To celebrate Kotb’s new role in the Today family, the popular NBC morning show shared a video Friday looking back on some of her most memorable — and hilarious — moments, which included chopping through wood with her bare hands, asking Jimmy Fallon to read a picture book to her like she was his child and gleefully taking part in “wine o’clock” with Kathie Lee Gifford, Kotb’s co-host for the show’s 10 o’clock hour.
And the video montage also shined a light on one of the most special moments in Kotb’s life — when, at the age of 52, she adopted her daughter Haley Joy Kotb.
“I know she’s excited about doing this new job with the Today show, but nothing compares to the joy that she has received with Haley Joy Kotb,” said co-anchor Savannah Guthrie.
“The day I adopted Haley was the day that everything else paled in comparison — everything,” Kotb added.
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“It’s just perfection and feels so good,” Guthrie said. “ I’m over the moon, I’m so excited, I feel like the luckiest person in the world and I can’t wait to wake up with you every morning, well, Monday-Friday”
“I’m so thrilled you’re here with us every day, every morning,” Roker continued.
Daly added, “She makes it feel like you’re not even going your job. It’s so much fun.”
At the end of the video, Kotb was visibly moved. “That was so nice,” she said. “You guys, thank you.”
“Well, they told us what to say,” Daly jokingly replied.
“You know when you feel like you don’t know if you deserve something…” Kotb began, before trailing off.
“Well, that’s five minutes of proof,” Daly added.
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Kotb stepped into her new role at Today after the show’s star Matt Lauer was fired for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior on Nov. 29. (Multiple sources describe the cause for termination as an affair that violated NBC’s terms of employment, but in the wake of the news, allegations that included lewd behavior and sexual assault also surfaced.)
Kotb continued to fill in for Lauer in the days following his dismissal, and the network liked what what it saw because just before the holidays, NBC execs offered the job to Kotb, who will also continue hosting the show’s 10 o’clock hour alongside Gifford.