Jenna Bush Hager Is Supporting Hoda Kotb 'in Every Single Way Possible' — Including Sending a 'Love Letter'

Kotb returned to Today on Monday after a brief absence to attend to a "family health matter"

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Wednesday June 8, 2022
Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Jenna Bush Hager has so much affection for her co-anchor and friend Hoda Kotb that she has a love letter to show for it.

PEOPLE spoke with Bush Hager at her party celebrating the fourth anniversary of her Today book club Read with Jenna as the broadcast gushed on her relief at Kotb's return to the show this week after a brief absence to attend to a "family health matter."

"All I'm trying to do is be there for her in every single way possible," Bush Hager, 41, told PEOPLE. "I wrote her a love letter when she got back. That just expressed, like, my deepest desire for her."

TODAY -- Pictured: Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on Monday, November 14, 2022
Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty

Kotb, 58, returned to the Today show Monday after taking a few weeks off as her daughter Hope Catherine, 3, spent time in the ICU after she was admitted to the hospital.

"I feel like, life is one way on a Monday — and we all have our Mondays and we complain about them. We're like, 'Oh, what a crummy Monday,' and then Tuesday rolls around and something really hits hard, and you realize that Monday was actually pretty awesome," Kotb said of the experience on her Monday return to the show.

"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," the mom of two continued. "And she's vibrant and brilliant."

Jenna Bush Hager, hoda kotb
Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty

Bush Hager — who is a mom to Mila, 9, Poppy, 7 and son Hal, 3 — said as a fellow mother, she understands Kotb's need to prioritize her family.

She admits she got emotional during Kotb's return because she realized Kotb's impact on her life in her absence.

"Hoda makes my life full," Bush Hager told Entertainment Tonight. "And it's so interesting, but you don't really know until somebody's kind of gone, unexpectedly, how much you depend on them."

"I mean, I knew I adored her, but I wrote her when she came back and I said, 'I don't even know if you know how much you impact my life,'" she added.

The Emmy-winning journalist shared how she was grateful both women had their "priorities in check," and added she felt inspired by Kotb's dedication to her family.

"I think she said it best. She said, 'You know, it's a Monday and then it's an ordinary day, and things can change in a second. And I am just so grateful that I have a partner in television that appreciates every single moment, and encourages me to do the same," Hager said. "And I have these three precious children who mean everything to me. So, it's nice that we both have our priorities in check."

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Today airs weekdays starting at 7 a.m. ET on NBC.

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