Jenna Bush Hager addressed her “Today” co-anchor Hoda Kotb’s mysterious absence after the show revealed the veteran journalist is dealing with a “family health matter.”
“Willie [Geist] is in for Hoda, and we just want to let you all know that we heard you, and Hoda is OK,” Bush Hager told viewers at the top of “Today with Hoda & Jenna” Wednesday.
“She just has a family health matter she is dealing with,” the author added.
Bush Hager, 41, and Geist, 47, both emphasized that they “love” and “adore” Kotb, 58, and look forward to her return to work.
“Today” first addressed Kotb’s nearly two-week absence from both of her usual slots on the NBC morning show and its fourth hour earlier Wednesday, around 7:30 a.m. ET.
“We know a lot of you have been wondering how she’s doing. We can tell you that Hoda is OK, [but] she’s got a family health matter that she’s been dealing with,” “3rd Hour of Today” co-host Craig Melvin, who has been filling in for Kotb in the show’s early hours, announced.
Melvin, 43, emphasized that they “look forward to seeing Hoda and Savannah [Guthrie] back here at the desk very, very soon” — referring to Guthrie, 51, suddenly leaving Tuesday’s live show mid-broadcast upon learning she had tested positive for COVID-19.
“We love you both,” Al Roker concluded while giving an air-kiss to the camera.
Several fans have been expressing their concerns for the “Today” show staple, who has not hosted a live show since Feb. 17. (She appeared in the Feb. 20 episode, but it was pretaped due to Presidents’ Day.)
Kotb herself has yet to address her absence, but fans began to get “worried” after she went from posting photos with her family to strictly sharing inspiration quotes on Instagram.
“Choose hope,” the most recent post from Monday read, while another said, “Sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts.”
She also shared sentiments that discuss “strong” and “brave” people finding the light through the “dark clouds.”
Kotb’s had thousands of fans leaving comments wishing her well ever since her absence grew more noticeable.
In the midst of her leave, Geist and “Today 3rd Hour” Sheinelle Jones anchor have switched off filling in for Kotb over the last week-and-a-half.
Jones has also stepped in for her on the “Today” show, along with her “Today 3rd Hour” co-host Craig Melvin, “Today” show regular Al Roker, Tom Llamas from “World News Tonight” and Carson Daly.
Kotb shares two daughters — Haley Joy, 5, and Hope Catherine, 3 — with her ex-fiancé, Joel Schiffman.
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