With Father’s Day less than a week away, Hoda Kotb has opened up about her ‘larger-than-life’ dad and how she used to think he was the vice president of the United States when she was a kid, saying he taught her that she ‘could be anything and do anything.’
The Today anchor’s parents, Abdel Kader and Sameha Kotb, lived in Egypt before immigrating to the U.S. to raise their family. She was a junior in college when her dad died of a heart attack at the age of 51.
‘It was like one of those calls in the night that you go, “Oh my Gosh,”‘ Hoda, 55, said on Monday’s show of the moment she learned her father had passed away.
Looking back: Hoda Kotb, 55, remembered her late father, Abdel Kader, on the Today show on Monday, saying he was ‘such a hard worker’
Inspiration: Hoda, pictured with her father and sister, Hala, said her dad taught them that they ‘could be anything and do anything’
‘He just led by example. He was someone who was such a hard worker,’ she recalled of her father, who worked as a fossil energy specialist. ‘They came here from Egypt, you know, and they really made their life.’
Hoda explained that her dad ended up becoming the president of his own company, but she used to think he was the vice president of the country.
‘I used to have dreams that my dad couldn’t be the real president, but he could be the vice president — because he wasn’t born here,’ she explained. ‘I remember waking up believing my dad was vice president.
‘It’s weird talking to you about this,’ she told her co-host Jenna Bush Hager, whose father, George W. Bush, served as the 43rd president of the United States.
Memories: The Today anchor told her co-host, former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager, that she used to think her father was vice president of the United States when a he was a kid
Loss: Hoda’s parents Abdel and Sameha, pictured, lived in Egypt before immigrating to the U.S. She was a junior in college when her dad died of a heart attack at the age of 51
‘But I used to think that because he was such a larger-than-life figure in our lives,’ said Hoda, who has a brother, Adel, and a sister, Hala.
‘He just taught us about hard work, getting it done, and we just all believed we could be anything and do anything. They taught us that, my mom and dad.’
Hoda noted that she still dreams about her father and thinks about him more than 30 years after his death.
‘I wonder what he would think about this life you’ve created,’ Jenna, 38, said.
Family: Hoda and her fiancé, Joel Schiffman, have two adopted daughters, Haley Joy, three, and Hope Catherine, one
Doting grandma: Hoda’s mother, Sameha, is pictured with her granddaughter Haley
Hoda and her fiancé, Joel Schiffman, have two adopted daughters, Haley Joy, three, and Hope Catherine, one.
While speaking with DailyMail.com in 2018, she shared how her father’s memory influenced her decision to become a mom in her 50s.
‘I think any older mom who says they haven’t done the math is probably lying. I’ve absolutely thought about it and what it means. What it means for the future,’ she said. ‘But my dad passed away when he was in his early 50s and I was in my early 20s…
‘I was a junior in college. It was sudden, and scary, and terrible. But the seeds he lay for me during those 20 years, remain with me today. The things he taught me are still a part of me now.’