In Hollywood, many relationships go stale after a few months. Stars are no strangers to heartbreak, and for Hoda Kotb, heartbreak was something she often experienced before finding her happily ever after.
Kotb first got married to her ex-husband Burzis Kanga in 2005. However, their marriage didn't last very long. Only two years after the couple married, their relationship turned sour, and Kotb filed for divorce.
Burzis once said that her first marriage dissolved because they had some differences that they could not work out. He also noted that it was difficult for them as his father was ill and Kotb had breast cancer.
Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman attend the 2018 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2018 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
While Burzis said he was surprised that Kotb filed for divorce, he understood how difficult that time in their lives was. He then said that he wished her nothing but the best for her future, acknowledging their great memories together.
The same year that Kotb filed for divorce from Burzis, she underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery because she had breast cancer. The star said she was shocked by her diagnosis, admitting:
"A long time ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I was incredibly healthy, and I remember them finding a lump and I said 'oh you must be mistaken.'"
Kotb said that while she knew something might be wrong, she didn't want to have the lump checked. She believed ignorance was bliss but ultimately knew that she had to be tested for her safety.
While Kotb managed to recover from breast cancer, it affected her ability to do other things. One thing that Kotb could no longer do after she had recovered was have children of her own.
She mentioned that she had always wanted to be a mom, but after her cancer treatment left her unable to conceive, she gave up her dreams of motherhood. Kotb never spoke publicly about her desire to have children until she had her daughter in her 50s.
When Kotb had breast cancer, her ex-husband's father was also going through health struggles, which led them to focus on themselves rather than on their relationship as much as they should have.
Speaking about their divorce, Burzis said that on top of the personal struggles that each of them was going through, there was another component that ended their marriage. He admitted:
“In hindsight, there was a level of immaturity on my part, mistakes I made. It was unfortunate we were married for a short time. It’s a shame it transpired that way.
HODA KOTB FINALLY FOUND HAPPINESS
After years of health struggles and unhappiness, Kotb found happiness with a new partner, Joel Schiffman. Schiffman and Kotb became a couple in 2013 at an event for Wall Street professionals. Kotb revealed that she didn't want to go but wouldn't have met Schiffman if she didn't.
While their relationship was going well, Kotb didn't want Schiffman's name to get out for privacy reasons, so she nicknamed him 'Boots.' However, in 2015 photos of the couple on a beach vacation leaked, and their secret was out!
In 2016, Kotb revealed that she and Schiffman were living together, and she felt like a younger person. She followed the statement by saying:
"It's a little weird to be in your 50s and we're like, 'Hey, we're moving in!’ It's like we're kids. It's so weird.”
By 2017, the couple was so committed to one another that they decided it was time to expand their family. Kotb said that at age 52, she asked Schiffman if he would explore adoption with her, and he happily agreed.
During the adoption process, Kotb was calling it her "project," so she didn't reveal any details before she was meant to, but in February 2017, she was finally able to share the news with the world.
Despite being older than most new moms, Kotb had no regrets about adopting children at her age. She shared with Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live" that she felt her daughter was "right on time."
After welcoming their first daughter, Haley Joy, into their family, Kotb and Schiffman decided to adopt another baby and soon welcomed Hope Catherine into the fold. Kotb shared that Hayley immediately fitted into the role of big sister.
“You didn’t come from Mommy’s tummy, you came from Mommy’s heart.”
After all the joy of bringing their daughters into the world, Kotb and Schiffman announced that they had gotten engaged. Kotb said they were on vacation when Schiffman got down on one knee to propose to her.
While Kotb was thrilled by the proposal, she also said that she had no idea it was coming. She shared that she was shocked by the event and noted that Schiffman had a good poker face.
The proposal happened in 2019, and Schiffman and Kotb were making wedding plans, but the COVID-19 quarantine curtailed their plans. However, the couple decided that it might be time to expand their family once more.
Although they were happy with their two daughters, they wanted to adopt for a third time. They began the process, but because of the pandemic, their plans were slowed, and they could not adopt a third child together.
Unfortunately for the couple, two years after they announced their engagement, they announced they would be separating. They explained that they had decided they were better off as friends after careful consideration.
The couple then said they would keep their daughters at the forefront of their minds while they worked through their separation. Kotb said:
“We decided we are going to start this new year on our new path as loving parents to our adorable, delightful children, and as friends."
Kotb then said that nothing awful happened that led to their divorce; it was simply a case of their relationship being only for a season and not for a lifetime. The couple ended things amicably.
Many Hollywood couples try and fail to co-parent their children effectively. For Kotb and Schiffman, though, it has been an entirely different kettle of fish. Kotb has even described their co-parenting journey as "easy."
Kotb said that Schiffman often sees the children as he sometimes takes them to school and sees them on the weekends. She then shared:
“We make sure the kids get plenty of time with him and plenty of time with me.”
HODA KOTB SPENDS A LOT OF TIME WITH HER KIDS
During the time that Kotb spends with hers and Schiffman's daughters, she takes them on lunch dates with their family, on boat cruises that are the envy of many, and spends time playing dress-up with them.
She also plays games with her daughters and eats dinner with them in the evenings. Kotb and Schiffman also spend some of the holidays and birthdays together for the sake of their daughters.
Kotb loves her daughter and once shared a photo of herself and her daughters sitting at a glass table on her Instagram. She and her daughters were sharing a meal, and Kotb beamed at the camera with a daughter on each side of her, captioning the post "Lucky me."
While being an elder mom has had many eye-opening experiences for Kotb, as she has mentioned in the past, one thing it has helped her to do is teach her children wise lessons.
She once shared how she teaches her daughters honesty. She said that when her daughters tell the truth, she turns it into a celebration and thanks them for telling the truth. Doing this shows her daughters that the truth is something to be proud of.
Kotb then said that it was evident to her that her daughters model her behavior, so she strives to be the best she can be around them.
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