Viewers became curious when Today’s Hoda Kotb stopped wearing her 4-carat diamond and sapphire engagement ring on the air. On January 31, she revealed the reason: She and Joel Schiffman, her love since 2013, were going their separate ways. “It’s not like something happened,” Hoda said. “We decided that we’re better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple.”

For the morning television host, who adopted two daughters with Joel, Haley, 4, and Hope, 2, it is a sad turn of events. “They say sometimes relationships are meant to be there for a reason, or a season, or for a lifetime. And I feel like ours was meant to be there for a season,” she said. The couple announced their engagement on Today in 2019 and had plans for a 2020 wedding, but it was postponed by the pandemic. Hoda also wanted to adopt more children with Joel. “Two, let alone three young children, is something he struggled with,” said an insider of Joel, 63, who also has a 27-year-old daughter from his previous marriage. “It was something they didn’t always agree on.”

The Most Heartwarming Things 'Today' Host Hoda Kotb Has Said About Motherhood
Courtesy of Hoda Kotb/Instagram

Eventually, it became clear that they wanted different things from life. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and it’s OK,” said Hoda, who explains that she and Joel hope to move into the future as “friends” and “loving parents to our adorable, delightful children.”


The previously divorced newswoman admitted she feels better now that everyone knows. “There’s nothing that relieves your soul more, I think, than when you tell the truth,” Hoda said, adding that she felt “privileged” to have spent eight years with Joel. “He’s a very kind and loving person,” Hoda said. “We are both going on our way and our path. We’ll be good parents to those two lovely kids.” It won’t be the future she hoped for, but it will be OK. “A lot of women know what this feels like, to be changing course in life,” Hoda said. “I feel really brave in this moment, which is a strange feeling.”