It is nothing out of the ordinary for the anchors of the TODAY show to host a special guest. However, Hoda Kotb had a very special surprise guest on-set the Friday before Mother’s Day.
For her very first Mother’s Day, Kotb’s mom brought her baby daughter, Haley Joy, to visit the show and meet her coworkers. Haley Joy’s visit to the set came not long after Kotb returned to work from maternity leave.
Host Savanna Guthrie held Haley Joy while telling her “You have the best mother in the world.” And Kotb’s Fourth Hour co-host Jenna Bush Hager had a sweet surprise in store: A video of celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson and Kotb’s own mother sending Mother’s Day greetings to the new mom. Awww.
Kotb always wanted children at some point in her life. However, in 2007 when she was 43 years old, she discovered that she had breast cancer. Although she is now cancer-free, the treatment left her unable to conceive.
Her marriage ended shortly after she finished treatment. She has stated that she met her first husband on Valentine’s Day, the same day her divorce from him was finalized.
“Valentine’s Day, I’ll be honest with you, is not my favorite holiday of the year,” she said in 2013.
However, she did find love again. In 2016, Kotb and longtime boyfriend Joel Schiffman decided to move in together. While she was both happy and healthy, Today’s “fourth hour” host still felt as though something was missing in her life.
“One of the things in my life I’ve always wanted was to be a mom,” Kotb told People.
Even though she carried this longing, she kept it to herself. Even her co-anchor and close friend Kathie Lee Gifford had no idea.
“She never let on that it was something missing in her life,” Gifford revealed.
“Finally I said to myself one day, ‘Why can’t I? Why not me?’” Kotb shared. When she approached Schiffman about the idea of adoption, he was all for it.
Although the baby has Kotb’s last name, she and Schiffman are raising her together.
“Haley will call him Dad,” Kotb told People.
Are you ready for a crazy coincidence? Haley Joy was born on Valentine’s Day.
It is a safe bet that Kotb is no longer sour on the holiday.