Everything We Know About Hoda Kotb's Split From Joel Schiffman

Broadcast journalist and television personality Hoda Kotb was over the moon in November 2019 when she announced her engagement to businessman Joel Schiffman. "I have to tell you something that a friend of mine, a friend of ours, asked me to let you guys in on a secret,” Hoda began on a bombshell episode of the "Today" show. "I'll give you her initials. Her initials are Hoda Kotb, and she's engaged," Kotb declared. "My heart has literally been pounding. We ended up having a little dinner on the beach. And he was like, 'I have something else I would like to say,' and he said some beautiful things, and then he got down on one knee. Then he said, 'Would you be my wife?” she divulged.

Alas, wedding planning proved to be difficult for the couple amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "We were supposed to have it a month from right now. I mean, that was our big master plan, Joel and me. And we were going to do it at a tropical destination and then we decided we were going to wait," Kotb dished to E! News in October 2020. "Who knows when people are going to be flying or feel comfortable flying?" she continued.

But now it appears the couple has decided to call off the wedding altogether, and the reason why just might surprise you.

Hoda Kotb said her relationship with Joel Schiffman was for a 'season'

Hoda Kotb stunned the masses on January 31 when she announced that she and her fiancé, Joel Schiffman, had pulled the plug on their relationship. "Joel and I have had a lot of prayerful and meaningful conversations over the holidays and we decided that we're better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple, so we decided we are going to start this new year on our new path as loving parents to our adorably delightful children and as friends," Kotb revealed on the "Today" show. "It's not like something happened. They say sometimes relationships are meant to be there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. This was for a season," she said.

As always, her trusted "Today" co-anchor Jenna Bush Hager was right by her side as she delivered the painful news. "This is weird and awkward," she confessed to Hager. "I feel better that I said it. I feel better. There's nothing that relieves your soul more I think than when you tell the truth," she admitted.

Fortunately, the split appears entirely amicable. "He's a great guy. He's a very kind and loving person and I feel privileged to have spent 8 years with him. We are both good and we are both going on our way and our path. We'll be good parents to those two lovely kids," she declared.

Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman share a family

Despite their split, Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman will remain dedicated co-parents to their adopted daughters Haley and Hope.

Kotb went through her adoption journey with Schiffman while they were still dating. The "Today" co-host opened up about the experience on People's "Me Becoming a Mom" podcast (via Today) and admitted she wasn't sure if Schiffman was ready to become an adoptive father. "Depending what he said would have depended on whether or not he was going to be in my life," she recalled. "And I wasn't sure I wanted that to go away." When she approached her partner with her plans, Kotb remembered thinking, "This is the end of a relationship or the beginning of a family." The latter was true, as Schiffman agreed to be a part of her adoption journey. "I chose a man who chose my happiness over his convenience maybe in that moment," she explained.

Since the pair decided to begin their family, Kotb has shared many adorable moments with Schiffman and their girls on social media over the years. In August 2021, Kotb shared inside looks at her family's celebration of the newscaster's 57th birthday, including her then-fiance and daughters singing in celebration in a video posted to Instagram.

Hoda Kotb planned to expand her family with Joel Schiffman

Before their plans for marriage crumbled, Hota Kotb revealed in 2020 that she and then-fiance Joel Schiffman were considering adding a third child into their family.

"Joel and I have had this conversation because you feel like you get a limited of time on earth and your heart expands," Kotb began in an October 2020 interview with ET, "and sometimes you don't realize your heart's ability to expand until you've filled [it] and sometimes you think you're at the top, and then you realize that there's more room." Kotb said she and Schiffman wondered about the possibility of a third child and if they would have the time and love to grow their family. "And the answer to all those questions seems to be 'yes, we would be,'" she said at the time.

According to Today, Kotb and Schiffman filed paperwork in 2020 to get the ball rolling with their third adoption. However, Kotb revealed on "Watch What Happens Live" in July 2021 that the adoption process stalled due to the pandemic — much like her wedding plans with Schiffman. "Apparently it's really slow during this time, during COVID," Kotb told host Andy Cohen. She added, "Everything's slow, but they say wait wisely and just be, so we're just going to be."