Hoda Kotb | Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman | Source: Youtube.com/TODAY | Getty Images
Hoda Kotb | Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman | Source: Youtube.com/TODAY | Getty Images

Hoda Kotb Waited 6 Years to Get an Engagement Ring from Her Fiancé — They Broke Up 2 Years Later

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 01, 2023
03:00 P.M.
  • Hoda Kotb met her long-term boyfriend when he was just a fan of hers.
  • It took years and the birth of their two children for him to propose, but in the end, the couple separated.
  • Kotb seamlessly co-parents her children with her ex-fiancé and is open to finding love again.

By July 2015, Hoda Kotb was already dating Joel Schiffman for two years. During an appearance that month on "Watch What Happens Live," the television personality shared the story of how they met.

The star recalled being invited to speak at an event with some boring guys from Wall Street. After the event, Kotb stayed to sign some autographs and wasn't expecting anything special to happen.

Hoda Kotb at the Garden of Dreams Foundation Children's Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall on June 18, 2015, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Hoda Kotb at the Garden of Dreams Foundation Children's Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall on June 18, 2015, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

A few autographs later, a man appeared in the line asking for one, and when the "Today" co-host asked who she should make it out to, the man told her to sign it to him, and she replied, "'How 'bout to you?'"

Kotb was smitten, but she took the precaution to do a background check on the mysterious man. She recalled that he didn't have a wedding ring on, but that was all she knew about him.


Someone from the event emailed the man on behalf of the star. He emailed Kotb back, and they eventually set up a date where they clicked and started seeing each other full-time.


The pair initially dated in secret until their relationship had been established. She explained to Andy Cohen that the relationship became solid, and she felt comfortable; before describing her boyfriend as "adorable."

Long-Awaited Engagement

In November 2019, after the couple had been together for six years, Schiffman finally proposed! The co-anchor announced the surprising news on live television, with her engagement ring secretly slipped on her finger just before.

Kotb confessed that her heart was pounding hard as she revealed her boyfriend proposed over the weekend during dinner while they were away on a tropical vacation. The pair had dinner on the beach.


Schiffman proposed by telling her he had something to say and said some touching things before getting down on one knee and asking her to be his wife. Kotb wasn't expecting the proposal and confessed:

"I was totally shocked. He had a good poker face."


By the time Schiffman proposed, the couple had already become parents together. They welcomed two baby daughters via adoption – little Haley and Hope. Sadly, the couple's wedding plans didn't go as expected.

What Kept the Wedding from Happening

Kotb and her fiancé wanted to host their beachside wedding ceremony in August 2020 but postponed it to November. In October 2020, she revealed to People that she'd hoped to marry her fiancé at a destination wedding the following month.


However, the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak put a spanner in the couple's plans again. The television anchor had to tell one of her guests, Maria Shriver, who called to confirm the date, that the wedding was postponed again.

Kotb still wished to have a beach wedding or one in Mexico, but instead, she and Schiffman would host the ceremony closer to home in the summer of 2021. She still saw herself having a beach wedding and anticipated it being held somewhere in New York.


The star explained that they didn't want to travel during the pandemic and worried guests wouldn't be able to make it because of restrictions. She thought the ceremony would end up becoming more intimate because of COVID-19.


In July 2021, while co-hosting "Today with Hoda & Jenna," Kotb explained that they were trying to make sure all their invited guests could travel to their ceremony. The couple tried to avoid their guests catching COVID-19 all because they wanted to be at their wedding.

Ultimately, the "This Just Speaks to Me" author settled for a wedding in November 2021, as she announced in February 2021 on her show with Jenna Bush Hager. She also shared that she hoped her wedding song would be Van Morrison's "Someone Like You."

Going Separate Ways

By January 2022, Kotb's wedding still hadn't happened, and she was spotted without her engagement ring and explained why. In an emotional statement, she told Jenna Bush-Hager that she and Schiffman had some serious conversations over the holidays.


She said they'd decided that they were better off as co-parents and friends instead of an engaged couple. They chose to start the year on a different path, with the focus being on their daughters and friendship.

The Children They Co-parent

The first child the couple adopted, Haley Joy Kotb, was welcomed during their eight-year relationship in 2017. During a phone call to her "Today" colleagues, Kotb revealed that her daughter was born on Valentine's Day.


She also described the little girl as "the love of my life!" The news anchor was already 52 when she welcomed her first child and had her boyfriend's support, but she wasn't done with her parenting journey.

Hope's middle name, Catherine, honors Kotb's best friend, who has a daughter by the same name.

Kotb also explained that her daughter was named after Halley's Comet because she pictured the little girl sailing across the sky. The name was also an alliteration the star shared with her sister, Hala, and her niece, Hannah. Meanwhile, Haley's middle name reflected all the joy she brought to her parents.


In 2019, they welcomed a new addition to the family when the couple adopted little Hope Catherine Kotb. The little girl got her first name from her adoptive mother after seeing the word "hope" appearing 10 million times in her journal as she wrote about her desire to have a second child. Her second name honored Kotb's best friend.


The star met Karen Swensen in 1994 when they were working at WWL-TV and became friends. Swensen supported Kotb with her breast cancer battle in her 40s, and the anchor did the same when her friend lost her husband.

Hope's middle name, Catherine, honors Kotb's best friend, who has a daughter by the same name. Swensen is so close to the celebrity that she and her daughter previously visited "Today's" fourth hour as part of their first Best Friend Friday.


With regards to how the television personality co-parents her daughters effortlessly, in August 2022, she revealed that she and Schiffman "have it down." The star said her ex takes their daughters on a Saturday, and Sunday will be her day, and they switch the rotation weekly.

Kotb shares how when her ex-boyfriend takes the children to do fun activities, that's when she gets to have some peace and quiet. She feels it is healthy that way, and the children love it, plus, Joel is a "great dad." She confessed:

"Family to me is everything— and having one of my own is something I never thought I'd have."


Since breaking up with her ex, Kotb hasn't landed in a permanent relationship. Instead, she's comfortable with being on her own and a mother to her little children but is open to receiving love.

What Is Hoda Kotb's Personal Life like Now?

On June 1, 2023, "Sex and the City" celebrated the 25th anniversary of its premiere by interviewing several people, and Kotb was one of them. When asked how the series has influenced her life, the star shared a glimpse into her personal affairs.

Hoda Kotb on season 72 of the "Today" show on October 18, 2023 | Source: Getty Images

Hoda Kotb on season 72 of the "Today" show on October 18, 2023 | Source: Getty Images

The television anchor said the show "made being single cool" and left her feeling "empowered" instead of left out. She believes everyone's life has been impacted by the HBO series, noting how many people sat alone in their apartments, wondering if they were the only single ones. Kotb felt it made single people realize they weren't alone and having friends counted as having good relationships, and that is enough.


During "Today's" 70th anniversary in May 2022, Kotb confessed to not having thought about what type of person she saw herself dating. The celebrity revealed that her sister once asked her if she isn't "afraid" of being alone. The star's empowering and confident response is that she isn't going to be alone because she knows her heart is open.


In August 2022, Hoda confirmed that she might not be in the dating scene "this second," but she is open to anything. However, she knows her next partner will be meeting her real self, who is more comfortable with herself.

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