"She's in the ICU. You know, gone through this traumatic injury. And she spent 10 minutes giving me a neck massage," Kelly told ABC News in an interview published Monday. "I keep tellin' her. I'm like, 'Gabby, you're in the ICU. You know, you don't need -- you know, you don't need to be doin' this.' But it's so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, you know, she's lookin' out for other people."
Giffords' condition was upgraded Sunday from critical to serious after doctors replaced her breathing tube with a tracheotomy tube.
Kelly has been with his wife since the shooting Jan. 8, in which six people died and 13 were injured, rushing to Tucson from Houston where he was training as NASA astronaut commander for space shuttle Endeavour's final mission in April.
"Gabby's got a long road ahead of her," Kelly said. "We know that the recovery from these [kinds] of injuries isn't measured in days and weeks. It's more like weeks and months. ... But, you know, she's a really, really tough woman."
Kelly told ABC News he hasn't been following reports of the shooting or the suspect, Jared Loughner, and the possible motives. But he said he was open to meeting with Loughner's parents.
"I'd probably see them. You know, I don't think it's their fault. It's not the parents' fault," said Kelly, the father of two teenagers from a previous marriage. "You know, I'd like to think I'm a person that's, you know, somewhat forgiving. And, I mean, they've got to be hurting in this situation as much as anybody."