Regis PhilbinWhen Regis Philbin announced his retirement from 'Live! with Regis and Kelly' last week, all kinds of rumors circulated that the veteran host was leaving over a pay cut.

But when Regis sat down with Access Hollywood, the 79-year-old opened up about the bigger, emotional struggles he faced leaving the show after 28 years.

Regis said, "I was told by everybody within the ABC structure to do this the morning of my announcement, so we all had a meeting ... and I told them this was it, I was going to leave the show ... I'm not going to leave right now, it's going to be at the end of the season. I saw Kelly's eyes well up a little bit and Gelman got a little white, but it had to be done ... You know that's the way it was going to be, but it is a sad occasion because there has been so much time together."

Kelly joined 'Live!' in 2001, and there's been a lot of speculation about who should join the bubbly blonde at the desk after Regis retires. Regis admitted his one regret was never getting Barbra Streisand to appear on the show, but other than that, he's ready for the next step.

Is Regis really ready to say goodbye to the industry he's worked in for 40 years? "In telling everybody 'This is it, I am going to leave,' I never said that I am retiring, because everybody considers me leaving that show to be retiring in this business ... and that's not the case," he said. But after 28 years of the same routine, Regis said, "Maybe it's time I walk away and hopefully do something a little different and close it all out with that."

Watch the interview after the jump!