With years of experience delivering harsh news for CBS and NBC, Hoda Kotb knew bad news all too well. But when she received her own health diagnosis, she initially chose to keep it to herself. Hoda was hesitant to break the news publicly, having always been on the reporting end of the cameras. It took some time, but she finally found the courage to share her story with the world, and here it is.
Renowned for her impactful storytelling on Today, Hoda Kotb has never shied away from tackling difficult subjects from all corners of the globe. Yet, amidst all the success and acclaim, one story remained concealed- her own. For some time now, the celebrated journalist had been dealing with a personal battle, one that kept her silent and withdrawn. However, she recently shared her emotional journey, a testimony to her vulnerability and resilience.
Hoda Kotb reminds us that beneath the public persona lies a person who's just as human as the rest of us. But what happened to her?
Hoda Kotb's professional journey started as a CBS News news assistant in 1986. She moved on to anchoring some local news stations before hitting the jackpot and joining NBC News in 1998. Known for her warmth, charm, and engaging personality, Hoda's journey has been one of hard work and dedication. Despite her successes, she has kept quiet about some of the biggest struggles in her life, which only adds to her already inspirational story.
Though her career was going great, she could never anticipate how her personal life would change and the struggles she was about to endure.
Hoda Kotb, once a serious news correspondent, found a brighter opportunity on Today in 2007. A year later, Kathie Lee Gifford joined the team, and the duo's easy chemistry quickly became a staple of morning television. Kotb also demonstrated her versatility by occasionally filling in for Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie as the show's main anchors. She was versatile and quickly became a favorite among many for their morning news.
Kotb had solidified herself as a beloved personality in the world of television and didn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
Hoda Kotb's career trajectory has been nothing short of extraordinary. The Egyptian-American journalist first caught viewers' attention as a contributing correspondent on Today, but it was her amicable on-air chemistry with co-anchor Savannah Guthrie that cemented her spot on the morning news show. So when Matt Lauer departed the program amidst controversy in the winter of 2017, it was only fitting that Hoda Kotb was announced as his permanent replacement.
This moment was significant because of Kotb's groundbreaking status as an Egyptian-American female journalist and because she and Guthrie became the first all-women duo to co-anchor Today's main desk.
Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie formed an instant connection on the Today show, captivating audiences with their charm and wit. The ratings proved their success, as the show beat its rival, Good Morning America, for an entire month. Hoda seemed to be doing well in every aspect of her work life and outdoing herself time and time again. However, little did viewers know that Kotb was struggling with personal issues behind the scenes.
Eventually, she received life-changing news that shook her to the core. Despite the challenges, the duo's partnership persevered, making them a force to be reckoned with. But what was really going on with Hoda?
Hoda Kotb's life seemed to be on track with a thriving career in broadcast journalism and good health. Her tenure as a student at Virginia Tech had earned her the reputation of a talented radio host on WUVT, which landed her a coveted news role at CBS right after graduation, something that's very rare for fresh graduates. However, when Kotb was hit with a severe health crisis, fate took an unexpected turn.
Until then, the TV presenter had led an active life with no visible warning signs. Despite a seemingly healthy life, her well-being changed abruptly.
Hoda Kotb's parents had left Cairo to pursue their studies and start a family in Oklahoma. Little did they know that their daughter would eventually land a news assistant job in the city they once called home. Long before she knew her life would change, all seemed great. Her first stint with CBS News was working as a news assistant in the Egyptian capital! It was a unique opportunity to work and reconnect with her roots.
Her journey from Oklahoma to Cairo was more than just a career move - it was a personal one.
As Hoda Kotb's career began to flourish, she found herself taking on more and more broadcasting roles. With ABC and CBS affiliates in Florida, Illinois, and Mississippi, she was slowly making a name for herself. It wasn't long before Kotb landed a coveted anchor-reporter position at New Orleans' WWL-TV, where she honed her skills for six years. However, her ultimate goal had always been to work at a national network.
It wouldn't be that long before she achieved that goal when she made the leap to NBC. It seemed like she took on new challenges with ease.
It seemed that Hoda Kotb had established an illustrious career in the journalism industry, including co-hosting the fourth hour of Today and hosting the Sirius XM radio show, The Hoda Show. However, her personal life has been riddled with major setbacks. In 1986, Kotb lost her father, Abel, to a heart attack. However, she opened up about his influence, revealing that he always taught her to do everything she could to chase her dreams.
Despite this tragic loss, she persevered and emerged stronger, taking his words to heart.
