Break out the pinot! Kathie Lee’s partner in wine drinking is headed back to the Today show. Two months after departing on a surprise maternity leave, Hoda Kotb will reunite with Gifford and take back her chair as co-host of Today‘s fourth hour starting April 16.
As the Inquisitr reported, Kotb, 52, shocked fans, as well as her co-workers, back in February when she phoned into the show and announced that she had adopted her daughter, Haley Joy. Prior to her big reveal, only Gifford and Today anchor Matt Lauer were aware of Hoda’s big news.
Since then, Hoda has spent her time bonding with the newborn and posting adorable pictures of the bundle of joy with her colleagues on Twitter.
In an interview with People magazine, the Lip Sync Battle champ described her life since baby Haley’s Valentine’s Day arrival.
“We just stayed in the apartment and ate and slept and burped and took naps, and that’s it. That’s all. But it’s fun!”
Kotb also opened up about her struggles to get to this stage in her life.
“Sometimes in your life, things just don’t work out for whatever reason, so you say, ‘Well, I wasn’t meant to have that.’ But it was really hard to come to terms with it.”
After her gynecologist discovered a lump during a routine exam, Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in March 2007. Eighteen months later, Kotb penned a moving essay for the Today show about the courage she felt after battling the disease. The Emmy winner also touched on a heartbreaking side effect of her treatments.
“And perhaps that hardest part of this process is knowing that cancer has robbed me of the chance to be a biological mother. The medication I take every day to kill the stray cancer cell that may be swimming in my blood stream essentially shuts down my reproductive system. That is really tough.”
During that same time period, Kotb split with her husband, Burzis Kanga. In 2013, Kotb revealed her disdain for February 14 during an episode of Today as it relates to Kanga.
“I met my first husband on Valentine’s Day. Wait — it gets worse. And we signed our divorce papers on Valentine’s Day.”
Despite the trials and tragedy, Kotb said the experience gave her courage and a new mantra.
“Everything that was important became totally clear, and so did the negative parts of my life that I needed to let go of if I wanted to follow my new mantra — go forward…Forward. Forward. Forward.”
When Kotb returned to Today after her surgery, she threw her name in the hat for a new fourth-hour segment that NBC was planning. Kotb, along with Ann Curry and Natalie Morales, debuted the chat fest in September 2007. In March 2008, Gifford was brought on board to replace Curry and Morales and the Today show’s fourth hour took off. Instead of coffee and news, the dynamic duo became fast friends over wine and gossip. A sommelier’s dream was born!
For the last three years, Hoda has been in a relationship with Joel Schiffman.
The financier and television star moved in together last year. Hoda was initially hesitant to tell her beau about her maternal desires, but Hoda’s confession was met with immediate support.
“I was afraid to even say it out loud, because then it felt so real. I said, ‘Think about it for a day or a week or whatever.’ And he said, ‘I don’t need a day. Let’s get this journey going.’ At that point, I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst.”
Hoda credited her family, friends, and co-workers with supporting her on her journey over the past decade.
While viewers await word on whether or not Megyn Kelly’s addition to the NBC lineup will lead to the departure of the fan favorites, Hoda is focused on her life with Schiffman and Haley Joy.
The new mom is sure to regale viewers with new pictures and funny stories when Hoda returns to Kathie Lee’s side Monday on Today.
[Featured Image by Josh Brasted/Getty Images]