Hoda Kotb Says She Is ‘Lucky’ to Have 2 Adorable Daughters — She Became a Mom in Her 50s

In Hollywood, many relationships go stale after a few months. Stars don’t mind heartbreak. Hoda was one of those people.

In 2005, Kotb married Burzis Kanga, her ex-husband. But their marriage did not last. Two years after the couple got married, their relationship began to deteriorate and Kotb filed a divorce petition.

Burzis once stated that her first marriage was a failure because they had differences. It was also difficult for them because Kotb was suffering from breast cancer and his father was sick.

Joel Schiffman and Hoda Kotb attend the 2018 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center, April 24, 2018, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

While Burzis said he was surprised that Kotb filed for divorce, he understood how difficult that time in their lives was. He said that he wanted her to have a great future and acknowledged their many wonderful memories.

Kotb, who was filing for divorce from Burzis in 2011, had to have a mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries because of breast cancer. The star said she was shocked by her diagnosis, admitting:

“A long time ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I was incredibly healthy, and I remember them finding a lump and I said ‘oh you must be mistaken.'”

Kotb said that while she knew something might be wrong, she didn’t want to have the lump checked. Although she believed ignorance was bliss, she eventually realized that she needed to be tested for safety.

Kotb was able to overcome breast cancer but it had an impact on her ability to do other things. Kotb was unable to have children after her recovery.

She mentioned that she had always wanted to be a mom, but after her cancer treatment left her unable to conceive, she gave up her dreams of motherhood. Kotb didn’t speak publicly about her desire for children until she had her first child in her 50s.

Her ex-husband was also suffering from health problems when Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer. This led them to put too much emphasis on their own lives and not on their relationship.

Burzis stated that their divorce was not just the result of their personal struggles, but also a third factor. He admitted:

“In hindsight, there was a level of immaturity on my part, mistakes I made. It was unfortunate we were married for a short time. It’s a shame it transpired that way.


After years of health struggles and unhappiness, Kotb found happiness with a new partner, Joel Schiffman. Schiffman and Kotb became a couple in 2013 at an event for Wall Street professionals. Kotb revealed that she didn’t want to go but wouldn’t have met Schiffman if she didn’t.

While their relationship was going well, Kotb didn’t want Schiffman’s name to get out for privacy reasons, so she nicknamed him ‘Boots.’ However, in 2015 photos of the couple on a beach vacation leaked, and their secret was out!

In 2016, Kotb revealed that she and Schiffman were living together, and she felt like a younger person. She followed the statement by saying:

“It’s a little weird to be in your 50s and we’re like, ‘Hey, we’re moving in!’ It’s like we’re kids. It’s so weird.”

By 2017, the couple was so committed to one another that they decided it was time to expand their family. Kotb said that at age 52, she asked Schiffman if he would explore adoption with her, and he happily agreed.

During the adoption process, Kotb was calling it her “project,” so she didn’t reveal any details before she was meant to, but in February 2017, she was finally able to share the news with the world.

Despite being older than most new moms, Kotb had no regrets about adopting children at her age. She shared with Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live” that she felt her daughter was “right on time.”

After welcoming their first daughter, Haley Joy, into their family, Kotb and Schiffman decided to adopt another baby and soon welcomed Hope Catherine into the fold. Kotb said that Hayley quickly became a big sister.

Kotb shared that her girls know she adopted them because she hasn’t hidden it from their families. Telling them about their adoption, she says:

“You didn’t come from Mommy’s tummy, you came from Mommy’s heart.”

After all the joy of bringing their daughters into the world, Kotb and Schiffman announced that they had gotten engaged. Kotb said they were on vacation when Schiffman got down on one knee to propose to her.

While Kotb was thrilled by the proposal, she also said that she had no idea it was coming. She also shared her shock at the event, noting that Schiffman was a skilled poker player.

The proposal happened in 2019, and Schiffman and Kotb were making wedding plans, but the COVID-19 quarantine curtailed their plans. However, the couple decided that it might be time to expand their family once more.

While they loved their two daughters, they wanted to be able to adopt another child. They began the process, but because of the pandemic, their plans were slowed, and they could not adopt a third child together.

Unfortunately for the couple, two years after they announced their engagement, they announced they would be separating. After careful consideration, they decided that it was better to be friends than enemies.

After careful consideration, the couple agreed to keep their daughters in their thoughts as they went through separation. Kotb said:

“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.”

Kotb then said that nothing awful happened that led to their divorce; it was simply a case of their relationship being only for a season and not for a lifetime. The couple ended things amicably.

Many Hollywood couples try and fail to co-parent their children effectively. For Kotb and Schiffman, though, it has been an entirely different kettle of fish. Kotb has even described their co-parenting journey as “easy.”

Kotb said that Schiffman often sees the children as he sometimes takes them to school and sees them on the weekends. She then shared:

“We make sure the kids get plenty of time with him and plenty of time with me.”


During the time that Kotb spends with hers and Schiffman’s daughters, she takes them on lunch dates with their family, on boat cruises that are the envy of many, and spends time playing dress-up with them.

She enjoys playing games with her girls and has dinner with them every night. Kotb and Schiffman also spend some of the holidays and birthdays together for the sake of their daughters.

Kotb shares a picture of her daughter with Schiffman on Instagram. She and her daughters were sharing a meal, and Kotb beamed at the camera with a daughter on each side of her, captioning the post “Lucky me.”

While being an elder mom has had many eye-opening experiences for Kotb, as she has mentioned in the past, one thing it has helped her to do is teach her children wise lessons.

She once shared how she teaches her daughters honesty. She shared that her daughters are encouraged to tell the truth and she celebrates their honesty. She does this to show her daughters that the truth can be something to be proud about.

Kotb said that it was obvious to her that her daughters were her role models, and she strives to be the best around them.


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