Hoda Kotb Dishes on Kathie Lee Gifford Going Off-Script on Valentine's Day 'TODAY' Show

Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford's hour of the Today Show is now 10 years old, and anything can happen during their show. But things can get really crazy on Valentine's Day.

Kotb told Page Six Thursday that Gifford once told her that Valentine's Day is terrible for her. Early in their run, Gifford said she met her first husband on Feb. 14. When they split up, he served her divorce papers on the same date years later!

When they went on-air that day, Gifford surprised Kotb.

“I go, ‘Good morning, everyone! Happy Valentine’s Day!’ And Kath looks at me and says, ‘Not for you!’ I died," Kotb recalled. "And for a minute I was [disoriented]. It was a real moment, and then after that I was like — I can handle anything.”

Gifford agreed.

"You can handle anything," Gifford told Kotb. "I did that because I wanted the woman in the makeup room to do the show with me, and that was the process."

“I was always scared of Kathie, because you never knew what she was going to say, and she would have like a glint in her eye that would happen moments before the grenade dropped," Kotb explained.

The 64-year-old Gifford was first married to Paul Johnson, a gospel music composer. According to a 1992 PEOPLE profile, they married in 1976. Their marriage had a rough start and Johnson moved out of their home in Los Angeles in 1981. A year later, they divorced. In 1986, she married retired New York Giants Hall of Famer Frank Gifford. They remained married until his death in August 2015 and had two children together, 24-year-old Cassidy and 28-year-old Cody.

As for her current job, she began at the Today Show with Kotb in 2008 after leaving Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee. Gifford said Wednesday that she almost turned down the Today job because she thought it would be boring.

“There was Ann Curry — lovely woman — with five white shirts on those form things [mannequins], and she and an expert were discussing which white shirt holds up best in the wash,” Gifford recalled. “I wanted to kill myself by the third shirt.”


According to Page Six, she said she told one producer, “I love you, but I would rather rip my toenails out than have to do that.”

However, she later met Kotb and they talked for over two hours. By the end of the conversation, she decided to take the job.