Hoda Kotb Opens Up About Her Breakup With Joel Schiffman

Hoda Kotb's life has seemed picture-perfect the last few years. Not only does she have a thriving career as a cohost on "Today with Hoda & Jenna," but she became a mother with the adoption of her two daughters, Hope and Haley. And by her side through it all for nearly a decade has been Joel Schiffman. The couple were quietly dating for a couple of years before going public in 2015. Schiffman, who already had a grown daughter, was supportive of Kotb's desire to adopt from the beginning. 

"I was afraid to even say it out loud, because then it felt so real," Hoda told People. "I said, 'Think about it for a day or a week or whatever.' And he said, 'I don't need a day. Let's get this journey going.' At that point I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst."

The couple got engaged in November 2019 and had planned to wed the following year, but postponed the nuptials due to the pandemic. "We want to do it in a place that we love deep in our soul that means a lot to us, and we want our closest to come," Kotb explained (via People). "But Joel kept saying, 'Why are we waiting? Let's just go already.'"

Unfortunately, Kotb has revealed that the wedding plans have been officially canceled because she and Schiffman have parted ways.

Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman believe they are better off as friends

Hoda Kotb has announced that she has split up with Joel Schiffman after an eight year relationship. "Joel and I have had a lot of prayerful and meaningful conversations over the holidays and we decided that we're better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple, so 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 revealed on "Today with Hoda & Jenna" (via People). "It's not like something happened. 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 admitted that while she had tried to be optimistic about the state of the relationship, "sometimes you realize optimism is like trying to put a circle in a square — sometimes it just doesn't work, and it's okay."  Kotb added that her and Schiffman's focus will remain on parenting their two young daughters, Hope and Haley. "He's a great guy. He's a very kind and loving person, and I feel privileged to have spent eight years with him," she explained. "We are both good and we are both kind of going on our way and our path. We'll be good parents to those two lovely kids."

Hoda Kotb struggled with how to tell the world what happened

Hoda Kotb opened up to Today co-host Jenna Bush Hagar about how challenging it was to break the news to the world, especially since she had spoken on the show about her happy family news, including the pair's engagement and the adoption of their daughter. She didn't open up publicly with the things in her personal life that were "difficult" because, as Kotb explained, "you don't want to share them because that's not part of a pretty picture."

She said that viewers had been writing in and asking as to why she wasn't wearing her engagement ring anymore. But in telling the world the hard news, Kotb knows she did the right thing. "I feel better that I said it. I feel better," she explained. "There's nothing that relieves your soul more I think than when you tell the truth."

While the couple didn't ever get married, Kotb had previously said that she already felt married to Schiffman after they postponed their wedding due to the pandemic in 2020. "I'm happy we're going to get married, but we've always been lifelong partners," she said (via People). "I'm so happy to say 'I do' and I'm also happy to do it whenever we need to, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a formality now."

Hoda Kotb's fans are showing their support

Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman first met at a Wall Street event in 2013. Joanne LaMarca Mathisen, the executive producer of Today, explained how it all started: "She saw Joel and thought he was really sweet and fun. And he was a friend of a friend of mine, and Joel happened to think Hoda was sweet and fun" (per Today).

In 2019, Kotb herself used the show to break the news of her engagement. Schiffman had proposed on vacation in Mexico one weekend, and Kotb broke the news to viewers the following Monday, saying, "I have to tell you something that a friend of mine, a friend of ours, asked me to let you guys in on a secret. I'll give you her initials. Her initials are Hoda Kotb, and she's engaged" (via Twitter). Fast forward to 2022, and Kotb let the world in on her relationship ending on "Today with Hoda & Jenna."

Kotb's honesty about her relationship coming to an end has certainly made an impact on her fans. On the host's Instagram, there are scores of supportive comments, such as, "Your announcement this morning was amazing and brave!!!! So important to share all life's seasons!" and "You are my role model for strength, honesty and dignity."