Inside Hoda Kotb’s most controversial moments from Today Show absence to split with fiancé and LIVE weigh-in on TV

HODA Kotb has been a familiar face on television for decades, working as a news correspondent and host on The Today Show.

However, Hoda is no stranger to criticism as her long career has seen some controversy, from on-air gaffes to mysterious absences from TV.

Hoda Kotb has had a long career on television, which has earned her a few mishaps on airCredit: Getty

Earlier this year, she announced her breakup with fiancé Joel Schiffman, with whom she shares two daughters

Earlier this year, she announced her breakup with fiancé Joel Schiffman, with whom she shares two daughtersCredit: Instagram/Hoda Kotb

Hoda has most recently been in headlines ahead of her interview with Prince Harry, which is set to air on the Today Show at 7am EST (12pm BST) on Wednesday.

Another memorable moment came earlier this year, when Hoda announced that she and fiancé Joel Schiffman were splitting after eight years together.

Hoda revealed the breakup while on air.


She told viewers: “Joel and I have had a lot of prayerful and meaningful conversations over the holidays and we decided that we are better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple.

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“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.”

Hoda and Schiffman share two daughters – Hope, two, and Haley, four.

The former couple had been together since 2013 and became engaged in November 2019.

Hoda and financier Joel met after she spoke at an event for Wall Street professionals.

On November 25, 2019, she announced live on Today that she was engaged to him.

“I was totally shocked,” she told the Today panel. “He had a good poker face.”

“We ended up having a little dinner on the beach,” she said, clarifying that the two were in the middle of a tropical vacation.

“And he was like, ‘I have something else I would like to say,’ and he said some beautiful things, and then he got down on one knee. Then he said, ‘Would you be my wife?”’

They had originally planned on getting married in 2020 but had to postpone due to the pandemic.

Hoda had shared of the wedding plans at the time: “[It] would mean people are getting on planes, so we were kind of holding out to see what could happen.

“But the destination that we were going to is turning into one of the hot spots, so it looks like we may have to postpone.

“We’re kind of bummed about that because the place we were going was like our favorite place on Earth. We love it there.”

Later that year, the TV personality revealed that she and Joel were planning to expand their family and adopt a third child.

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Hoda said in 2020: “Joel and I have had this conversation because — you feel like you get a limited amount of time on Earth and your heart expands, and sometimes you don’t realize your heart’s ability to expand until you’ve filled (it), and sometimes you think you’re at the top, and then you realize that there’s more room.

“And we wondered, would our family be better with another child? Do we have enough love? Do we have enough time? Will we be a better family? And the answer to all those questions seems to be yes.

“But you can’t control how life works. All we can do is put it into the universe and fill out papers and then wait and if it happens wow, you know, that was meant to be.”

Announcing the pair’s split during the third hour of Today, Hoda explained that she had been getting a lot of questions from viewers about why she was no longer wearing her engagement ring.

Though she admitted it felt “weird and awkward” to talk about this and was “struggling” with what to say, she wanted to be open with fans and let them know what was happening.

Hoda added in the explanation of her split from her financier fiancé: “It’s 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.”


In December 2021, Hoda was noticeably absent from The Today Show. Guests filled in her spot with co-host Jenna Bush Hager on Today’s fourth hour.

Hoda returned later that month, surprising viewers watching from home. Many wondered why she hadn’t been seen for so long.

It turned out that Hoda had decided to take a break away from technology.

“I went to this retreat where they take your phone again,” she told Jenna.

Hoda added that she was going to make an effort to only use her phone when she needs it “after going almost 10 days without it.”

She said the experience had impacted her and now she doesn’t want to go back to being hunched over her phone.

Fans quickly went to the comments of the Today Show’s Instagram once they saw that Hoda was back, thanking the host for reminding them to spend less time on their phones.

“Welcome back, Hoda. 😍 you were missed and so glad you’re back!!!,” wrote one fan.

“So happy for Hoda. She truly needed the rest,” wrote another.

A third wrote: “It’s great to hear you had a great vacation Hoda!!”

Hoda promised that she would dedicate herself to keeping her screen time to a minimum as much as she can.

“I asked myself the simplest question, ‘Was I happier with it or happier without it?’ And I was happier without it,” she said.

“I usually have a fad of doing it, this isn’t that fad. And I realized I feel different … I feel so free and so clear and so not me.”

On Friday, January 7, viewers of The Today Show once again noticed that Hoda was absent from her hosting duties, this time for two days in a row.

She revealed her lack of presence on the famed morning broadcast was due to contracting Covid-19.


Hoda and co-host Jenna got into hot water back in 2019 when the two decided to weigh themselves on live TV.

The hosts took on the intermittent fasting diet and weighed themselves to take note of their potential progress.

“We’re doing it to be healthy,” said Jenna, with Hoda adding, “And to improve our brain health.”

Hoda weighed 158 pounds while Jenna, who had then just given birth to her son Hal a few months ago, weighed 171 pounds.

The stunt drew criticism from members of the audience and the hosts admitted that they should have put a little more thought into the decision.

“I, for a second, was transported to when I was like a chubby little girl,” said Jenna, “and found a scale in my mom’s room and weighed myself. And, I, for a moment, was stuck there.

“All I heard was that. It made me feel kind of bad. I weighed myself, the last time when I was in college when I weighed a lot less, so it was a shock, it really was.”

Hoda added, “Look, we feel grateful. Don’t get us wrong. We’re healthy, my God, no one knows better how much that matters.

“There’s something about standing on the scale and watching the number, like, not stop. I was like, ‘Wait, I don’t remember this number.'”

The hosts received flack from viewers who accused them of body-shaming, but Hoda said they learned “a lesson.”

“I do think we’re doing this because we want to feel better. We want to feel better for our girls. We want to feel happier.”

Jenna said, “We teach our girls that they’re so much more than the way we look. That they’re brilliant and interesting and funny and smart and caring and compassionate and that there’s so much more in life than a number on the scale.”

Hoda revealed on air that she and her fiancé split

Hoda revealed on air that she and her fiancé splitCredit: Getty

Hoda has been a member of NBC News since 1998

Hoda has been a member of NBC News since 1998Credit: NBC

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