Why Hoda Kotb Missed Fourth Hour of “Today ”Earlier This Week

As the morning show host was absent for 'Today with Hoda & Jenna' on Wednesday, 'Sunday Today' anchor Willie Geist stepped in amid her absence

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images</p> Hoda Kotb on

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images

Hoda Kotb on 'Today' on December 19, 2023.

Hoda Kotb is revealing the reason behind her absence from Today with Hoda & Jenna on Wednesday.

Despite appearing on the first two hours of Today with Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin, Kotb, 59, missed out on the fourth hour of the morning show's March 27 episode, when she typically co-hosts Today with Hoda & Jenna with Jenna Bush Hager.

Upon her return on Thursday, Bush Hager, 42, expressed, “I miss you when you’re gone, do you know that?”

“A good friend of ours, who we both love dearly Laura — who does our hair — her mom passed,” Kotb explained. “And Laura's one of the good eggs, she's kind of mothering to everybody.”

“She sure is. Very maternal. We love you, Laura,” Bush Hager agreed.

The Hope Is a Rainbow author echoed the sentiment, adding, “We love you and your family.”

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images Hoda Kotb (left) and Jenna Bush Hager host 'Today with Hoda & Jenna'
Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images Hoda Kotb (left) and Jenna Bush Hager host 'Today with Hoda & Jenna'

Related: Hoda Kotb Reflects on Childhood Moves as She Prepares Daughters Haley and Hope to Relocate for a New School

Sunday Today host Willie Geist stepped in for Kotb, co-hosting alongside Bush Hager on Wednesday's episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna. They did not address Kotb’s absence during the broadcast.

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Kotb — who is a mother to daughters Haley, 7, and Hope, 4 — was also absent from the Today show last week to go on a spring break trip with her kids and sister Hala. On Instagram, she shared a carousel of vacation clips and photos from their beach holiday.

“Beautiful days … magical nights ❤️❤️❤️,” she captioned the slideshow.

Related: Hoda Kotb's Daughters 'Have No Idea' How Famous She Is: They Ask 'How Do They Know You?' (Exclusive)

<p>Hoda Kotb/Instagram</p> Hoda Kotb (center) and her daughters Hope (left) and Haley

Hoda Kotb/Instagram

Hoda Kotb (center) and her daughters Hope (left) and Haley

It’s been a year since Kotb last took extended time off from the Today show, leaving for two weeks in February 2023 to look after her daughter Hope following a hospitalization.

Opening up to PEOPLE earlier this month about Hope’s illness, she described “a scary stretch” in her daughter’s condition.

“Any parent who’s been through a scary thing with their child understands. It’s like you just can’t believe that your child’s sick. You can’t believe that there’s nothing you can do,” she said. “You can’t believe that no matter what you do, you can’t will it away or protect her, or all the things that we’re supposed to be doing as parents. And it’s a position I’ve never found myself in.”

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