As co-anchor for the TODAY show, Hoda Kotb has long kept odd hours. But now that she’s mom to two small girls, Haley Joy, 5, and Hope Catherine, 3, she finds the schedule strangely perfect.
“Every morning I leave them a note and a map to find the note. I draw cartoons, and then I hide it so they see it before they go to school,” she says. “Then a lot of the time I’m done with work and can pick them up in the afternoon. We’re eating dinner at 5, in the bath by 6, drying off at 6:30, in the room singing all their songs. It’s over, lights out, click, at 7, and I’m usually out by 7:30 because I have to get up at 3 a.m. I don’t know what I’m going to do when they’re teenagers, but I’ve been digging this weird time for us. I’m on a child’s schedule!”
For Kotb, building her life around her children has brought a greater joy than she could have imagined.
“Family to me is everything— and having one of my own is something I never thought I’d have,” says the 58-year-old, who first became a mother through adoption in 2017 at age 52 after a breast cancer battle and a subsequent divorce left her assuming motherhood wasn’t in the cards.
“I always imagined family as my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister,” she explains. “I envisioned it that way until I was 50. Imagine someone saying, ‘Hey, guess what? You’re actually going to have a whole other family.’ It still surprises me! It delights me to know that I have Haley and Hope. They fell asleep on me yesterday after having meltdowns, and I sang to them, and in that moment I was just thinking to myself, ‘I get to feel these things. We get to have this together.’ It blows my mind that I get to have this adorable little family that’s just right for me.”
“Sometimes relationships evolve. Sometimes perfectly nice people can go their separate ways. Sometimes a relationship ends on your last breath, and sometimes it ends before that, and that’s okay,” she says, adding that there’s no ill will between them. “I don’t regret one day, not one minute, not one second of our time together because it brought me here. I have two incredible children I share with him. And it’s because of Joel that I have Haley and Hope, without question. I think I might have been too afraid to do it alone. That’s not something I love to admit, but it’s true.”
With Haley entering kindergarten and Hope soon off to pre-K in Manhattan, the family has been enjoying summer by the beach at their home in New York State.
“The beach is our happy place,” says Kotb. “They’re into bubbles and swimming. They’re into sand crabs and snails. They scoop them up and put them in buckets. They’re into ice cream, sprinkles —all the summer things.”ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!