The 58-year-old journalist appeared on the NBC morning show for the first time in two weeks and filled in viewers on the personal matter that kept her off the air. “My youngest [daughter], Hope, was in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for a little more than a week,” Kotb told cohost Savannah Guthrie. “I’m so grateful she’s home. … I was waiting for that day to come. And we are watching her closely. I’m just so happy.”
Kotb reflected on the care her 3-year-old received, getting choked up as she expressed her thanks to the medical experts who helped. “You know what I realized, too, Savannah? When your child is ill, the amount of gratitude you can have for people who helped you out … I’m grateful for the doctors at Weill Cornell who were amazing and the nurses,” she said, struggling to hold back tears. “And I’m grateful to my family.”
The Emmy winner went on to address Guthrie, 51, adding: “I’m grateful to friends like you who were there every single day. So, I want to say thank you for that. I love you.”
Before making her return on Monday, the Oklahoma native shared an inspiring message with her Instagram followers. “Happy monday xo,” she captioned a quote from Christopher Reeve which read, “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”
Kotb last appeared live on the Today show on February 17. Guthrie, meanwhile, left within the first hour of the Tuesday, February 28, show after testing positive for COVID-19.
As viewers wondered what was keeping Kotb off the air, she seemingly hinted at her state of mind through several uplifting excerpts shared via her Instagram feed. “Sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts,” one post read, while another encouraged fans to “choose hope.”
Despite her absence from the live broadcasts, Kotb made a pre-taped appearance during the Friday, March 3, episode. She interviewed the late Olivia Newton-John‘s husband, John Easterling, and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, whom the Xanadu actress shared with ex Matt Lattanzi.
Today anchor Craig Melvin previously told audiences on Wednesday, March 1, that Kotb was dealing with “a family health matter” and that he hoped she would return “real soon.” Al Roker shared another update on Friday, reassuring fans that his colleague was doing her best through the challenging time.
“She’s going to be just fine,” he told Page Six. “She’s dealing with what she’s gotta deal with and all will be good.”