Hoda Kotb broke down in tears during a live Today show broadcast on Friday morning after an emotional interview with NFL star Drew Brees in which she thanked him for his generosity in making a $5 million donation to victims of the coronavirus in Louisiana.
The 55-year-old mother-of-two was overcome with emotion after ending the interview with the New Orleans Saints quarterback, and was left so choked up that she couldn’t continue speaking – leaving co-star Savannah Guthrie to take over.
Hoda’s heartbreaking display came just seconds after she ended her interview with Drew, whom she praised for inspiring generosity and kindness in others with his donation. Having told him ‘we love ya’, she then turned to the camera to move on to the next story, but was unable to get the words out before breaking down.
Emotional: Hoda Kotb broke down in tears live on the Today show after interviewing NFL star Drew Brees about a $5 million donation he made to Louisiana’s coronavirus victims
Heartbreaking: After ending the interview, in which she praised Drew for his generosity, the 55-year-old was overcome with emotion and left unable to continue speaking
‘I’m sorry’: Hoda apologized to the camera several times as she tried to control her sobs, before her co-star Savannah Guthrie jumped in
As she struggled to control her sobs, Hoda shuffled papers around her desk and said, ‘I’m sorry’ to the camera, before Savannah, who is currently working from home, jumped in.
‘Oh Hoda, I know, it’s a lot,’ Savannah said, as producers brought her up on screen to give Hoda a minute to control her sobs.
‘Hoda I’m so sorry hun,’ Savannah continued, as Hoda continued to apologize for her show of emotion. ‘It’s a lot. I know where your heart is, I do.’
The mother-of-two then offered to take over reading the ‘tease’ for the next part of the show, to which Hoda replied, ‘Yes please,’ as she looked down at the desk and tried to catch her breath.
Hoda’s show of emotion came just moments after the end of her interview with Drew, 41, during which they discussed the donation made by the football player, and the devastating effect that the coronavirus has had on New Orleans – a city that Hoda has a long-standing personal connection to.
Having been born in Oklahoma, the Today anchor spent much of the 90s living in New Orleans, where she worked as an anchor for CBS affiliate WWL from 1992 to 1998.
Overcome: The mother-of-two shuffled papers around on her desk as she tried to get her sobs under control, before Savannah jumped in to take over from her colleague
Showing support: After the Today Twitter account shared a clip of Hoda crying on air, the anchor was flooded with messages of support and love
Trigger: Hoda’s heartbreaking show of emotion came just seconds after she ended an interview with Drew, 41
Hoda often talks about how she fell in love with the city during that time, and she has long been a very dedicated supporter of Drew’s team, the New Orleans Saints – something that she has happily shared with her adopted daughters, Haley Joy, three, and 11-month-old Hope Catherine, as well as her fiance Joel Schiffman.
Her on-air tears struck a chord with hundreds of viewers, many of whom tweeted words of support, love, and even appreciation for the hard-working anchor, after a clip of her crying was shared on the Today Twitter account.
‘I love that Hoda showed her emotions!’ one person wrote. ‘There is only so much people can take reporting this day after day. She cried for all of us.’
Another wrote: ‘Thanks for showing your humanity love and hope. Love you Hoda!’
‘It’s comforting to see others feeling just how I’m feeling,’ one Twitter user said. ‘Random tears at random moments. Thank you for being real, @hodakotb! I know @savannahguthrie just wanted to give you a hug and so did I!’
The emotional moment comes just days after Hoda celebrated her fiance Joel on his 62nd birthday with an adorable family FaceTime party in their New York home.
Celebration! The emotional moment comes just days after Hoda marked fiance Joel Schiffman’s 62nd birthday with an adorable family FaceTime party in their New York home
Party: The 55-year-old’s mother, Sameha, joined the celebrations via FaceTime, while Joel was at home with Hoda and their two daughters, Haley Joy, three, and Hope Catherine, 11 months
The 55-year-old Today anchor took to Instagram on Saturday to share images from the heartwarming celebration, revealing that the birthday boy spent his special day at home with their two daughters, Haley Joy and Hope Catherine, and a delicious-looking homemade birthday cake.
