Hoda Kotb has been absent from the Today Show since February 17. On Wednesday, co-anchor Craig Melvin gave a long anticipated update on why Kotb had been gone for so long.
“We mentioned that Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda are both off. Savannah, she’s home after a positive COVID test yesterday. We are wishing our friend a speedy recovery,” he said, as Guthrie left early on Tuesday’s show after not feeling well. “And as for Hoda, we know a lot of you have been wondering how she’s doing. We can tell you that Hoda’s okay. She’s got a family health matter that she’s been dealing with, so we look forward to seeing Hoda and Savannah back at the desk real, real soon.”
Despite not being on the show, Kotb has been active on social media, posting positive messages throughout her absence regarding various ideas like women empowerment and overall well-being tips.
With Melvin’s message being the only information we have on Kotb’s situation, we can only speculate which family of her’s are having health issues. And hopefully, her two daughters are okay.
Kotb is mother to two adopted daughters, Haley, 5, and Hope, 3. Her adoption journey began officially in 2017 when she was able to take Haley home for the first time, but her plans to adopt go back a little further.
In 2007, Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she eventually beat it, the illness left her infertile at the age of 43. Following a divorce shortly after her diagnosis, she wondered if she’d ever have a family of her own.
She shared the story of when she first thought of her desire for a family on the People podcast, Me Becoming Mom. It was while she was walking with a friend who mentioned how neither one of them wanted to ever be a mother.
“I said, ‘I do.’ I didn’t say did. I said I do,” she recalled on the podcast. “It was an everyday moment that turned into an epiphany.”
Once it was evident she couldn’t have a child of her own naturally, adoption was inevitably the route she would have to take, an idea she credits country music star Sheryl Crow for inspiring her with after an appearance on Today when Crow brought her adopted children on set.
“You were here at the Today show downstairs in the dressing room with your boys when they were little,” Hoda told Sheryl on her podcast, Making Space. “And I remember watching you and thinking, ‘I want something like that one day.’”
She was with her partner at the time, Joel Schiffman, when the possibility of adoption came to mind for Kotb. She mustered up the courage to ask Schiffman what he thought about adopting and told him to think about it over the course of a week.
“And there was like a second there, I was like, ‘This is the end of a relationship or the beginning of a family,’” she said on Me Becoming Mom. “My heart was pounding and he just looked at me and he said, ‘I don’t need a week.’ At that moment, I fell on his chest and was sobbing.”
Thus, they started the adoption process and in 2017, they welcomed their first daughter, Haley Joy.
“They put her in my arms. I haven’t carried many babies. She fit like she was born there,” Kotb said, after having to wait 30 days after Haley was born to officially adopt her. “I thought to myself, ‘Forever, as long as I have a breath in me, you will be loved and cared for.’ She felt like mine right then. It didn’t take any time. It happened instantly for me.”
Over two years later, they welcomed their second daughter, Hope Catherine, who was named after their “hope” for another child, telling Today that the word “hope” appeared in her journal “about ten million times”.
In January 2022, however, Kotb and Schiffman split up. But, they remain very close and are doing what they can to co-parent their daughters.
“He’ll have a Saturday, and I’ll do the Sunday. We switch each week,” she told People. “He’ll take the girls and do some fun things, and I’ll take some quiet time. It’s a healthy mix, and the kids love it. He’s a great dad.”
As far as any more adoptions in the future, Kotb says, “It’s definitely in the universe for me.”
“I feel like whatever is meant to be is meant to be. But I know a few things. I have love and time, and we have an open space,” she continued. “Every time I see a child who needs something or read about a child, my heart’s breaking. I’m like, I know if we could invite them into our home just what it would mean. Not just for the child, but for us.”
While Kotb is away from the show for the “family health matter”, we hope all is okay and there isn’t anything too serious that whomever is unwell can’t recover from. On top of that, we hope it doesn’t involve her children and that they are especially okay.