Kathie Lee Gifford bid farewell to her co-host and close friend Hoda Kotb and the rest of the Today crew on April 5 after 11 years on the show
During a Tuesday visit to Fox News’ The Five, Gifford opened up about her joy over the newest member of the Today family: baby Hope Catherine, who Kotb brought home shortly following her birth over the weekend.
“Hoda’s a mama again. I’m thrilled about that,” said Gifford, 65, adding, “I knew that was coming, I just didn’t know when it was coming.”
“I adore [Jenna] like everybody else does here. She is, of course, the natural person to take over,” Gifford told PEOPLE weeks before her final broadcast.
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Kotb announced Hope’s arrival over the phone Tuesday, calling in to the Today show to emotionally reveal the news that she had adopted her second baby girl.
The outlet shared a photo of the longtime television journalist holding her new addition, with her older daughter, 2-year-old Haley Joy, standing next to her mom and new little sister with a big smile on her face.
Kotb explained that she thought she was “full” when it came to giving love after welcoming Haley in February 2017, but the experience when she and boyfriend Joel Schiffman brought Hope home proved otherwise.
“Joel and I were standing there when they hand you the baby — and it’s the closest thing to a live birth I think you’ll ever see — [and] in that moment I was like, ‘My God.’ My heart just grew 10 times, it’s amazing,” she said. “I just can’t believe it’s happening, y’all. I can’t.”
Kotb doesn’t have to worry about things going awry at work while she’s on maternity leave even though Bush Hager, 37, just made her debut alongside the new mom of two as co-host of Today‘s 10 a.m. hour last week!
“We want you to enjoy every single moment,” said Bush Hager. “I know we just started a new show but you know what, who cares?! I’m not worried about it!”
“The show will be here,” Savannah Guthrie agreed enthusiastically.
“I’ll hold down the fort,” Bush Hager joked. “You will be missed, but enjoy every moment with that beautiful baby.”