Kathie Lee Gifford made a heartfelt speech for her dear friend Hoda Kotb who was being honored as Mother of the Year by the American Cancer Society on Monday, Oct. 16, at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
According to People, the Today show co-host struggled to hold her tears back as she described her best friend as “the only thing bigger than her smile is her heart.”
Kathie Lee continued on a sarcastic note – the way every true friend would – warning people to be very careful around Hoda because she was the most contagious human being on the planet.
“She will infect you,” she added.
But Gifford failed to break the ice and started tearing up as she revealed how much Kotb impacted her life.
“She will make you happy, she will make you start singing really crappy songs. That’s what she does. She can’t help it she just shows up and the room changes,” she told the audience.
The Daytime Emmy winner also revealed that she was hesitant at first to come back on television, saying, “When I signed to come back to television almost 10 years ago I didn’t want to, I thought I’d done the best 15 years of television I’d ever done with a certain little guy named Regis Philbin and I didn’t [want to] come back.”
Find a friend that loves you as much as KLG loves @hodakotb! We can’t stop watching these sweet moments from KLG’s tribute to Hoda, who received the American Cancer Society’s Mother of the Year award. ❤️ Thanks to @firstdayfilms for this beautiful video!
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But on a positive turn of events, NBC eventually convinced Gifford and said “yes” to the TV comeback invitation, E! News reported. Her decision became a life-changing experience because that introduced her to Hoda. Since then, her friendship with Hoda has blossomed into a very powerful bond rarely seen with TV personalities of their caliber.
“I fell absolutely, madly in love with this life force called Hoda, who just made me a better person,” Gifford said.
The host also added that her only regret in life was that she hadn’t got the chance to meet Hoda sooner. Had the two met earlier, she would have been there to support Kotb during her battle with breast cancer.
She then ended her speech by telling the audience, “It is my great honor and privileged to give this to one of my dearest, dearest friends who is one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met in my life. I adore you Hoda – Hoda Kotb!”
[Featured Images by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]