Her journey thus far hasn't been void of love. Hoda has had her fair share of heartbreaks. In 2012, she gushed about her budding romance with lawyer Jay Blumenkopf, but things took a turn for the worse. Just months later, the legal genius decided to call it quits, leaving Kotb in disbelief and heartbroken. It's not easy being unlucky in love, but it's important to keep a positive outlook, and that's what she did.
She continued to navigate the bumpy road of love in hopes of finding true happiness. But there were a few more hurdles left for her to jump.
Hoda had been through heartbreak before. She divorced her tennis coach husband, Burzis Kanga, only a year after they had exchanged their vows. The abrupt separation caught many off-guard since the couple had known each other for quite some time before tying the knot, and it seemed that she finally found love. Would her quest for love eventually succeed? One thing was for sure: she persevered and moved on from her past relationship woes.
While Kotb has never been one to shy away from sharing her personal life, her journey in love has had its ups and downs, and she was finally hoping for some good in her life.
Burzis Kanga revealed that he and Hoda had experienced challenging circumstances leading up to their divorce. Kanga accepted responsibility for his immaturity and the mistakes he made during their short marriage. Unfortunately, it seemed that Hoda couldn't catch a break in her love life, but her career continued to soar. Despite the difficulties she faced with love, Hoda remained a resilient and determined woman. She never stopped believing things would look up.
She had been married for such a short time; could she actually find someone who would stick around?
Despite the split, Kanga holds no animosity towards Kotb. In fact, he only has praise for her, saying she is the embodiment of class. He looks back on their time together fondly and cherishes the memories they made. Unfortunately, Kotb was dealt a tough hand when she filed for divorce the same year she received devastating news about her health. It was a trying time for her as she tried to grasp her new reality.
When she found out about her diagnosis, she wasn't quite ready to share it with the world and kept hush at first.
Hoda Kotb was already going through a whirlwind in her life when an unexpected phone call changed everything. Sitting in her office at NBC, the renowned journalist was talking to an intern when her doctor delivered a scary diagnosis that would alter the course of her future. What had been a routine check-up quickly turned into a life-altering moment that brought everything to a screeching halt. What would she do next?
With her world turned upside down, Kotb now faced an unexpected journey ahead, leaving behind the familiar path she had been walking on until now.
Hoda Kotb was unprepared for the unexpected turn of events. When her doctor called, she had never anticipated the news he would deliver. She was sitting with an intern, preparing for that day's broadcast. She didn't expect anything negative. But in the brief moments of that conversation, Kotb's optimism evaporated. The words and tone of the doctor caused a storm of uncertainty to brew within her, and she couldn't help but feel like everything was wrong.
She tried to remain calm, cool, and collected but was overcome with emotions. She sat there defeated, unsure if she should share her news.
Hoda Kotb was left stunned when her doctor broke the news to her that she had breast cancer. She was so speechless after hanging up that the only solace she found was from an intern who noticed something was wrong and gave her a hug. Hoda didn't know what was next for her or how to handle this news. She was at work and put her game face on, pretending the call didn't happen.
This act of kindness was just what Kotb needed at that moment in time, but it couldn't take away how scary it felt.
The anchor was dealing with a tough situation but kept it to herself both at work and in front of her audience. She carried on with her responsibilities at NBC, masking the difficulties she was going through. One day, something out of the ordinary happened while on a plane, and things took a turn. Suddenly, she found herself opening up to a stranger about what was going on in her life.
This unexpected encounter served as a reminder that it's okay to not always be okay and that sharing our struggles with others can lead to unexpected moments of healing.
It all started when Hoda was on a flight when a curious stranger inquired about the compression sleeve on her arm. Though she could have easily lied, she chose honesty. She confided in the fellow traveler that she had previously battled cancer, and the sleeve was to prevent swelling in her arm due to lymphedema, a side effect of her treatment. She didn't expect herself to do that, but it just happened naturally.
Sometimes, it takes courage to open up about something personal, even to a complete stranger, but she did it.
As Hoda Kotb explained to the man the importance of her compression sleeve in her battle against breast cancer, she couldn't help but wonder how he would remember her. She didn't want to be viewed as weak or sick; she wanted her image to be that of a strong woman. With a tinge of apprehension, she awaited his response. The stranger's answer took her aback. It was a sharp contrast to the encouraging words she had expected.
Cancer might change her physically, but it doesn't define her as a person. And this stranger's words helped her realize that.
During a conversation with this stranger on the plane man, he uttered words that truly struck Hoda Kotb. "Cancer is a part of who you are," he said, urging her not to feel ashamed. He then shared a choice - you can bury your struggles or use them to help others. These words motivated Kotb to turn her cancer journey into a meaningful purpose by sharing her story and experiences with others.
