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Hoda Kotb Addresses Kelly Rowland Controversy After Abrupt ‘Today’ Drama

Hoda Kotb cleared the air after Kelly Rowland recently walked out on cohosting Today With Hoda and Jenna.

“I just want to say this: I have great love and admiration for Kelly Rowland. I adore her, and I want her to come back on our show, and I want her to host again,” Kotb, 59, said on the Tuesday, February 20, episode of Today.

Rowland, 43, was interviewed in an early segment of the show on Thursday, February 15, and she was advertised as cohosting the fourth hour with Kotb while Jenna Bush Hager had the day off. However, Rita Ora suddenly appeared as Kotb’s cohost when the 10 a.m. segment began.

After Rowland’s disappearance, multiple outlets reported that the Mea Culpa star left after she was disappointed with her dressing room. (30 Rockefeller Center is a historic building and features smaller spaces than spacious new studios.) Rowland has not addressed the incident directly. Us Weekly reached out for comment.

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Kotb and Bush Hager, 43, made it clear that they hold nothing against the Destiny’s Child alum. “She is welcome anytime,” Bush Hager added on Tuesday. “She’s the best.”

Hoda Kotb Addresses Kelly Rowland Controversy After Her Abrupt 'Today' Exit
Hoda Kotb, Kelly Rowland. Getty Images(2)

“Of course she is, of course she is! She can share my dressing room. We’ll be in it together!” Kotb, 59, said with a laugh. “But anyway, we do, I just want to say that we love her. We’ve loved her on this show for many, many, many years.”

Ora, 33, revealed that she was asked to fill in as a cohost moments before the show began. “Well, this happened! We had two minutes to prepare ahhh, thank you @hodaandjenna for asking me to co-host the show,” Ora wrote via Instagram on Friday, February 16. “Everyone was so lovely and kind, I had SO much fun doing it!! 💗💗💗 Love to everyone that tuned in, maybe we should do more??!!!”

Hoda Kotb Addresses Kelly Rowland Controversy After Her Abrupt 'Today' Exit
Nathan Congleton/NBC

Prior to her abrupt exit, Rowland’s fans criticized Savannah Guthrie‘s questions during the star’s interview on the 8 a.m. hour of Today.

“What do you think about your friend Beyoncé?” Guthrie, 52, asked Rowland. “She’s like your sister, you guys literally grew up together – she’s stepping into country.”

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Rowland kept her answer brief: “I’m so proud of her.”

Guthrie pressed her for more, asking, “I know, but were you surprised and what do you think about it?”

Rowland simply replied, “I’m so proud of her. So happy for her.”

Fans took to social media to express their disappointment. “Please stop asking @KELLYROWLAND about the choices @Beyonce makes,” one X user wrote. “They’re friends. Kelly has her own beautiful gifts, talents and projects that should be celebrated.”

Some even speculated that the Beyoncé questions were why Rowland left the show. “As I suspected, the Kelly Rowland/Today’s Show debacle has nothing to do with dressing rooms and everything to do with the Today’s Show insistence on asking questions about Beyoncé, completely unrelated to the project Kelly was there to promote. In which case…good for Kelly,” one user claimed.

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