Hoda Kotb said she feels ‘good and strong’ about her decision to split from her fiancé Joel Schiffman, but admitted that she is not dating at the moment, so that she could ‘focus on her kids.’
The mom-of-two, 57, first revealed that she and Joel, 64, had split back in January on her show, Hoda & Jenna, explaining that the former couple were ‘better as friends and parents than they are as an engaged couple’.
Now, she has spoken out about the breakup while attending the Today show’s 70th anniversary celebration on Wednesday, revealing exclusively to DailyMail.com that she has no regrets.
‘We all make choices that are for us, and I feel strong and I feel good about my decision,’ she told us. ‘I’m just kind of marching on with life.’
The Today show host – who shares adopted daughters Hope Catherine, three, and Haley Joy, five, with Joel – admitted that she currently has no interest in dating, since her main priority is her children.
Hoda Kotb said she feels ‘good and strong’ about her decision to split from her fiancé Joel Schiffman (pictured in 2019), and admitted she is not dating so she could ‘focus on her kids’
The 57-year-old Today anchor spoke to DailyMail.com about the break-up, which she announced in January, at an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Today show
She said she feels ‘strong and good’ about her decision to split from the financer, adding that she is ‘just kind of marching on with life.’ The exes are pictured together in 2018
‘No, I think especially when you have kids, you take a beat [after going through a breakup],’ she said, when asked if she was currently looking for a new man. ‘I’m focusing on them.’
Back in January, the TV star confirmed that she had called off her engagement to long-time partner Joel – with whom she had been in a relationship for eight years – during the morning show.
At the time, she said they were ‘better as friends and parents than they were as an engaged couple,’ while insisting that there was no bad blood between the two of them.
‘Joel and I have had a lot of prayer and meaningful conversations over the holidays and we decided that we are better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple,’ the talk show host said.
‘So we decided we are going to start this new year on our new path as loving parents to our adorably delightful children and as friends.
‘Its not like something happened. They say sometimes relationships are meant to be there for a reason, a season or a lifetime, this was for a season.’
During the episode, Hoda, who brought it up after her co-host Jenna Bush Hager pointed out that she wasn’t wearing her engagement ring, said it felt ‘weird and awkward’ to talk about it publicly, but added that she wanted to focus on the ‘joyous moments’ they had together.
She continued: ‘A lot of women know what this feels like to be changing course in life I feel really breathe in this moment which is a strange feeling to feel. Sometimes in your life, you have to say the truth.’
The Today host – who shares daughters Hope Catherine, three, and Haley Joy, five, with Joel – said currently she has no interest in dating, since her main priority is her children
Hoda and Joel (pictured with their kids and Hoda’s mom, Sameha Kotb in 2021) met in 2013 at a book signing. They went public with their relationship in 2015 and got engaged in 2019
Now, while chatting with DailyMail.com, she opened up about going through the breakup in the public eye.
‘I love that people care and that people are interested, but I think like anyone in this world, [I’m] the one who has to get up in the morning with [my] life and go to sleep with it,’ she said, adding that she is ‘grateful that people care and want to check in’ on her, but that she is trying to deal with it ‘privately.’
The pair first met in 2013 at a book signing. Joel attended as a fan, but right away, they hit it off.
Hoda and Joel’s relationship timeline
- 2013: The couple first met in the summer of 2013 at a book signing. Joel attended as a fan but they hit it off right away. Afterwards, they got in contact through someone who was running the event and eventually started dating
- 2015: The pair didn’t go public with their relationship until two years later, in 2015
- 2016: Hoda and Joel took a big step when they moved in together in October 2016, buying a luxury apartment in New York City
- 2017: In February 2017, they adopted their first child, a baby girl who they named Haley Joy
- 2019: Two years later, they adopted another baby girl, named Hope Catherine. The pair also got engaged that year – with Joel popping the question in November 2019 during a romantic getaway to Mexico
- 2020: The couple was supposed to say their ‘I dos’ in a beachside ceremony in Mexico in August 2020, but like many people that year, they had to postpone their nuptials because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They then moved the wedding to November 2020 – marking the one-year anniversary of their engagement – but that also had to be pushed back. In 2020, Hoda also revealed that she and Joel had desires to adopt a third child together exclusively to DailyMail.com
- 2021: However, in July 2021 – nine months after she confirmed that the couple were in the process of trying to bring another baby into their family – she revealed that it was taking a lot longer than she expected. At the time, she claimed it was delayed because of the pandemic
- 2022: Just weeks after the couple rang in the New Year together, Hoda announced that they were calling off their engagement and going their separate ways
‘It was one of those events they ask us to speak at and it was pouring rain and it was a bunch of Wall Street guys. I didn’t even want to go,’ she previously recalled of the day they met.
‘They asked me to sign some books and one guy is like, “Can you sign it to my grandma?”
‘And this guy walks up and he’s like, “I’ll take a book.” And I was like, “Who do you want me to write it to – your girlfriend, your wife, your aunt?” And he goes, “Write it to me.”‘
Afterwards, they got in contact through someone who was running the event and they eventually started dating. They went public with their relationship in 2015.
‘It’s almost been two years, so you know what we decided: Why not? Joel is out from the shadows!’ she said on the show after they went public. ‘I feel some relief. I talked to him this morning and he said, “Who cares?” Who cares!’
In February 2017, they adopted baby girl Haley Joy, after Hoda spent years believing that parenthood would never be on the cards for her.
Hoda, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42 years old, came out of treatment unable to conceive.
She was originally nervous to bring up the topic of adoption to Joel, but resolved to have the emotional conversation nonetheless.
‘I remember when I went to speak to Joel about it… my heart was pounding. I think I was afraid of the answer, to be honest. But I knew I had to say something, I had to ask,’ she exclusively told DailyMail.com in 2018.
‘When I went to speak to him, he could tell there was something up, and I think he was just thinking, “What is happening?”‘
And when Hoda told him she wanted to pursue adoption with him, she made it clear that he should feel free to take as much time as he needed to ponder that possibility.
‘Take a day, a month, a year, whatever you need to think about it, and you can just let me know when you’re ready,’ she said, recounting the conversation. ‘And he just looked at me and said, “I don’t need a day.”‘
Hoda was overwhelmed by Joel’s immediate commitment.
‘I could have died,’ she continued. ‘I was crying so hard, I soaked his T-shirt. It was incredible. And they have an amazing relationship.’
Two years later, they adopted another baby girl named Hope Catherine.
‘We like the idea of Haley [having] a sibling because she has had such interesting circumstances to grow up. So it would be nice to be able to share it with somebody,’ she told Entertainment Tonight, of their decision to have a second child.
Joel, a financier, proposed to Hoda in November 2019 while they were enjoying a romantic getaway in Mexico, but they had to cancel their wedding twice due to the pandemic.
While chatting with DailyMail.com on Wednesday, Hoda said she is ‘grateful that people care and want to check in’ on her, but added that she is trying to deal with the split ‘privately’
Joel, a financier, proposed to Hoda in November 2019 while they were enjoying a romantic getaway in Mexico. They are pictured right after he proposed
‘We went for our usual vacation we ended up having a little dinner on the beach, and I was like… we were done with the dinner and I was eating the churros, like licking the bottom of the bowl, and he was like: “I have something else I’d like to say,”‘ she previously said of the moment Joel got down on his knee and popped the question.
‘He said some beautiful things and then he got down on one knee and he said, “Will you be my wife?” And I said, “Yes!”‘
The couple was supposed to say their ‘I dos’ in a beachside ceremony in Mexico in August 2020, but like many people that year, they had to postpone their nuptials because of COVID-19.
Sparkler: After saying yes, Hoda showed off her stunning engagement ring on her show, revealing a radiant cut diamond that was surrounded by blue stones, likely sapphires
They then moved the wedding to November 2020 – marking the one-year anniversary of their engagement – but that also had to be pushed back.
In 2020, Hoda revealed that she and Joel had desires to adopt a third child together exclusively to DailyMail.com.
‘Sometimes I do think speaking something out loud sort of wills it into existence, weirdly,’ she said of her wish to grow her family.
‘You know, it’s almost like if you have a secret desire or dream you can even just whisper it. And if you do, there’s a chance you’re just giving it validity.
‘And, [then] again, you don’t want to say something out loud because what if it doesn’t happen.
‘We don’t know what will happen. I mean, we hope, we pray, we want it to, and we feel like we have enough love and room. You know, so far, our family is just getting better.’
However, in July 2021 – nine months later – she revealed that it was taking a lot longer than she expected. At the time, she claimed it was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘You know what’s funny about the adoption stuff that’s going on now, apparently it’s really slow during this time, during COVID,’ she said during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, before admitting: ‘I thought that it would be a different game.’
Since going their separate ways, the exes are now co-parenting their two kids, with the star previously calling it a ‘really nice, easy situation’
She told Us Weekly in April that they were doing their ‘best,’ adding, ‘We make sure that the kids get plenty of him and plenty of me.’ Joel is pictured with their kids before the split
Hoda went on to explain that she and Joel had been told by their adoption agency that the pandemic has prompted many people who might normally want to give up their babies to ‘hold onto’ them instead.
‘They said that people who maybe normally would feel like it would be something they would want to do – have a child and then give it to someone to raise because they couldn’t – are holding onto things because they don’t have anything in that moment,’ the news anchor shared. ‘That’s what I’ve heard from our agency, that everything is slow.’
However, Hoda insisted at the time that the former couple was not giving up hope of expanding their brood.
‘They say wait wisely and just be. So we’re just going to be,’ she added.
Since going their separate ways, the exes are now co-parenting their two kids, with the star previously calling it a ‘really nice, easy situation.’
‘He sees the kids,’ Hoda told Us Weekly back in April. ‘He takes them to school some, and he sees them on weekends. We’ve got a really nice, easy situation.’
She said they were doing their ‘best,’ adding, ‘We make sure that the kids get plenty of him and plenty of me.’
At the time, she confirmed that she and Joel were still ‘close friends,’ and that she was ‘not really dating.’
‘I think love is a funny thing. Like, you heart has a large capacity and who knows what fills it up. But I think whatever it is, you’ve got to be open and ready,’ she told the mag.