The 58-year-old journalist gushed over the toddler, who is now “home and good,” during the Monday, March 6, episode of Today With Hoda & Jenna. “She’s vibrant and brilliant,” Kotb added. “I’m over the moon that she’s home.”
The Emmy winner told viewers that she felt “blessed” and “really, really grateful” that Hope is on the mend. “I can’t believe how amazing people are,” she said, thanking the doctors and nurses who “stood by [Hope] all the way.”
Kotb revealed earlier Monday morning that her youngest child was in the ICU, which prompted her two-week absence from the NBC morning show. The broadcaster last appeared live on Today on February 17, with Craig Melvin later explaining that Kotb was experiencing a “family health matter” but would return soon.
As she detailed her daughter’s recovery, the Oklahoma native recalled a sweet interaction she had with Hope. “The other day … she had in her hand two little confetti stars, and she said, ‘I got two, Mom. One for me and one for you,'” she recounted on Monday. “And I thought to myself, ‘Even when she’s not feeling good, she’s still giving everything away.'”
Sheinelle Jones filled in for Kotb on the February 21 and 22 episodes alongside cohost Jenna Bush Hager, doing so again on February 27. Tom Llamas also stepped in for the Virginia Tech alum during the February 24 episode, as Savannah Guthrie explained at the top of the show, “Hoda’s off today,” though she didn’t specify why.
On February 27, Kotb — who shares daughters Haley, 6, and Hope with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman — shared a cryptic message with fans via Instagram. Posting a picture of a sign that read “Choose hope,” she simply captioned the post with three red heart emojis.
Fans of the longtime TV personality flooded the post’s comments section with their well-wishes. One fan wrote, “Today show just isn’t the same without you! I hope you’re ok, but boy if they are letting you go … people are going to drop like flys [sic] watching Today,” adding at the end, “We love you Hoda!”
Amid Kotb’s exit, Guthrie, 51, also began her break from Today after testing positive for COVID-19 on February 28. “As we said, Savannah left early, she wasn’t feeling great, so she took a COVID test. It came back positive,” Jones, 44, explained during the February 28 episode, which saw Willie Geist fill in for the broadcaster. “So, as soon as we found out, she rushed home to rest up. So Savannah, we love you, wishing you a speedy recovery.”