Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman Postponed Wedding Multiple Times Before Split Due to COVID Pandemic

Hoda Kotb previously told PEOPLE that she wasn't sure "if a destination [wedding] will be in the cards" because of the coronavirus pandemic

Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman experienced many challenges in getting their wedding plans off the ground before announcing their split.

The former couple — who share daughters Hope, 2, and Haley, 4 — had been together since 2013. After getting engaged in November 2019, they were forced to postpone their wedding multiple times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Kotb, 57, previously told PEOPLE that the ceremony was supposed to take place in November 2020.

"Maria Shriver called me. She's like, 'It's still on my calendar. Is it off?' I go, 'Yes, it's off! I thought I called you!'" the Today co-anchor said in late 2020. "But anyway, it's been postponed."

At the time, Kotb envisioned having a beachside ceremony in Mexico where Schiffman proposed, but she admitted to no longer being sure "if a destination [wedding] will be in the cards" for them.

"My guess is we'll do it in the summertime [in 2021] just because, of course, it's going to be a beach wedding and we'll probably do it somewhere around New York, I think, just because why would we go, given what's happening?" she said. "I don't know how quickly people are going to be able to travel again. So, I think it may be a little bit more intimate than I had anticipated just because of that."

Added Kotb, "But I'm hopeful. Like, maybe summertime somewhere in New York City. Around New York, somewhere."

Kotb previously said in June 2020 that she and Schiffman were "kind of guessing" they'd have to delay their nuptials due to the COVID pandemic.

"We were kind of holding out to see what could happen, but the destination we were going to is turning into one of the hot spots. So, it looks like we may have to postpone," she said at the time on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Hoda Kotb (L) and Joel Schiffman
Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman. Patrick McMullan/Getty

In July 2021, Kotb gave a wedding update on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna and said they're "just trying to make sure that everyone can travel."

"We want to do it in a place that we love deep in our soul that means a lot to us and we want our closest to come," she continued. "But Joel kept saying, 'Why are we waiting? Let's just go already.' "

In addition, Kotb, who is close to her mother, previously said they did not want to ask older relatives to travel if it was not safe to do so amid the pandemic.

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Kotb announced the split on Monday's episode of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.

"Joel and I have had a lot of prayerful and meaningful conversations over the holidays and we decided that we're better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple, so we decided we are going to start this new year ... on our new path as loving parents to our adorable, delightful children, and as friends," said the mother of two.

"It's not like something happened," Kotb added. "They say sometimes relationships are meant to be there for a reason, or a season or for a lifetime. And I feel like ours was meant to be there for a season."

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Commenting beneath the show's Instagram post featuring her statement, pal and former colleague Kathie Lee Gifford praised Kotb's strength during this time.

"My darling Hoda, I am truly so proud of the way you have handled a very difficult and painful decision," Gifford, 68, wrote. "As usual you did it with grace and kindness. May God bless you and your precious girls and Joel as well as you continue down this thing called life. I love you."

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