Kathie Lee Gifford Speaks Out About Hoda Kotb's Separation News

Shocking friends and fans alike, Hoda Kotb announced on Monday's episode of "Today with Hoda & Jenna" that she and her fiancé, Joel Schiffman, were parting ways (via People). Noting that she had gotten a lot of fan mail asking why she wasn't wearing her engagement ring, Kotb explained to cohost Jenna Bush Hager that, after much thought and discussion, "We decided that we're better as friends and parents than we are as partners ... 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."

It was an unexpected reversal for the veteran morning show host, who had announced her engagement to financier Schiffman in 2019. The couple had planned a beach wedding for 2020, but the pandemic cut those plans short. The split happened over the 2021 winter holidays, she explained, but it was an amicable breakup: "He's a great guy. He's a really kind and loving person," she told Hager. "And I feel privileged to have spent eight years with him." Kotb vowed that they would both be devoted to their young daughters, Haley and Hope.

The show's Instagram page announcement quickly drew nearly 500,000 likes and tons of sympathetic messages from not only viewers, but also friends such as Alex Guarnaschelli and former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky Manno. But Kotb must have been especially heartened to see one particular person in the comments section. Kathie Lee Gifford, her former "Today" cohost, wrote to offer her support.

Fans praised Kathie Lee, but think Hoda needs her privacy

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb kept morning viewers entertained for 11 years on the "Today" show, stopping only when Gifford left the show in 2019 to pursue acting and writing projects. The two developed a bond that continues today, and when Kotb revealed her breakup news on national television, Gifford reached out online to support her friend.

Gifford wrote, "My darling Hoda, I am truly so proud of the way you have handled such a difficult and painful decision. As usual you did it with grace and kindness. May God bless you and your precious girls and Joel as well as you continue down this thing called life. I love you." Her thoughtful sentiment was met with applause from "Today" viewers, who found it "so beautiful" and called her "a wonderful friend." As one fan said, "Two lovely, classy ladies. I miss their chemistry together."

Still, other fans think that Kotb should have kept her personal life to herself. "If you want privacy, don't make it public, for Heaven's sake!" cried a writer. Said another, "I'm glad Hoda made a statement, but now she needs privacy! Stop. Leave it alone!!" 

One viewer felt that the show shouldn't have publicized Gifford's message by pulling it out in a separate post: "I'm sure Kathie Lee reached out. Let it be private! This is not a photo opportunity. I'm really disappointed in Today!"

Hoda and Kathie Lee have been close friends for years

It is no secret that Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford have a special relationship. According to Closer Weekly, Kotb delivered a heartfelt message to Gifford when she left the show they once co-hosted together, NBC's TODAY. During an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show," Kotb gushed, "I just said to Kath the other day, 'You know what's funny?' I said, I feel like every good thing in my life happened after she and I met." The hosting pair were on the air together for 11 years.

Outside of working together, Kotb and Gifford have become close friends, per Hello! Magazine. Throughout their years on the show, the pair often praised one another. Birthday celebrations were a big deal, with Gifford giving this heartfelt message on Kotb's birthday. "Everyone, please join me in raising a glass to my dear friend, who I love to describe as an Egyptian goddess and Sunshine in a Bottle. Happy Birthday, Hoda-woman," as they toasted with glasses of wine.

Gifford giving her support to Kotb as she navigates a breakup isn't surprising to fans who watched the duo for years. They share a special bond.

Hoda has returned the favor by supporting Kathie Lee through a new relationship

The pair don't only rally around one another when there is lost love involved. According to People, Hoda Kotb recently gushed that her bestie is currently in love.

During an appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen," Kotb shared that Kathie Lee Gifford was having the time of her life since leaving NBC's TODAY. On Gifford, Kotb shared, "She's in love, she's in Nashville, she's singing." She continued, "She's doing all the things she enjoys."

Don't worry, Kotb didn't spill the beans about her friend's relationship without her consent. According to The U.S. Sun, Gifford originally opened up about her new romance during an interview with Kotb on the NBC morning show. She gushed, "I'm in a really special relationship with somebody that is nice and fun and healthy, and so that's good."

These two have a special bond. Through breakups and new relationships, you can count on Gifford and Kotb to support each other.