Hoda Kotb Returns to 'Today', Reveals Why She Was Absent

Following a weeks-long absence, Hoda Kotb returned to the Today show Monday morning! Kotb had been missing from the NBC morning show since mid-February, her absence coinciding with co-host Savannah Guthrie's recent COVID-19 diagnosis, the beloved anchor revealing upon her return to Studio 1A on March 6 that her youngest daughter Hope, 3, was hospitalized in the ICU with an unspecified illness.

The long-time Today anchor addressed her absence at the top of the show, telling her colleagues and viewers, "my youngest, Hope, was in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for a little more than a week." Although Kotb did not reveal little Hope's ailment, she shared a happy update, telling viewers, "I'm so grateful she's home. She is back home. I was waiting for that day to come. And we are watching her closely. I'm just so happy." Kotb also took a moment to emotionally reflect on the ordeal.

"You know what I realized, too, Savannah? When your child is ill, the amount of gratitude you can have for people who helped you out," she told Guthrie. "I'm grateful for the doctors at Weill Cornell who were amazing and the nurses. And I'm grateful to my family, and I'm grateful to friends like you who were there every single day. So, I want to say thank you for that. I love you."

Guthrie, who also returned to the studio Monday after abruptly leaving during the Feb. 28 broadcast after testing positive for COVID-19, could be seen holding Kotb's hand throughout the announcement and offering her support. Guthrie told her co-host, "I love you too," assuring Kotb, "you have a lot of friends out there. We are right there with you, lifting you up and holding you. So let's do this." She also told Kotb, "it's nice to have you right back where you belong."

Prior to her Monday return, Kotb had been missing from Today since a pre-taped Presidents' Day episode on Feb. 17. Her absence went unaddressed until March 1 when Craig Melvin told viewers, "Hoda's OK. She's got a family health matter she's been dealing with." Kotb appeared in a pre-taped interview with John Easterling and Chloe Lattanzi on Friday's show. Along with Hope, Kotb is mom to 6-year-old daughter Haley Joy. Today airs weekdays on NBC beginning at 7 a.m. ET.