Hoda Kotb returns to 'Today,' reveals daughter was hospitalized: 'I'm so grateful she's home'

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 11:  Hoda Kotb attends the 70th anniversary celebration of NBC's
Hoda Kotb says her younger daughter, Hope Catherine, was hospitalized, but it now back home. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Hoda Kotb has returned to the Today show — and explained her weeks-long absence.

On Monday, Kotb was back at the morning show news desk alongside co-anchor Savannah Guthrie for the first time since Feb. 17. She explained her younger daughter, Hope Catherine, had been sick and hospitalized in the ICU.

"My youngest, Hope, was in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for a little more than a week," a choked up Kotb, 58, revealed. "I'm so grateful she's home. She is back home. I was waiting for that day to come. And we are watching her closely. I'm just so happy."

Kotb, who didn't share the reason behind the 3-year-old's hospitalization, added, "You know what I realized, too, Savannah? When your child is ill, the amount of gratitude you can have for people who helped you out. So I'm grateful for the doctors ... who were amazing, and the nurses. I'm grateful to my family and I'm grateful to friends like you," she said to Guthrie, "who were there every single day. So I want to say thank you for that."

Later on Today with Hoda & Jenna, Kotb shared a little more about the situation — and agreed with Jenna Bush Hager's assessment that it had been a "rough two weeks" for her.

"I feel like life is one way on a Monday — and we all have our Mondays and we complain about them ... and then Tuesday rolls around and something really hits hard and you realize that Monday was actually pretty awesome," Kotb began. "So for us, it was little Hope had to go to the hospital, and she was in the ICU for a few days and then the hospital for another week and it was really scary. And she's vibrant and brilliant. She's home.... I'm over the moon that she's home."

Kotb said she often talks about gratitude "but I found myself not living in that lane because I was scared." She said that led her to change her thinking and remember that she has a family who loves her, an older daughter at home, a wonderful support system and doctors "who would have done anything to make everything better — and they did. So sometimes you talk about gratitude, and then when you're pushed to the limit, you're like, 'Do I feel it?'"

Kotb told a story about Hope coming to her the other day with two confetti stars in her hand. "She said, 'I got two, Mom. One for me and one for you,'" she recalled. "I thought to myself, 'This child, even when she's not feeling good, she's still giving everything away.' I feel blessed and grateful, really, really, really grateful. And also anyone who's ever gone through an illness with a child, boy I thought I understood you, but I didn't until you're sitting in that position. So for every single person going through some stuff, I get it."

Earlier in the morning, Kotb shared a quote from the late Superman star Christopher Reeve that said, "Once you choose hope, anything's possible."

Kotb was last live on Today on Feb. 17. She later appeared in two pre-taped segments. Last week, when Guthrie was also out — after testing positive for COVID — their colleague Craig Melvin took a moment to explain both their absences on March 1. He said that while Kotb was "OK," she had a " family health matter that she's been dealing with."

Kotb adopted both her daughters – also Haley Joy, 5 — with ex-fiancé, Joel Schiffman. She and Schiffman ended their engagement in January 2022. She has since praised him as a co-parent.

Kotb has also shared plans for adopting a third child, revealing that all her paperwork for the process is in. "It’s definitely in the universe for me," she told People magazine in August. "I feel like whatever is meant to be is meant to be. But I know a few things. I have love and time, and we have an open space."