BECOMING an empty nester might spark natural feelings of sadness or loss for parents as their teenager creates a new life away from home.
But a body language expert has warned that as Michael Strahan’s twins head to college, their dad’s experience will be more “complex.”
Michael Strahan (seen here in March) tried to hide his real emotions about his twins leaving for college on The View, said a body language expertCredit: Getty
Isabella and Sophia Strahan graduated in June, but when Michael tried to open up about them leaving for college, he rebooted his mood, according to Judi JamesCredit: Instagram/isabellastrahan
Michael, 51, chatted to The View panel on July 10 and on the surface opened up about an upcoming milestone in his family life.
Sara Haines kicked off the conversation about the former NFL star’s twin daughter’s high school graduation and next steps.
Earlier this year, Isabella Strahan, 18, revealed that she is heading to the University of Southern California.
Sophia Strahan, 18, meanwhile, will be going to Duke University in the fall.
The twin’s new life stage comes after Michael and his ex-wife Jean Muggli’s custody case was officially closed down in North Carolina.
On The View, Michael watched a montage of his teens that was captioned “Michael Strahan celebrates his college-bound daughters: ‘I’m a happy father!’” and fidgeted.
During the segment, the GMA host joked: “I can’t wait to get them out,” before explaining that he wanted them “to grow.”
Fans were quick to react on Instagram. One said: “Congrats! However Michael you will still experience some type of loneliness with them not being there.”
Another wrote: “That’s fantastic! “I want them to grow,” that’s a good dad!”
In an exclusive interview, body language expert Judi James told The U.S. Sun: “Michael tried to show his inner emotions to the world during his chat on The View.
“He suggested a philosophical approach to a new life milestone for his twin daughters leaving home.
“Michael’s total pride and love were obvious — this was seen in his eye expression and his soppy smile.
“But then he had to re-boot his mood, and Michael did a hand smack and chopping gestures.
“It looked like a motivational message to himself to draw a line in the sand and try to look forward.
“His urge to protect the girls is still there and probably more so with the custody battle in their family history.
“His overall signals of pride and love were also reflected in his graduation poses shown in the montage.
“But Michael continued to try and minimize how sad he really feels about his twins going off.”
A body language expert told The U.S. Sun that Michael (seen here with Sophia) tried to minimize how sad he feels about his twins going off to college in an interviewCredit: Instagram/sophialstrahan
Michael and Jean Muggli’s battles over their daughters spanned more than 15 years.
Custody wranglings started a year after Michael divorced the North Dakota native in 2006.
Michael had also divorced his first wife, Wanda Hutchins, in 1996. They had two children, Tanita, 30, and Michael Junior, 27.
Michael and Jean’s difficulties included child support and living arrangements.
In 2007, according to the New York Post, Michael was said to have been asked to pay Jean $15.3 million in the divorce and $18,000 in child support.
Previously, court filings showed the involvement of a parent coordinator, plus further difficulties surrounding payments, despite the pair settling custody in 2020.
According to Page Six, court documents had also shown that Michael would split custody with Jean.
Sophia and Isabella would spend alternate weeks living with each.
Michael and his ex-wife Jean Muggli (seen here on the right) battled over their twin daughters for more than 15 yearsCredit: Getty
James suggested that the father of four would have been impacted by changes in his family dynamic through the decades.
She said: “Some more reflective gestures during The View interview clip hinted at how Michael inwardly copes.
“Michael paused to think rather than quickly pushing out the stock cliches.
“He licked his lips slightly, his brows raised and his eyes darted upward as though accessing complex emotions.
“Michael performed a series of micro-shrugs with his shoulders to suggest he was minimizing his emotional responses.
“When he said that he was a happy dad, his features fall and his eyes looked down in a cut-off to hide his inner emotions.
“Michael brought his right hand up to heart level showing a need to protect his emotions.
“While Michael looks happy at his girls’ success he also looks sad to be losing them to adult life.”
Michael gave a motivational message to himself on The View to draw a line in the sand over the custody battle over his twins (Isabella is seen here in June)Credit: Instagram/michaelstrahan
So far, Isabella and Sophia appear to have weathered the storm amid their parent’s lengthy court battles.
The teen’s Instagram feeds showcase fun-loving lifestyles packed with everything that a typical 18-year-old would enjoy.
Since Michael and Jean split the twins had moved to Manhattan, where they attended separate private schools.
Their mom also moved to New York, while Michael has been living in a townhouse in New York’s Upper West Side for the last several years.
Since retiring from football after a glittering 15-year career, he has become a staple on US daytime TV.
Michael (seen here on ABC in June) has enjoyed a glittering media career after retiring from footballCredit: Getty
James suggested that Michael is likely to have used his honed motivation skills to “get through his challenges”.
She said: “In another recent clip, Michael talks like the true alpha male and about motivating the team.
“Interestingly, for such a strong alpha, his ego and vanity signals seem low.
“Where his body language on The View suggested complex emotions and softness, here it suggests certainty, confidence, and power.”
Michael’s (seen here with Sophia) eyes looked down in a cut-off to hide his inner emotions during a recent interview on The View about his twins, said an expertCredit: Instagram/sophialstrahan
Our expert also noticed how Michael used a “rigid measuring gesture” as he manages any problems.
“Michael builds to a very persuasive precision gesture of a finger pinch touch between the index finger and the thumb, ” Judi added.
“This suggests he knows the solutions of how to motivate.
“He looks on top of his game here and like an inspirational presence with an ability to bring the best out of others.”
The twin daughters’ graduation photos posted to Instagram included Michael’s girlfriend Kayla Quick.
Isabella and Michael do a matching peace sign for one of her graduation photosCredit: Instagram/isabellastrahan
Judi explained how the images suggested “peace.”
“Isabella’s graduation photos include one of her and Michael in a celebratory, mirrored dad and daughter pose,” she added.
“Michael pulls a fun face and they perform a matching V sign for peace at the camera.
“The pose with the twins and their mother is more formal.
“The twins are linked by their inner arms and their mother is pushed in closer with a proud smile that bares her teeth.
Michael’s daughter Sophia’s graduation photos focus on her friendships rather than pulling out family grouping, said JamesCredit: Instagram/sophialstrahan
“There is another family group poses when Michael stands in a line with his girls, with his girlfriend Kayla at the opposite end.
“This looks like a mother/father pose with their girls between them.
“The way Kayla is placed at the opposite end so that the girls are sandwiched between them.
“Kayla put both hands in her pockets, which could be a gesture of a mark of respect to their birth mother.
“This would avoid appearing to tread on her toes on this important family milestone.
“Sophia’s graduation photos focus on her friendships rather than pulling out family grouping.”
Michael’s girlfriend Kayla Quick put her hands in her pockets for a gradation photo out of respect for his twin’s mom Jean, according to an expertCredit: @michaelstrahan
James said that Michael is sad about his twins (seen here in April) going off to college but had drawn a line in the sand over the custody battleCredit: Instagram/sophialstrahan