News, Culture & Society

Natalie Morales tearfully signs off from the Today show after 22 years

Natalie Morales wiped away tears as she bid goodbye to her Today show colleagues on Friday morning, as she departed NBC News after 22 years to take on a new gig as a co-host on The Talk.

Last month, the 49-year-old was announced as Sharon Osbourne’s replacement on the CBS chat show, where she has joined co-hosts Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots, Jerry O’Connell, and Akbar Gbajabiamila since October 11   

But today Natalie bid a tearful farewell to her Today co-hosts — including Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin — who toasted her with champagne as she read off an emotional letter to viewers recounting her time on the morning show.

Natalie Morales wiped away tears as she bid goodbye to her Today show colleagues on Friday morning

She is departing NBC News after 22 years to take on a new gig as a co-host on The Talk

She is departing NBC News after 22 years to take on a new gig as a co-host on The Talk

She is departing NBC News after 22 years to take on a new gig as a co-host on The Talk

Natalie bid a tearful farewell to her Today co-hosts and wiped away tears discussing the 'connection to our viewers,' calling the time 'extraordinary'

Natalie bid a tearful farewell to her Today co-hosts and wiped away tears discussing the ‘connection to our viewers,’ calling the time ‘extraordinary’

While Natalie read her letter, highlights from her lengthy career at the Today show played on screen — and she admitted she got emotional while putting it together. 

After reading her letter, Natalie fielded kind words from her colleagues, including Savannah, who also teared up as she spoke.

‘We love you so much, Natalie, you’re such a treasure,’ she said. ‘I just think about what a great friend you’ve been to all of us. Actually, you were a friend to me when I needed it most. I just adore you, you know that.’

Hoda added: ‘I think that highlight reel really did show the work you did, but that’s nothing compared to what you meant in this room.’

Carson said that watching Natalie’s highlight reel, ‘you realize how good you were and are at everything. You are like the Avengers all in one, no matter what the task, what the story, you were there.

‘For 22 years,’ said Al, ‘no matter what you’ve done, Natalie, you’re still the same person. You’re wonderful, warm. You’ve always been a good friend to everybody who’s been here. You treat everybody equally. I adore you.’

Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin toasted her with champagne

Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Daly, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin toasted her with champagne

Savannah Guthrie, also tearful, called Natalie a 'treasure' and 'great friend,' while Hoda pointed out 'what you meant in this room'

Savannah Guthrie, also tearful, called Natalie a ‘treasure’ and ‘great friend,’ while Hoda pointed out ‘what you meant in this room’

Carson said Natalie is good 'at everything, while Al called her 'wonderful [and] warm and said: 'I adore you'

Carson said Natalie is good ‘at everything, while Al called her ‘wonderful [and] warm and said: ‘I adore you’

She described it as 'sacred' to be 'accepted in people's homes' and told her co-hosts she loved them

She described it as ‘sacred’ to be ‘accepted in people’s homes’ and told her co-hosts she loved them

‘The love is felt all around,’ said Natalie. ‘I love all of you guys.’

She also shared her love for viewers, explaining how important the connection she has to them has been all these years.

‘Just seeing my children grow up, and realizing I’ve had people over the years [day], “I was pregnant when you were pregnant,” or “I ran my first marathon when you ran your first marathon.” It’s that connection to our viewers,’ she said.

‘I grew up with them, and I feel like we all have been on this journey forever, which is so special, and it truly is extraordinary. It’s a sacred place to be here, and to be allowed and accepted in people’s homes in the morning. So I really honor that and thank you for all these years.’

She highlighted the viewers, in particular, in a letter she read at the beginning of the segment.

‘Dear viewers,’ she said. ‘From the minute I stepped in front of the camera and into your living rooms, I knew it was an honor to be part of your morning tradition, the most sacred time. 

Natalie read off an emotional letter to viewers recounting her time on the morning show

Natalie read off an emotional letter to viewers recounting her time on the morning show

'With you, I’ve had a front seat to moments that captured our hearts, moments I will forever cherish as I witnessed history,' she said

‘With you, I’ve had a front seat to moments that captured our hearts, moments I will forever cherish as I witnessed history,’ she said

'I traveled the country with some of America’s leaders and covered the most incredible stories,' she said

‘I traveled the country with some of America’s leaders and covered the most incredible stories,’ she said

'From the minute I stepped in front of the camera and into your living rooms, I knew it was an honor to be part of your morning tradition, the most sacred time,' she said

‘From the minute I stepped in front of the camera and into your living rooms, I knew it was an honor to be part of your morning tradition, the most sacred time,’ she said

'So many extraordinary people touched our lives, trusting us with their awe-inspiring journeys,' she went on

‘So many extraordinary people touched our lives, trusting us with their awe-inspiring journeys,’ she went on

‘With you, I’ve had a front seat to moments that captured our hearts, moments I will forever cherish as I witnessed history.

