Future “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan was supposed to stay on Disney-ABC’s “Live! With Kelly and Michael” until late this summer. But then his departure announcement led to a tumultuous week: Kelly Ripa didn’t show up to work for four days, furious that no one told her in advance about Strahan’s exit.

Fast forward a few weeks, and some very smart executive decided that Strahan would be better off leaving, well, as soon as humanly possible. So to avoid any future awkwardness (and it’s been pretty awkward already), Friday marks Strahan’s last day on “Live!,” which he has co-hosted with Ripa since September 2012.

Obviously, Strahan was in the spotlight for approximately two minutes before Ripa’s reaction to the situation took over the headlines. When she came back to the show, Ripa told the audience that she needed time to process the news about her show being shaken up in a major way — without her knowledge. “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts,” said Ripa, who has co-hosted the show since 2001 and previously starred on ABC’s “All My Children.” “After 26 years with this company, I earned the right.”

So in the days leading up to Strahan’s final day, it’s no surprise that Ripa is sending a message: This is still her show. And she is a very integral part of the process.

That’s what we gathered from Ripa’s People magazine cover story this week, in which she reiterated that this is all about respect in the workplace, something she highlighted during her return on “Live!”

“I think that all people are deserving of fair treatment in the workplace. People deserve respect. People should be treated equally and with dignity,” Ripa told the magazine. “When you’re dealing with big business, it’s easy to forget that you’re dealing with people and that people have feelings. It’s easy to just look at it like a business unit.”

Reading between the lines: Ripa wants to remind everyone she has feelings like anyone else. She might be a very rich person on a TV show, which is one reason why so many people have considered this whole controversy ridiculous, but at the end of the day, she’s just an employee.

Ripa told the magazine that she feels it could have been an “oversight” that no one told her (or her executive producer, or her show staffers) about Strahan’s departure — and understandably, that made everyone question Disney-ABC’s commitment to the show in general. However, as Ripa said on the air, she felt the best thing to come out of the whole ordeal was that “the parent company has assured me that ‘Live!’ is a priority.”

So what will Strahan’s final day bring? You can probably expect the co-hosts to keep things professional… even if Us Weekly spotted her wearing a jacket Thursday that had the word “freedom” emblazoned on the back. To viewers, it might seem like Ripa still has hard feelings, judging by her few cracks to Strahan on air — such a pointed remark about divorce. (Strahan has two ex-wives; Ripa just celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary with her husband.)

Still, in her cover story, Ripa assured People that she still thinks kindly of her colleagues and bosses: “I’m not dealing with monsters. I don’t think of anybody as a monster or out to get me.”

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Kelly Ripa returned to her show "Live" April 26, and said the uproar caused by the pending departure of her co-host, Michael Strahan, was settled. (Disney/ABC Home Entertainment)