Like most moms, Hoda Kotb couldn’t wait to hear her daughter Haley Joy’s first words

By Emily Strohm
March 07, 2018 04:53 PM


Like most moms, Hoda Kotb couldn’t wait to hear her daughter Haley Joy’s first words, but the Today co-host says she was a little surprised when it wound up being “Bob.”

“We don’t know who Bob is,” Kotb tells PEOPLE. “Every time she said it we kept laughing going, ‘Who is Bob?’ I’m sure it was a combination of bottle and some other thing.”

Kotb says her daughter has since added few other important words to her vocabulary.

“She can say ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ which is great. My mom taught her how to say ‘mama’ when I was in Korea,” says Kotb, who celebrated Haley’s first birthday before she left to cover the 2018 Olympics. “It was so cool, she sent me the video but then I started to think maybe Haley thought ‘mama’ was the phone.”

Brian Doben

Kotb just published her first children’s book, I’ve Loved You Since Forever, which was inspired by Haley Joy and her long journey to becoming a mom.

RELATED VIDEO: Hoda Kotb Opens Up About Emotional Adoption at 52 After Cancer Left Her Unable to Conceive

“As I was waiting and hoping and wishing for Haley, when I started to believe that maybe I could be a mom too, maybe I didn’t miss my window, maybe there’s still hope here … It was that kind of revival,” Kotb tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue of adopting her daughter.

  • For more on Hoda Kotb and Kelly Clarkson, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

“I was scribbling in my journal and waiting to see if it would come to pass and I could feel that child. I felt like they were sleeping under the same moon and stars,” she continues.

“Somewhere out there this child is there for me and that phrase, ‘I’ve loved you since forever,’ was something that I had written down because that’s what it felt like.”

I’ve Loved You Since Foreveris available now.