‘I traveled the country with some of America’s leaders and covered the most incredible stories — like the rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days. Together we witnessed a miracle. 

‘I have enjoyed two royal weddings and held court in London awaiting the first royal birth in decades. Events forever on my highlight reel.

‘And even when the stories broke out hearts, I found hope and inspiration in so many who’ve triumphed, like Celeste Corocoran and her daughter Sydney, survivors who a year later helped her sister, Carmen Acabo, finally cross the finish line never reached in Boston. I, too, was inspired to run and raised thousands for their cause thanks to your support.

‘So many extraordinary people touched our lives, trusting us with their awe-inspiring journeys,’ she went on. 

‘We raised an entire group of kids as I followed the class of 2020 from kindergarten to their senior year. 

Natalie played a highlight reel of some of her segments and reflected on covering tragedies, heartwarming stories, the Olympics, and celebrities

Natalie played a highlight reel of some of her segments and reflected on covering tragedies, heartwarming stories, the Olympics, and celebrities

'With you, I’ve had a front seat to moments that captured our hearts, moments I will forever cherish as I witnessed history,' she said

‘With you, I’ve had a front seat to moments that captured our hearts, moments I will forever cherish as I witnessed history,’ she said

'And even when the stories broke out hearts, I found hope and inspiration in so many who've triumphed,' she said

‘And even when the stories broke out hearts, I found hope and inspiration in so many who’ve triumphed,’ she said

'I had an audience with some of the most compelling guests of our day and celebrities from one carpet to another,' she said

‘I had an audience with some of the most compelling guests of our day and celebrities from one carpet to another,’ she said

'Never one to shy away from a chance to try something new, I’ve had so many amazing adventures,' she said

‘Never one to shy away from a chance to try something new, I’ve had so many amazing adventures,’ she said

‘And when the world celebrated, I got to hang with the contenders while covering eight Olympics, from Athens to Tokyo.

‘I had an audience with some of the most compelling guests of our day and celebrities from one carpet to another.

‘Never one to shy away from a chance to try something new, I’ve had so many amazing adventures.

‘We’ve had a lot of laughs. Many at my expense, I’m sure you would agree. And have shared moments that matter most, as both my children were born. I felt your well wishes, and you have felt my joy seeing them grow up.

‘Dear viewers, you and my Today family have given me a place I will forever call home. Thank you for all those morning and the lifetime of memories we now share. With all my love and gratitude, Natalie.’ 

Natalie shared photos of her own, including one with Hoda and Savannah over which she wrote, 'Will miss these faces!'

Natalie shared photos of her own, including one with Hoda and Savannah over which she wrote, ‘Will miss these faces!’

She also shared a group shot with Al, Craig, Maria Shriver, and Sheinelle Jones

She also shared a group shot with Al, Craig, Maria Shriver, and Sheinelle Jones

Savannah also took to Instagram to share a heartfelt message for Natalie to mark the occasion

Savannah also took to Instagram to share a heartfelt message for Natalie to mark the occasion

Savannah also took to Instagram to share a heartfelt message for Natalie to mark the occasion

'So many adventures with this beautiful talented friend,' she wrote

‘So many adventures with this beautiful talented friend,’ she wrote

She called Natalie 'my ride or die, the Shirley to my Laverne, my karaoke soul mate and the girl I want to snag red carpet dresses with forever!'

She called Natalie 'my ride or die, the Shirley to my Laverne, my karaoke soul mate and the girl I want to snag red carpet dresses with forever!'

She called Natalie ‘my ride or die, the Shirley to my Laverne, my karaoke soul mate and the girl I want to snag red carpet dresses with forever!’

She included several photos of them together, including some at work, some at the Golden Globes, and one with drinks

She included several photos of them together, including some at work, some at the Golden Globes, and one with drinks

Meanwhile, Savannah also took to Instagram to share a heartfelt message for Natalie to mark the occasion.

