Hoda Kotb has been through it all. Like anyone, she's experienced her fair share of highs and lows, but for the Today show fourth hour co-anchor, it feels extra sweet that she now has a baby girl, Haley Joy Kotb, to call her own.
Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda, 52, help wake America up every morning, giving viewers some extra joy before they head out to work or prepare for their days. Whether they're sipping on wine or bickering about the latest trends, the duo always bring a smile to people's faces. Perhaps viewers smile extra wide for Hoda because of all that she's been through.
Hoda has said her strength stems from her breast cancer battle, a victory she often says humbled her in the best way. The Today show morning co-anchor has spoken candidly about her cancer in the hopes of helping out other people.
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"I don't want to be 'the girl with cancer' … I just didn't want that to be my only thing," Hoda told Ann Curry in 2007, nearly a year after she was diagnosed. "But it is part of me. And it's a big part of me. So hopefully I'll be able to use that part of me to help other people."
Hoda chose a course of treatment that would take away her ability to bear her own children, a reality she struggled to deal with especially given she and her now-ex-husband Burzis Kanga were separated at the time.
"Every time I swallow those pills, the pills are doing two things to me. They're fighting my cancer and theyre taking away any opportunity to ever have a kid," Hoda explained. "And I know when I swallow them what I'm doing every time. It's hard to choke them down. It's really hard to put them down. But I take them every day, every night...It's all weird because part of me feels sad and part of me feels like I got this new beginning."
Hoda and Burzis, a former tennis coach for the University of New Orleans, were married from 2005-2007, but she has never revealed the reason for their split. She has, however, confessed that they met and officially divorced on Valentine's Day. She also revealed to Cosmopolitan that her cancer diagnosis changed her perspective.
"I sort of think that the cancer made my life snap into focus. I'm an optimist, so I think everything can be worked out and fixed," she shared. "But from having cancer I learned that even if you're even an optimist, sometimes you just have to face the facts that certain things are broken. I think it taught me that. Optimism works in 90 percent of my life, but there is a window where you have to accept that certain things are not fixable and no matter how hard you try, and want it to work—sometimes you just have to cut your losses."
With every loss, however, is a gain. Kathie Lee joined Hoda on the fourth hour in 2008, and it's been a match made in TV heaven ever since.
They've transitioned from co-anchors to friends to basically sisters, and have seen each other through the best and worst of times.
A few years after Hoda's divorce, she met and fell in love with lawyer Jay Blumenkopf, but after two years of dating, they called it quits. Neither ever said anything bad about each other following their split; instead, they emphasized the love and respect they felt for each other. But that didn't stop fans from feeling sorry for one of their favorite morning show hosts.
But after many ups and downs, Hoda found love with Boots (Joel Schiffman). She kept his identity a secret for a long time but once they were "outed" by paparazzi photos she came clean on her morning show.
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"I feel like I have found real-life joy right as I'm knocking on the door of 50, with a wonderful guy, and I feel very blessed, you know?" she said.
And on top of finding true love with Joel, Hoda revealed on her SiriusXM radio show in October 2016 that they were moving in together.
"Joel and I are getting an apartment together, so we went to see it with the measuring tape," Hoda shared on The Hoda Show.
"It's a little weird to be in your 50s and we're like 'Hey, we're moving in!' It's like you're kids. It's so weird. I was afraid to tell my own mother that I was moving in with my boyfriend. I was afraid. I don't know," she said. "I know it sounds weird—I've been married. It's like, 'Whatever!' But it's weird. It's a little odd."
The happy couple obviously has found their footing because Tuesday morning Hoda revealed she adopted Haley Joy. "She brings us joy," Hoda cooed. "She's got a beautiful way about her."
If that weren't enough, Hoda also revealed her daughter's extra special birthday.
"She's a Valentine's baby," she gushed. "She is the love of my life."