Hoda’s mother, Sameha, even joined in the fun via FaceTime, with the Today host noting that the video call was ‘the next best thing’ after her mom was unable to join them in person amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
In the photos, Hoda, Joel, Haley, three, and Hope, 11 months, are seen sitting at a table, with a big blue birthday cake placed in front of birthday boy Joel and an iPad set up, on which Sameha’s face can be seen.
The images appear to have been taken just before Joel blew out his candles; three of them can be seen stuck into the frosted sheet cake, which is covered with rainbow sprinkles.
‘Happy bday joel!!!’ Hoda captioned the sweet snaps. ‘We love you honey! Mom couldn’t be here so next best thing!’
Hoda and Joel have been together for more than six years, and got engaged in November, after the financier popped the question while the pair were on a romantic vacation in Mexico.
Meaningful: Joel’s birthday comes just four months after the couple got engaged while on vacation together in Mexico
Family first: Hoda and Joel adopted Haley in 2017, and her sister Hope last year
The TV host shared the joyful news live on the Today show at the time, happily showing off her engagement ring to her co-hosts after revealing that she had a ‘secret’ to share with them.
Hoda and asset manager Joel celebrated their anniversary in June, and she revealed while discussing the proposal that he ‘said some beautiful things’ before getting down on one knee and asking her: ‘Will you be my wife.’
Since then, Hoda has shared that she hopes to have a quiet and low-key wedding, revealing in February that she plans to leave the majority of the organization to the professionals.
‘I’m putting the planning in the hands of professionals,’ Hoda, 55, told People. ‘All I want is Joel, Haley and Hope, and my closest inner circle. I can picture Joel at the end of the aisle and Haley and Hope wondering what’s going on.’
Joel’s birthday party comes just days after Hoda revealed she would be anchoring the Today show from the NBC studios alone, while her co-star Savannah Guthrie works from home, after coming down with a sore throat and a runny nose.
Savannah made Today history last Wednesday morning when she co-anchored the morning show from her basement at home, after revealing on Tuesday night that she would be joining Hoda via video link, while sharing images of the mini studio that had been set up in her New York City basement.
WFH: On Wednesday, Hoda’s co-host Savannah made history last week when she tuned in to anchor the Today show from home, after coming down with ‘the sniffles’ and a ‘sore throat’
Something different: The 48-year-old shared images of her at-home studio set-up on Tuesday evening, revealing to Today viewers that she would not be coming into the studio
Helping hand: Savannah revealed that her husband, Mike Feldman, had been roped in to serve as a producer and technician while she works from home
Solo: Hoda remains in Studio 1A, despite a staffer on the Third Hour of Today testing positive for COVID-19
‘Hi everybody! Well, this will be a first. I’m going to be anchoring Today from my house!’ she wrote on Instagram – while insisting that she is simply acting out of ‘an abundance of caution’ and ‘to model the super vigilance the CDC has asked of us’.
‘I’m staying home because I have a mild sore throat and runny nose,’ she continued. ‘This was the advice of NBC’s superb medical team and my bosses.
‘I feel good and am sure I will be back in no time – but during these days, it’s on all of us to be extra cautious and caring of those around us.
‘So see you tomorrow on Today – from my basement!’
The news comes as it was revealed that a staffer on the Third Hour of Today had tested positive for COVID-19, which NBC revealing on Monday that it had asked hosts Al Roker and Craig Melvin to remain home and ‘trace their contacts’ to ensure they had not come into contact with the person.
As of Tuesday, both were also tuning into the show from home, with Al and Savannah both joining Hoda, 55, via video link on Wednesday morning – a first for the popular morning show.