She included several photos of them together, including some at work, some at the Golden Globes, and one with drinks.

‘So many adventures with this beautiful talented friend,’ she wrote, calling Natalie ‘my ride or die, the Shirley to my Laverne, my karaoke soul mate and the girl I want to snag red carpet dresses with forever! 

‘Congrats on your next adventure and such a legacy of love and integrity here at NBC!’ she said.

Natalie shared photos of her own, including one with Hoda and Savannah over which she wrote, ‘Will miss these faces!’ 

She also shared a group shot with Al, Craig, Maria Shriver, and Sheinelle Jones and wrote: ‘Thanks for having me back @todayshow and @3rdhourtoday! Loved seeing you all so much.’ 

Natalie has joined The Talk as a permanent co-host alongside Sheryl Underwood and Jerry O'Connell (Pictured, 2019)

Natalie has joined The Talk as a permanent co-host alongside Sheryl Underwood and Jerry O’Connell (Pictured, 2019) 

Natalie’s career change was announced live on The Talk on October 4, just days after DailyMail.com exclusively revealed that she was moving on from NBC after 22 years to take up Sharon Osbourne’s vacated spot.

‘I gotta say, it was the warmest welcome. You guys have embraced me with such open arms,’ she said after the big reveal on the show.

‘It’s always exciting and new to start something different and I love this new adventure that we’re going to be taking together.

‘I’ve been watching all of you while you’ve been soaring on this show. Sheryl, you have always made me feel so welcomed and such a part of the team, so I can’t wait to sit next to you.’

‘Amanda, what you have been though has shown us all how to inspire…And I know Jerry, I remember you dancing on top of a table last time you were on Access Hollywood.’

Akbar said: ‘We go way back. In fact, we were actually in Tokyo during the Olympics and we spent a good amount of time together there, 23 days out there.’

Pictured left to right are Sheryl Underwood, Jerry O'Connell and Amanda Kloots. Also pictured, former co-host Elaine Welteroth and guest Mark McGrath

Joining the fun: The other co-hosts include (L-R) Sheryl Underwood, Jerry O’Connell and Amanda Kloots. Also pictured, former co-host Elaine Welteroth and guest Mark McGrath

Amanda added: ‘It’s going to be so wonderful to have you here. I think that you have been such an example for women on TV.’ 

Natalie said that it is ‘an extraordinary opportunity to be joining this team at The Talk.’

‘I love the new energy and direction and couldn’t be more excited to join Sheryl, Amanda, Jerry, and Akbar,’ she said.

‘I’m looking forward to many good times while talking about the days’ topics, and I can’t wait to get going.’

Yet she told a photographer that it was ‘bittersweet’ to leave NBC after so many years. 

‘It’s bittersweet, I’ve had a great family there, I love my team there, but I’m happy to be moving on to something else,’ she said. 

Executives at The Talk told DailyMail.com that they hope Natalie can get the show back on track after Osbourne’s controversial departure. 

In and out: Elaine Welteroth (left) has now departed the show, while Jerry O'Connell, Sheryl Underwood, and Amanda Kloots are still part of the conversation

In and out: Elaine Welteroth (left) has now departed the show, while Jerry O’Connell, Sheryl Underwood, and Amanda Kloots are still part of the conversation 

Sharon Osbourne (center) left the show earlier this year after she and co-host Sheryl Underwood engaged in an explosive debate

Sharon Osbourne (center) left the show earlier this year after she and co-host Sheryl Underwood engaged in an explosive debate

Osbourne, 68, left the show earlier this year after she and co-host Sheryl Underwood engaged in an explosive debate. She claimed the incident was orchestrated to make her look like a racist for defending longtime friend Piers Morgan, who had himself been called a racist for his frequent criticism of Duchess Meghan Markle. 

Osbourne later issued an apology for her ‘panicked’ defense of Morgan and The Talk was placed on hiatus as an internal investigation was launched.

Allegations soon emerged that Osbourne made racist remarks about co-hosts behind the scenes at The Talk — claims which she has staunchly denied.

On March 26 CBS, announced Osbourne would be leaving her post on the show after more than a decade.

‘We need to save the show after the disastrous exit of Sharon Osbourne,’ a CBS source told DailyMail.com. ‘Natalie is a beloved star of news and her gravitas can help us turn The Talk around.’

Another CBS source said: ‘With Natalie joining Jerry, we believe we have the opportunity to float and fix a sinking ship.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk