A BODY language expert has described Kelly Ripa’s interaction with another star as "pawing" after she and her husband met him backstage.
The expert also claimed Mark Consuelos felt "threatened" by his wife's “mock sexual approach” to the prominent guest of Live with Kelly and Mark, so he mimicked her come-ons to prove they were no big deal.
Kelly and Mark went backstage before kicking off hosting their daytime TV show on July 18.
In the studio hallway, they chatted with ABC World News Tonight's David Muir.
The high-profile TV anchor was booked to talk about his Greek vacation with the couple on set.
During the video clip posted to Instagram, Kelly appeared excited to be standing in front of Muir.
As Kelly and the journalist chatted, they used plenty of hand gestures toward each other before Mark joined in.
Fans were quick to comment online. One wrote: "Is that what rich people do? Pet each other?"
Another said: "Creepy…the whole thing was weird."
In an exclusive interview, body language expert Judi James told The U.S. Sun: “Kelly pawed at David’s chest which is a display of almost sexual pawing.
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“She kept her right hand there as she talked, which provided Mark with an aspirational alpha male-based quandary.
“Mark’s tactic was to avoid challenge, conflict, or submission. He decided to mimic his wife’s pawing.
“Mark pawed at David’s bicep to try hard to prove to everyone that he was completely cool with Kelly’s pawing.
"He probably did not want to look like the jealous partner or lose face so if he does it too it somehow negates the idea of Kelly flirting.
“Sadly, toward the end of the meet and greet, Mark was left looking like sidekick Ken to his wife’s Barbie.”
Kelly and Mark formally cemented their professional partnership on the hit ABC daytime show in April.
After the launch of the new Live hosting setup, the pair wowed with their on-screen chemistry and PDAs.
During one of the first episodes, Mark and Kelly got frisky in a yoga session in which she straddled her husband's back.
Three months later, our expert noted, the couple turned their attention to David, who was once dubbed the Brad Pitt of news anchors.
“Kelly and Marks' body pawing was an unusual ritual outside the animal kingdom," James said.
“For animals, it would either be part of a stroking, calming ritual, or a mock sexual approach.
“It can occur when an animal might feel threatened and would stroke or pat as an act of submission and ingratiation.
“It could also be a mock sexual ritual aimed at putting the more powerful animal off the attack.
"This would be by diverting their thoughts to sex instead.
“This all might imply that Kelly and Mark felt in awe of this multiple award-winning news anchor.
"David Muir is also an alpha male.
“Kelly’s arrival ritual during the backstage clip would tie in with the idea of being in awe of David."
But, James added, her "submission-fuelled entrance" is "overkill."
“Mark led her to the door of David’s room with one hand as she self-diminished nervously and did a baby wave.
“This was a childlike hand-clenching and waves that is the body language equivalent of waving a white flag on the end of a stick.”
Kelly first settled into Live in 2001, while Mark formally joined in April. David had been with ABC News since 2003 and has also co-hosted Live with Kelly in the past.
In fact, the mom of three once gushed about the popular TV anchor to her former co-host Ryan Seacrest.
"I remember when I first saw David Muir file a report for World News Tonight." she once told Ryan Seacrest.
"I didn't know him at all. I immediately cracked into the ABC News system email – which you're not supposed to use unless it's for news – and I wrote: 'Dude. You looked amazing tonight.'"
Our expert noted how Mark's efforts to bat off any competition fell flat.
“Hilariously, after arriving as macho protector to Kelly, Mark then gets relegated status-wise," James added.
"He was almost comprehensively ignored during the greeting ritual.
“Kelly holds David’s shoulders to instigate a kiss on both cheeks. The mock flattery starts as she gives glances of approval, telling him: ‘You look rich.’
“His gesture of rubbing his nose four times as he talks to Kelly is a whole extra chapter of complex signaling.
“David ends by bending his knees and rubbing his hands together in a gesture of impatient enthusiasm for their interview.
“Mark resorts to mirroring as he copies that gesture, too, yelling out ‘Hard-hitting questions!’ like a man going into battle.
“After all the complex status-battling, Mark ended on a note of mimed aggression.
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“Ignored by the other two, Mark turned to the camera instead."
James continued: "In the end, Mark pulled a fight face. He stabbed his index finger at David as though he was already going on the attack."
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