During her time as cohost of the Today show with Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb has proved her value as part of millions of people’s morning routines. This is probably why there was such positive feedback on January 2, when Kotb was officially announced as Matt Lauer‘s replacement as coanchor of Today. In honor of Kotb’s newest role in morning television, here are the 53-year-old’s most endearing stories about her home life in New York City, from bringing home her adopted daughter Haley Joy in 2017 to tracking her lost dog down in her own apartment building.
1. She has walked into her neighbor’s apartment uninvited.
After nearly two decades in New York, Kotb has found shortcuts to walking her dog, Blake, which, unfortunately, hasn’t always worked to her advantage. “You want your dog to get a little run in, and in New York living, I sometimes just have him run down the hall,” she said on an episode of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford. “You throw a ball, and he just runs down the hall. I had two balls in my hand, and he raced after it. I threw one down the hall, and I reached down to grab the other ball, and looked up and he had vanished! He was gone. He wasn’t in the hall. There’s a door at the end, so there was nowhere he could have gone.”
“I walked down the hall, and someone’s apartment door was cracked; they hadn’t shut it. He had run into their apartment, and he had went somewhere up the stairs. I was literally standing in a stranger’s apartment, yelling ‘Blake! Blake! Get out of here!'” Kotb recounted, as Gifford laughed hysterically. “I was terrified! I was having the sweats!”
2. Her first apartment search in New York City wasn’t any better than yours.
When Kotb first moved to New York City from New Orleans, she learned that not only do you not get much for your money in the Big Apple, apartment listings can be misleading. “The lady was like, there’s the apartment I want to show you. Over here is the bedroom, now look right over here, turn, here’s the living room! I was standing in one room and I couldn’t believe that that’s what they were renting!” Kotb once exclaimed. “Oh yeah, they go, ‘And we’ve got beautiful outdoor space.’ They opened up these doors, and there was like a window box area. They go, ‘See, you can grow things!’” She didn’t end up living there, but it wasn’t because she was so appalled by the space. It was because she learned another lesson about her new home city: You have to move fast. “People snapped that apartment up in five seconds. . . . I was like, I do not get it,” she admitted. “I do not get New York prices or New York outdoor space.”
3. At 52, she was still scared to tell her mother she was moving in with her boyfriend.
“It’s a little weird to be in your 50s and we’re like ‘Hey, we’re moving in!’ ” Kotb, now 53, said in 2016 when she announced she was moving in with her financier boyfriend Joel Schiffman after three years together (the couple celebrated their four-year anniversary this past summer). “It’s like we’re kids. It’s so weird.” Kotb had been previously married from 2005 to 2007, but had not lived with anyone since. “It’s been so long since I’ve lived with someone, I’m a little concerned with me—not him. Like how I am, as a human? You know, it’s not going to be easy for poor Joel,” she said. “I was afraid to tell my own mother that I was moving in with my boyfriend,” she confessed. “I was afraid. I don’t why! I know it sounds weird—I’ve been married, it’s like, whatever. Anyway, it’s all happening. Hocus pocus. We’re shopping, we’re cohabitating. It’s a little weird, right?”
4. She was clueless when it came to baby-proofing her apartment for new daughter Haley Joy.
“I had no stuff. The only things I had when I got home were a Rock ‘n Play bassinet, Pampers, and formula,” Kotb said in an interview in her daughter’s nursery last summer. “There was nothing in here!”
5. Her apartment is admittedly chaotic.
“I’m in my apartment looking at my kitchen, and it’s revealing. Every cabinet door is open and has been since the last time I needed something inside. In this drawer: two old BlackBerry phones, a turkey baster, an old checkbook. Is that a driver’s license? Yes—expired in 2013,” she said during a self-narrated interview in 2016, just prior to announcing she was moving in with her boyfriend. “I could win Let’s Make a Deal with this drawer. I think I’m just wired to be disorganized.”
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