Hoda Kotb took a break from Today in the middle of celebrating five years of cohosting with Jenna Bush Hager.

Kotb, 59, was absent from the first two hours of Today on Wednesday, April 10, shortly before the latest episode of Today With Hoda & Jenna. Savannah Guthrie joked Kotb was out “on assignment” as third hour of Today cohost Sheinelle Jones filled in.

Guthrie, 52, later clarified that Kotb was not present because she was “on her way to New Orleans” for Hoda & Jenna’s special fifth anniversary shows on Thursday, April 11, and Friday, April 12.

Kotb and Bush Hager, 42, announced last month that they were taking their show to Louisiana to celebrate their cohosting milestone. “There’s only one place we could celebrate,” Bush Hager exclaimed during a March episode, to which Kotb added, “It’s the place where we have the most fun, where we are wild. We are wild when we go there.”

Related: ‘Today’ Anchor Hoda Kotb’s Family Album With Daughters and More

Hoda Kotb has often gushed about how her loved ones have defined her life — especially her daughters, Haley and Hope. The Today anchor became a mother when she adopted her little ones in 2017 and 2019, respectively, with her then-partner, Joel Schiffman. The former couple got engaged after six years of dating in 2019 […]

The pair are set to kick off the city’s 2024 French Quarter Fest music festival along with two lucky fans who won a special trip to join Kotb and Bush Hager for the festivities.

Earlier this week, the hosting duo celebrated five years since their first show together. “How does it feel for you, five years?” Kotb asked Bush Hager on Monday, April 8.

Bush Hager proceeded to gush over her colleague, saying, “It feels like it was yesterday, and it feels so profound to get to sit next to somebody that exudes joy no matter what you have going on. You greet me with a smile every single day, and I know it’s not always easy. In fact, it’s probably not easy at all. But you’re here and you sit next to me.”

Why Hoda Kotb Is Absent From Today During Hoda and Jenna 5th Anniversary Week

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager at the Empire State Building on Monday, April 8, 2024.
Nathan Congleton/NBC

Bush took over the role of Kotb’s cohost in April 2019 when Kathie Lee Gifford stepped down after 11 years on the fourth hour of Today. Though they started as “colleagues [and] friends,” Kotb said she was proud of how far her and Bush Hager’s relationship has grown over the past few years.

“There’s such a deep understanding of the other’s soul and purpose, we have traveled down these roads together,” she explained. “A lot of times, friendships don’t grow. They are: you talk about the old days. Not ours.”

She went on to note that Bush Hager has led her “down a path because of people who you know in your life and people who are, kind of, healers who’ve helped heal me,” adding, “And, I mean, it’s all meant to be. This is all meant to be.”

Monday’s episode of Hoda & Jenna was full of anniversary surprises for the pair, who were treated to an original song by Meghan Trainor. Monday was also declared as Today With Hoda & Jenna Day in New York City. “You guys have an official holiday, I swear,” guest Chloe Fineman assured the cohosts after they questioned the legitimacy of Mayor Eric Adams’ proclamation.

Before viewing the 2024 solar eclipse with their fellow Today hosts on Monday, Kotb and Bush Hager topped off their special day by lighting up the Empire State Building in their show’s signature pink and purple colors.


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