From that moment on, she chose to use her struggles to help and inspire others and not hide it anymore.
Kotb was deeply affected by the man's words and became inspired to initiate conversations with those around her because that's all it took to comfort her was that one conversation. She wanted to make it a daily practice and implement it into her life. To achieve this, she realized that getting her Today team on board was the perfect way. She knew that sparking conversations was crucial in fostering connections with people.
The man's powerful impact inspired her to take action, and she was determined to create meaningful interactions with her colleagues.
Hoda Kotb bravely opened up her journey battling breast cancer to the cameras. In a groundbreaking display, viewers were given an intimate look at the difficulties she faced during her recovery. Her story served as a beacon of hope to others facing the same daunting challenge. It was a way to provide valuable insight into what others can expect when fighting this disease. Her journey was not without its challenges, however.
She may have opened up about her diagnosis, which lifted a weight off her shoulders, but she still had more treatment to go through, which was scary.
It was time for her treatment to move forward, and she had to make the extremely difficult choice of undergoing a double mastectomy to battle the cancer. The procedure was a success, but she was deeply upset when she saw her scars. She shared her horror with her loved ones. Thankfully, with their support and her perseverance, Hoda began to accept and cherish her body rather than hate it, imperfections and all.
Her story of embracing her scars serves as a powerful message of self-love and acceptance, no matter the flaws we perceive in ourselves.
Going through cancer and dealing with a completely changed body was already difficult enough for Hoda Kotb. However, things got worse as she battled her sickness while simultaneously going through a divorce from Kanga. Dealing with legal and bureaucratic issues while undergoing treatment for breast cancer is less than ideal, but her strength and determination remained unshaken. Her fans couldn't help but notice how she remained strong both physically and emotionally.
Her resilience in the face of these trials was inspiring, and people couldn't help but take notice.
At first, Hoda was hesitant and almost against sharing her experience with the public. She was afraid of what people would think and was dealing with the reality of life-altering news. But eventually, she knew if she shared her personal story, it would connect and encourage many individuals to open up. Although it requires immense courage to open up and reveal one's vulnerabilities, it also empowers others in a positive way.
Eventually, Hoda announced a significant milestone that many had been eagerly anticipating.
She was ecstatic to be able to reveal that she was cancer-free finally. After publicly sharing the news of her cancer remission, the star didn't stop there. Her experience ignited a passion to raise awareness and help others fight the disease. She became a vocal advocate and eagerly attended various fundraising events. It was clear that she was just beginning her journey. Her story and determination inspired many, proving that hope and purpose can still be found even after the toughest battles.
The star continued to use her platform to educate and encourage others, proving that the fight against cancer isn't just about winning but also about making a difference.
At a Breast Cancer Research Foundation symposium and luncheon in New York City, Hoda Kotb took the stage and opened up about her life-changing diagnosis. The beloved journalist and Today show anchor inspired the packed room as she spoke about her battle with breast cancer, her journey to recovery, and the power of hope. Her heartfelt words resonated with attendees, resulting in a record amount of almost $2.5 million raised for the foundation.
Kotb’s courage and strength are a true testament to the importance of awareness, support, and the fight against this devastating disease.
Life was looking up for Hoda. She found new love with partner, Joel Schiffman. But when she was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer, she was also informed that her lifelong dream of becoming a mother may never come true. However, her desire to have kids didn't fade away, and she turned towards adoption. In February 2017, they adopted their first daughter, Haley, and in April 2019, they welcomed their second daughter, Hope.
Though they separated recently after eight years together, she still has immense love for her family.
The Today show's Al Roker bravely shared his prostate cancer diagnosis with the world, prompting his colleague and close friend Hoda Kotb to offer her unwavering support. Having experienced a difficult recovery herself, Kotb was quick to remind Roker that he was not alone in this fight. She took to social media to express her love and solidarity, writing, "We will be here for you too." It was sweet to see they were not only colleagues but friends.
It was special that they could find strength and comfort in the solidarity of their Today Show family.
Another beloved news anchor, Katie Couric, with her 40-year-long career in news anchoring, won the hearts of America. She made it her mission to open dialogue about health issues and encourage people to make sure they go to the doctor and get routine checkups. She has helped raise awareness and provide crucial information to millions. Just like Kotb, Katie Couric also found herself thrust into the national spotlight after experiencing many encounters with cancer.
She has never been one to shy away from the camera and was ready to share her journey with the public.
