— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 17, 2017
Everything has changed. Hoda Kotb returned to the Today show on Monday, April 17, after taking a two-month maternity leave following the adoption of her baby girl, Haley Joy. Watch the emotional clip above!
The news personality, 52, joined cohosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer at 7:30 a.m. ET on Monday morning, and couldn’t help but tear up while talking about her new life as a mom.
“It’s everything,” Kotb said of motherhood, adding that she regularly tuned into Today to see her colleagues at work. “I saw everybody,” she said, “and I’m blubbering like a baby.”
The Ten Years Later author said that she had “been a mess” the entire morning, and admitted that she was nervous to get back in front of the camera. “I’m scared to be sitting here. I’m a little afraid that I might explode into tears,” she said, to which Lauer, 59, quipped back, “I thought it was ’cause you were miserable being back and you just broke down in tears, but it’s just all of the emotions of the last two and a half months.”
Kotb agreed and told Lauer and Guthrie, 45, that she had never experienced profound joy until she welcomed her little girl. “I’m feeling great. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,” she said as she reached for a box of tissues to dry her eyes. After wiping away her tears, the Kathie Lee & Hoda cohost said, “I’m going to get professional! OK, I’m ready.”
Later on in the show, Kotb opened up about the transformative effect of motherhood in a touching pre-taped segment. “You think that by a certain stage in your life, I’ve had every experience that I’ve had, and then all of a sudden she shows up. I felt like in my life, I’ve had joy beyond what I could have imagined, but this is beyond a dream. Like, you had your dreams — and then this,” she said. “I never believed in love at first sight until now.”
The anchor also joked that her daughter “probably thinks it’s raining in her nursery, because I’m always looking at her and crying on her.” The proud mama added, “When they first handed me Haley, I was scared to hold her, and when they first put her in my arms, it was a perfect fit.”
As previously reported, Kotb — who recently celebrated nine years as cohost of the Today show with Kathie Lee Gifford on Friday, April 7 — called in to the morning show to announce the thrilling news of her adoption on Tuesday, February 21.
“She’s a Valentine’s baby. She is the love of my life,” Kotb said at the time. “I didn’t know my heart could feel like this. This is a moment in my life that I never thought would happen, and here it is, happening to me.”