The heartbreaking story behind Kelly Ripa's sister's accident and nephew's coma

It's made her so grateful for her family

Kelly Ripa is a doting mother and wife who regularly gives her legions of fans a glimpse into her family life, but the TV personality also suffered a tragedy she rarely speaks of. 

The Live with Kelly and Ryan host has an older sister, Linda, who almost died following a horrific car accident. 

MORE: Kelly Ripa celebrates husband Mark Consuelos' birthday with must-see tribute 

In 1999, the aspiring model - now 53 - was seven months pregnant with her son, Sergio-Giuseppe, when her car was struck by a drunk driver - and what happened next is heartbreaking. 

Loading the player...

WATCH: Kelly Ripa is full of emotional as she details 'brutally painful' moment involving her son 

She sustained horrific injuries, including multiple broken bones and a crushed pelvis which pushed into her unborn son’s head. 

Linda's son - Kelly’s nephew - went into a coma in utero and his mum refused anesthetic for leg surgery for fear of damaging her unborn child. 

MORE: How Kelly Ripa's husband defended her against unkind comments 

MORE: Kelly Ripa with waist-length blonde hair has to be seen

Sergio was born seven weeks early and the road to recovery began for them both. 

Linda later called him "a miracle baby," and told The New York Times: "We don’t know how it happened. But it did."


Kelly with her sister Linda in 2002 at her book launch 

Kelly’s sibling was bedridden for more than a year and underwent numerous surgeries. It was during this time that Kelly would visit with her firstborn, Michael - who is now 24. 

Speaking of her passion for drawing - which would spark a career in children’s book writing - Linda said: “'My nickname as a little kid was Ladybug, so I drew some,'' she said. ''My little nephew, Mikey, would come in to visit and I would hold the papers up with my arms and draw for him. And I would tell stories to him and my son.''

MORE: Kelly Ripa's son Michael steals the show during memorable TV appearance

READ: Kelly Ripa shares show-stopping swimsuit photo from family holiday

A few years after the accident, Linda was awarded $15million from a surgeon who botched her surgery. 


Kelly with her husband, children and her parents too 

At the time, Kelly spoke to the court via video and revealed her parents, Essie and Joe, were having to care for Linda and Sergio. 

"They are older and raising their grandchild," Kelly said in 2001. "My mother is a 24-hour-a-day nurse to my sister.

"She will never, ever know a normal life again. And there's nothing they can do," Kelly added.

Many years on, and Sergio is now 22 and thankfully fit, healthy, and an aspiring musician. Kelly shared a birthday tribute to her beloved nephew in September 2020 along with several never-before-seen family photos with him. 

MORE: Kelly Ripa and her daughter Lola are left in hysterics during family video call 


A post shared by Kelly Ripa (@kellyripa)

Kelly created a montage for her nephew Sergio's 21st birthday 

Her sister has a successful career as an author and illustrator.

Kelly rarely talks about the accident but has said it’s made her incredibly grateful for her husband, Mark Consuelos, and their three children, Joaquin, 19, Lola, 20, and Michael. 

"Every day of my life that I feel like I'm going to complain about something small, minute, I think of my sister. And it makes you appreciate what's important in life. 

"We, Mark and me, have three beautiful, healthy kids and if everything we've achieved together disappeared tomorrow, we would still have three healthy, beautiful kids. And who could ask for anything more than that?"

Read more HELLO! US stories here

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

You're on HELLO!'s global site. Click to return to HELLO! India Go back