Katie Couric, a household name in the media industry, began her journey in 1989 when she tied the knot with her first husband, Jay Monahan. The young couple had their fairytale moment, but unfortunately, their joy was short-lived. Usually, newly-wed couples are in a state of bliss, but their lives were quickly turned upside down. Soon after their marriage, tragedy struck, leaving Couric to navigate her life and career all while in the public eye.
They could've never expected what would soon follow their wedding day, which cast a sad shadow over their relationship.
In the year 1998, Katie Couric was faced with an unimaginable tragedy as her husband, Jay Monahan, was told he had colon cancer. The diagnosis had been unexpected, leaving her utterly devastated at the thought of losing her beloved partner. Soon after the diagnosis, he passed away. It was sad and unexpected, leaving Katie suddenly widowed at only 40 years old. She was left to navigate through a whirlwind of emotions.
Though the loss was undoubtedly a difficult hurdle for her to overcome, she eventually learned to cherish the memories of her late husband and live her life in a way that would honor his memory.
When Katie Couric lost her husband to colon cancer in 1998, she felt devastated. She was left with a feeling of helplessness but also a fierce determination to ensure others didn't suffer the same fate. The loss spurred her to become an activist, dedicating herself to raising awareness and fighting for early cancer screenings. Her commitment to the cause led her to make a bold move on live television that no one had done before.
It was a moment that shocked the nation and one that changed and inspired countless lives.
In 2000, Katie Couric did something that most people would never dream of: she had a colonoscopy on live TV just two years after her husband passed away from colon cancer. For many, the idea of such an intimate medical procedure being broadcast for all to see is something they would never do. But Couric had a mission: to raise awareness about colonoscopies and the importance of early detection in preventing colon cancer.
Her bold move made headlines and sparked a conversation about a topic that was often taboo.
Katie Couric's public colonoscopy back in 2000 garnered significant attention and, with it, an unexpected outcome - an increase in colonoscopy screenings. Her influence on public health was undeniable, and today, "The Katie Couric Effect" has become a recognized term to describe how celebrities can motivate the public to take action on important matters, like preventative healthcare. It sheds light on just how powerful celebrities can be and how they can easily influence the public.
Her act of courage and transparency paved the way for other celebrities to utilize their platforms for good and help make important conversations a priority.
Katie Couric’s groundbreaking work in raising awareness about colon cancer is still making waves years after she underwent the procedure on live television. In 2018, the journalist and author returned to the spotlight by accompanying talk show host Jimmy Kimmel on his own journey to get a colonoscopy. The episode was a hit, with viewers expressing admiration for both Kimmel’s willingness to tackle the topic head-on and Couric’s ongoing commitment to spreading awareness about cancer prevention.
By participating in this important conversation, Couric continues to inspire people to take their health seriously and prioritize preventative care.
Katie has once again stepped up her game in spreading awareness; this time, she is leaving no stone unturned. Her persistence in the cause is indeed turning heads, with people taking notice of her unwavering commitment. Even if it means revisiting an unpleasant topic, Katie will stop at nothing to make a difference. Her actions are inspiring and commendable, as she goes above and beyond to create a lasting impact on the world around her.
With her strong will and determination, Katie continues to be a beacon of hope and an advocate for people to get cancer screenings. That's why she decided to do what she did next.
In a joint effort to prioritize their health, TV personality Katie and her husband, John Molner, opted for a "his and hers" colonoscopy. Despite the procedure being a serious matter, Katie added her trademark humor to the situation. Sharing witty remarks about the process, Katie exemplified how positivity and fun can make even the most unpleasant experience manageable. The couple's commitment to their health journey is an admirable testament to the importance of regular screenings.
Their shared experience underscores the importance of preventative care and truly shows her commitment to the cause because, years later, she's still advocating for cancer awareness.
The couple's commitment to their health is a reminder that preventative measures are essential. Katie and John demonstrated that approaching the procedure as a team can make it easier and more manageable despite its daunting reputation. As a result, their story is an inspiration to those who want to prioritize their health with their loved ones. It's even a sweet gesture that they underwent the procedure together to support each other.
While undergoing these routine checkups, Katie was able to catch something she would've never known about.
Katie Couric urged her followers to prioritize their health and get screened for colon cancer. After having a joint colonoscopy with her husband, Couric revealed that doctors found two polyps during her exam - a potential precursor to cancer. Couric's experience highlights the importance of regular cancer screenings, especially for those at risk due to family history or age. While undergoing a colonoscopy may seem daunting, early detection is crucial for successful treatment.
This is precisely why she is such a strong advocate for early screenings because just by getting a colonoscopy, she was able to catch potentially cancerous polyps.