fashion and those houses, I mean, good Lord. It's so fun.

You can catch Kit Hoover weekdays on "Access Hollywood" and "Access Daily." Check your local listings.