Jenna Bush Hager couldn’t help but get emotional when discussing her friend and co-anchor, Hoda Kotb‘s return to Today.
ET spoke with Hager at her book club party to commemorate the four-year anniversary of her Today book club series, Read With Jenna, where she shared how much Kotb’s absence was felt on the show.
“Hoda, makes my life full,” Hager gushed. “And it’s so interesting, but you don’t really know until somebody’s kind of gone, unexpectedly, how much you depend on them.”
“I mean, I knew I adored her, but I wrote her when she came back and I said, ‘I don’t even know if you know, how much you impact my life,'” she added, before getting emotional.
Kotb has been on quite the emotional journey herself the last few weeks as her 3-year-old daughter, Hope, was hospitalized after spending several days in the ICU.
With Hager having three children herself, the TV personality said it puts things in perspective.
“I think she said it best. She said, ‘You know, it’s a Monday and then it’s an ordinary day, and things can change in a second. And I am just so grateful that I have a partner in television that appreciates every single moment, and encourages me to do the same,” Hager shared. ‘And I have these three precious children who mean everything to me. So, it’s nice that we both have our priorities in check.”
She continued, “I feel like sometimes in New York City, things can get crazy, and your world can become too fast, and it sort of slowed everything down and reminded us what’s important.”
After returning to the Today show on Monday and revealing the reason for her extended absence, Kotb went more in-depth during her time on Today With Hoda & Jenna alongside her co-anchor.
“Little Hope had to go to the hospital and she was in the ICU for a few days and then in the hospital for another week and it was really scary,” the mother of two shared. “She’s vibrant and brilliant. She’s home. She’s home. She’s home. I’m over the moon that she’s home.”
Hoda told her supporters, “I felt you. I heard you. I needed you.”
The always-positive journalist admitted to struggling with staying grateful amid her daughter’s health battle.
“It’s funny, I always talk about gratitude, gratitude, but I found myself not living in that lane because I was scared,” Kotb said. “And then I decided, you know what, let me think about this for a minute. I have a family who loves me. I have a little girl who’s home. I have a wonderful support system. I have doctors who would have done anything to make everything better, and they did. So sometimes you talk about gratitude and when you’re pushed to the limit, you’re like, do I feel it?”
Kotb also held up a necklace she was wearing that was given to her by a friend that holds a special meaning.
“She said, ‘I’m going to take it off my neck and I’m going to send it to you, and it’s worn down because I rub it all the time and it says, ‘God’s got this,'” Kotb said. “She says, ‘If I ever see you not wearing it, I’m coming to get you.'”
The proud mom also shared a message to parents dealing with sick children.
“For anyone who’s ever gone through an illness with a child, boy, I thought I understood you, but I don’t. I didn’t,” Kotb noted. “Until you’re sitting in that position. For every single person who’s going through some stuff, I get it.”
See more in the video below.
Hoda Kotb Shares Message of Thanks Following Daughter’s ICU Stay
Hoda Kotb Struggled With Gratitude Amid Daughter’s Hospitalization
Hoda Kotb Returns to ‘Today,’ Reveals Daughter Hope Was in the ICU