No more mom-shaming! Hoda Kotb opened up about a heartbreaking moment when her decision to adopt in her 50s was called into question.
“I will never forget this. I got a letter that was addressed to me in somebody’s handwriting to my house,” Kotb, 58, recalled during the Wednesday, April 12, episode of Today With Hoda & Jenna. “I opened the letter, and it was something along the lines of, ‘How dare you [be] bringing a child into this world at that age. Don’t you know what you are doing to that child?’”
The journalist — who adopted daughters Haley, 6, and Hope, 3, in February 2017 and April 2019, respectively, with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman — noted how much it hurt her to read the fans’ comments.
“It went on and on and it took my breath away because that actually was my ouch [moment],” the daytime talk show cohost continued. “I was scared. I was like, ‘Is this something that is smart for me to do? Am I helping or am I ultimately harming?’ I thought about that.”
Kotb remembered “feeling terrible” while scrolling through the document, especially after thinking about the fact that someone “went through all that trouble” to get it to her.
The former Dateline NBC correspondent, however, turned to her own upbringing as a way to see the light through the darkness.
“My dad passed when I was in college. And I remember thinking, we have our parents for a [certain] period of time. I know the foundation he left. I know it was worth every second of that time,” she told cohost Jenna Bush Hager on Wednesday. “So, I thought about that too. It can hit you in a place where you’re the most vulnerable.”
Earlier this year, Kotb raised eyebrows when she missed multiple shows in February. The Emmy winner returned to the broadcast in March and revealed her daughter Hope had been “in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for a little more than a week.” She told Savannah Guthrie at the time that Hope was home and she was “so happy” to see her feeling better.
On Wednesday, Kotb shared her emotional story in order to show solidarity with Ariana Grande, who made headlines on Tuesday, April 11, for speaking out about body shaming. While the Today cohost addressed being shamed for her age, Grande, 29, addressed fans comparing her physique from years past in public settings.
The Wicked actress revealed via TikTok that “the body that you’ve been comparing my current body to [what] was the unhealthiest version of my body.” Grande recalled being “on a lot of antidepressants and drinking on them and eating poorly” at the time.
The “Dangerous Woman” songstress confessed: “[I was] at the lowest point of my life when I looked the way you consider ‘my healthy.’ That in fact wasn’t my healthy.”
The R.E.M. Beauty founder also asked her followers to “be gentle with each other,” noting that “you never know what someone is going through.” She further explained that everyone should be “gentler and less comfortable commenting on people’s bodies. No matter what.”
Kotb and Bush Hager, 41, agreed with Grande’s pleas for kindness during their show on Wednesday.
“We need to stop commenting on women’s bodies. Period,” the Everything Is Beautiful in Its Time author told her cohost. “You said it perfectly, ‘We’re in our bodies.’”
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Kotb echoed the former first daughter’s remarks, adding: “I walk around in my body. I don’t need you telling me what I already know. I know. I live here. This is me.”