On January 2, 2018, Hoda Kotb was named the co-anchor of Today, officially replacing Matt Lauer. Kotb will be joining Savannah Guthrie at the anchor desk for the first two hours of the NBC morning talk show.
Kotb has been the co-host of the show’s fourth hour alongside her good pal, Kathie Lee Gifford. The two are famed for their light-hearted segment that usually involves morning wine, gimmicks, teasing, and tons of gossip.
The American-born-but-Egyptian-by-blood Kotb was born in 1964 and has had a long career in broadcast journalism but didn’t become a household name until joining Today.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Her Parents Are Egyptian & She Lived in Egypt for a Period of Time
Kotb was born in Norman, Oklahoma, but according to About.com, she considers herself more of a West Virginian, which is where she grew-up. For college she went to Virginia Tech and graduated with a bachelor’s in broadcast journalism.
Both of Kotb’s parents are Egyptian, and Kotb’s first professional job was as a CBS news assistant in Egypt. She spent a year in Cairo staying with relatives while working there, according to TV Guide.
The name “Hoda” is Arabic and means “guidance.”
2. She Has Been a News Anchor Since the 1980s
According to her bio on NBC News, Kotb started her career as a morning news anchor and general assignment reporter for WQAD-TV, the ABC affiliate in Moline, Illinois, and was an anchor for WXVT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Greenville, Mississippi from 1986 to 1989. She then went on to land a gig as a weekend anchor and reporter for WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Florida, from 1989 to 1991.
Before joining NBC News, Kotb worked at WWL-TV, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans, where she served as an anchor and reporter for the 10 p.m. news broadcast there from 1992 through 1998.
Kotb has also been a Dateline NBC correspondent since April 1998.
Now, she is the co-host of the fourth hour of NBC’s Today. She began co-hosting the 10 a.m. hour when it debuted in September 2007, with Kathie Lee Gifford. In addition to the lighthearted morning hour, Kotb still does work with Dateline NBC.
According to her NBC News biography, from 2004 to 2008, Kotb served as the host of the weekly syndicated series “Your Total Health.”
Throughout her career, Kotb has traveled to places like Southeast Asia to cover the effects of the 2004 tsunami and war-torn Myanmar. Kotb has co-anchored specials, like the MSNBC one on race, “Shades of Hope…Shadows of Hate.”
In 2010, Kotb won a News & Documentary Emmy for her coverage of “Miracle on the Hudson.” In 2006, she won a Peabody Award for her work on the hour-long documentary “The Education of Ms. Groves.” Kotb still works as a correspondent for Dateline.
3. She Fought Breast Cancer
Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and kept it private until October 2007 when she opened up about her battle on Today in an interview with then-anchor Ann Curry. She was 43 and otherwise healthy—exercising regularly and eating right—at the time of her diagnosis, and had not had a mammogram, like most doctors recommend women do regularly once they reach age 40.
“It was her gynecologist who discovered three lumps in her breast during a routine checkup and insisted Hoda check it out.”
Kotb had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Rather than undergoing chemotherapy treatments, Kotb decided to take Tamoxifen, a sort of pill form of chemo that she would take every day for the next five years. While fighting cancer, the pill also interrupts the reproductive system.
“Every time I swallow those pills, the pills are doing two things to me. They’re fighting my cancer and they’re taking away any opportunity to ever have a kid…And I know when I swallow them what I’m doing every time. It’s hard to choke them down. It’s really hard to put them down. But I take them every day, every night,” Kotb told Today in 2007.
Kotb is nine years cancer free now and has been a part of several initiatives to raise awareness about the disease.
4. She Is Dating Joel Schiffman & the Couple Adopted a Daughter in 2017
Kotb has always been very open about her dating life, and told the world when she met someone special, although she wouldn’t reveal his name, until recently.
According to Us Weekly, Kotb announced the name of her Manhattan financier boyfriend, Joel Schiffman, on Today, showing a picture of the two of them.
For the couple’s one year anniversary, Schiffman bought Kotb a guitar.
“He bought me a guitar for our one-year and we are just having a blast playing with it,” Kotb told E! News.
The couple has been dating for over four years now, but Kotb doesn’t seem to want to get married. She has said, however, that it’s not out of the question.
“I have already done it once, so, unlikely, but really, whoever knows in life? …Life is so crazy, who knows? I have a dog now, and who would ever think that?” Kotb said during a chat with E! News.
In February 2017, Kotb and Schiffman adopted a baby girl. Haley Joy was welcomed into their family with open arms.
Kotb was previously married to tennis coach Burzis Kanga from 2005 to 2007.
5. Her Net Worth Is at Least $4 Million
Thanks to a successful career as a TV host and anchor, Kotb’s net worth is at least $4 million, according to TheRichest. However, other outlets—like Celebrity Net Worth—report that she is worth $12 million.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, her salary as a host of the fourth hour of Today is $2 million. Her salary for the additional two hours of Today was not made public.
In 2010, she moved from Manhattan’s Upper East Side to Hell’s Kitchen. Six years later, Kotb moved again, getting a home with Schiffman. The couple currently lives in New York City with their daughter.