Looking Back on Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb's 11-Year Friendship, in Their Own Words

The two have had lots of ups and a handful of downs in their years hosting the fourth hour of Today

01 of 15
Today - Season 68
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"Faithful. She is full of faith and a fiercely loyal friend. Some people see her and see someone who's funny and slap-sticky and like Lucille Ball, with a glass of wine in her hand. I see all of that stuff, too, because she's fun to be with, but more than that I see a faithful person. She walks the walk in her life. That was never more apparent than after Frank passed away, how she just by example showed people, America, whomever how strong she could be. I had a friend who looked up and saw KLG on the air after her dad passed and said, 'I looked up on the TV and saw Kathie Lee went to work, so I went to work.' There's something about that kind of faith-based strength."

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, to PEOPLE

02 of 15
Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

"Hoda is one of those people who makes the best of life. Even of tough situations. Her first marriage didn't work out. She had breast caner. She made the best of all of it. She doesn't live in the past or have a pity party. She just rejoiced in the blessings she had. She doesn't burden people with her hopes and dreams. She's such a grateful person. She's not a whiner or complainer. She wakes up every morning and says, 'Let's do it!' She embraces life so beautifully."

— Kathie Lee on Hoda, to PEOPLE

03 of 15
Hoda Kotb/Instagram

"When she told me [she adopted a daughter] I was so ... it settled this thing in my heart. Well of course she's a mom. She should be a mom. She has all the love in the world. Everybody is so happy for Hoda because there's not anybody more beloved than Hoda. Everybody adores her and knows her pure, good heart."

— Kathie Lee on Hoda, to PEOPLE

04 of 15
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"God brought Hoda into my life for all kinds of different reasons. I was supposed to learn from her. She was supposed to learn from me. We were supposed to share life together ... I never dreamed that I could get another best type of friend at my age ... She just fills such a huge part of my heart now. And always will. I hope she knows how much I love her."

— Kathie Lee on Hoda, on Today

05 of 15

"[Kathie Lee] totally jumped into my life in a way that I had never experienced before. She stepped into it, and I was transfixed by her when we met. I don't know if you've ever had that chemistry where you connect with someone like that. I had it, and it was a feeling I'd never had before — that kind of intensity. It's amazing. I remember thinking, 'How is it possible that this level continues?' "

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, on Today

06 of 15
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"I hope she knows how much she mattered to me, just how much she mattered. That so many things in my life changed because of her presence. I mean, look, I do know God put her in my life at the right time. He really did."

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, on Today

07 of 15
"Kathie Lee and Hoda" 10th Anniversary Party, New York, USA - 04 Apr 2018
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“I think the friendship I have with her is so real. We’re really tight and I feel really, really, really, really blessed to be pals with her.”

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, at a 2016 event

08 of 15

“The only thing bigger than her smile is her heart. You have to be very careful around Hoda because she’s the most contagious human being on the planet. She will infect you. She will make you happy. She will make you start singing really crappy songs. That’s what she does. She can’t help it. She just shows up and the room changes.”

— Kathie Lee on Hoda, at a 2017 award ceremony

09 of 15
Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

"I used to think that the scariest thing you could do was to reveal yourself. But you have to realize that that’s the only way to be. It’s the easiest thing to do and the hardest thing to do to just be who you are and trust it. Kath always says, ‘Just trust it, we’re here and I’ll catch you, so don’t worry.’ "

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, at a 2018 event

10 of 15
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic
11 of 15

“Kathie Lee’s been through all the phases of her life in front of America and sharing it for the world, really. I don’t think we have seen that before: Someone who met their husband and had her children and then we witnessed the loss. You realize, you have watched every phase of life and now she’s in this new act, where she is pursuing new dreams. Kathie Lee is proof to everybody that it’s not too late.”

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, to PEOPLE

12 of 15
2017 CMT Music Awards - Arrivals
Michael Loccisano/Getty

"Hoda has a great sense of joy about life, and she has a wonder still about it that I was starting to lose. I’ve had a lot beaten out of me in life, it just does ... you get to a certain point in life when it’s taken your toll on you. I was sensing a little cynicism sneaking into me, and I am not a cynical person by nature at all, and then I spend time with Hoda and she reminds me of wonder and joy is like. Not spiritual joy, I have that, but we need to hold on to being childlike. There is an appreciate for simple things that she has."

— Kathie Lee on Hoda, to PEOPLE

13 of 15
Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

"She has a curiosity that is unparalleled to me. She doesn’t waste time, not a minute. If you ride in a car with her, she has a yellow pad with a pen. And she gets in there, she has 20 minutes and she’s writing down lyrics of a song, an idea for a book. She doesn’t waste time and she is always learning. She cares. She is interested in learning something new and just enjoys the process. She always says, 'The minute I stop learning is the day it is over.' "

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, to PEOPLE

14 of 15

"My Dad used to say, 'Honey, surround yourself with people who are smarter and more talented than you are. And you'll look good.' And I feel like I've been able to do that with, with Regis and with Hoda. I really have. Somebody pointed out the other day that I was the only person in the history of television that's done morning television on two different networks with two different co-hosts at two different times of the day and had success. I don't stop and think about things like that, but I guess it's true. I just think, wow, God is so good to me."

— Kathie Lee on Hoda, to PEOPLE

15 of 15

"I think a lot of women felt they had that exact friendship with their girlfriend. I remember one Halloween they were like, ‘Hey I’m Kathie Lee and I’m Hoda!’ I think we all have a girlfriend and want to sit around and have wine with them at 10 a.m. It was just fun. Kathie used to say, 'If we are having fun, they are having fun.' "

— Hoda on Kathie Lee, to PEOPLE

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