Hoda Kotb (/ˈhoʊdə ˈkɒtbiː/ HOH-də KOT-bee; Arabic: هدى قطب Hudā Quṭb Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈhodæ ˈʔotˤb], born August 9, 1964) is an American broadcast journalist, television personality, and author. She is of Egyptian descent and is a main co-anchor of the NBC News morning show Today, and co-host of its entertainment-focused fourth hour. Kotb formerly served as a correspondent for the television news magazine program Dateline NBC.
Kotb was born in Norman, Oklahoma and grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and Alexandria, Virginia. She lived in New Orleans, Louisiana throughout the 1990s. Kotb’s parents are from Egypt. Kotb and her family lived in Egypt for a year, as well as in Nigeria. She has a brother, Adel, and a sister, Hala. Her mother, Sameha (“Sami”), works at the Library of Congress. Her father Abdel Kader Kotb was a fossil energy specialist and was listed in the Who’s Who of Technology. He died at the age of 51 in 1986.
During a 92nd Street Y interview, Kotb hinted at her Muslim roots when she recounted her memories of annual summer vacations in Egypt and her veiled cousins and how her parents’ migration to the United States had spared Hoda from having to do the same:
We met our cousins who looked just like us. Some of them had the head cover on. I still remember going, ‘Oh, my God. Like that could have been me.’ You don’t realize the gift your parents give you when you leave.
Kotb similarly indirectly spoke about her family’s Muslim background in her autobiography when she described attempts at match-making by her relatives in Egypt:
During my visit, I’d be sitting on the couch and there’d come a knock-knock at the door. ‘Hoda, someone’s at the door for yooooouuuu … ‘ Oh, Lord. ‘This is Mohammed. He’s from Cairo. He’s studying engineering … and he has a Mercedes.’ Really? He also has on a long white man dress. Okay, call it a dishdash.
Kotb makes no mention of any Coptic ancestry in her autobiography as some online articles have incorrectly claimed.
She graduated from Fort Hunt High School in 1982. She was elected homecoming queen and selected to speak at her graduating class’s baccalaureate service. In her college years at Virginia Tech, Kotb was a member of Delta Delta Delta women’s sorority, Beta Nu Chapter. In 1986 Kotb graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism. Kotb was the keynote speaker at her alma mater for the 2008 Virginia Tech graduation, and in her speech, played Metallica‘s “Enter Sandman” over her iPod. In 2010 Kotb was elected to a three-year term to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Kotb was co-host on the fourth hour of the Today Show alongside Kathie Lee Gifford since 2008. She has also been a correspondent for Dateline NBC since 1998. Kotb occasionally filled in as the co-anchor of Today for Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer. Beginning in March 2017, Kotb was added as a third co-anchor of Today (although she wasn’t present for the first half-hour.)
After Lauer was dismissed following accusations of sexual misconduct, Kotb joined Guthrie as interim co-host for the first two hours of the show, and on January 2, 2018, she was named the official co-host, creating the first female duo for the show, departing from the long-time pattern of a mixed gender pair.
Kotb wrote a New York Times Bestselling autobiography, Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee, which was released in hardcover in October 2010.
On January 15, 2013, she released her second book, Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives, in which she chronicles six stories by identifying a life-changing event in each subject’s life and then revisiting each of those six people a decade later.
In 2016, Kotb released her third book, Where They Belong: The Best Decisions People Almost Never Made, which features a selection of various stories of inspiring people who “found themselves” in completely unexpected moments or unforeseen circumstances. Kotb released her fourth book, I’ve Loved You Since Forever, in 2018, which was adapted into a song by Kelly Clarkson.
In 2005, Kotb married former University of New Orleans tennis coach Burzis Kanga. The marriage ended in divorce in 2008.
In March 2007, Kotb underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer and has since become an advocate for breast cancer awareness. Kotb allowed Today Show cameras to follow her throughout her cancer battle. After she was declared cancer-free, her story was documented on the show.
In January 2015, Kotb said she has been in a relationship with New York financier Joel Schiffman for two years.
On February 21, 2017, Kotb announced on the Today Show that she had adopted a baby girl named Haley Joy Kotb.