Hoda Kotb mom-shamed in vile letter that hit her in the place that she's 'most vulnerable'

Hoda Kotb mom-shamed in a handwritten letter that was sent to her home address - the beloved host recounts the moment that was her 'ouch'

Hoda Kotb speaks at the Forbes 50 Over 50 Luncheon at Forbes on Fifth on December 08, 2022 in New York City.
(Image credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Beloved Today host Hoda Kotb was mom-shamed in an utterly devastating handwritten letter, which was sent to her home address. The TV star revealed the unsettling incident with her co-host Jenna Bush Hager - explaining why it hit a lot harder than any online abuse ever could.

Unsolicited comments are an unfortunate part of life, but for people working in the public eye - it can be incessant. It's hard to believe that Hoda, who's an inspiration for anybody wondering how to build a capsule wardrobe for women over 50, would let anything get her down. 

The happy-go-lucky star seems to be sunny all the time however, while chatting about singer Ariana Grande addressing comments on her body - Hoda revealed what she says is her 'ouch' in terms of criticism. The ouch in question? Becoming a mom in her 50s.

"I'll never forget this," she told Jenna, recounting the incident. "I got a letter addressed to me in somebody's handwriting to my house…and it was something along the lines of, 'How dare you bring a child into this world at your age. Don't you know what you're doing to that child?'"

Hoda, aged 58, is a mom to two daughters, Haley Joy aged 6 whom she adopted in 2017, and Hope Catherine, aged 3, whom she adopted in 2019. The star adopted her children with her ex-fiancee Joel Schiffman, who she split from in 2022.

"It took my breath away because that actually was my ouch," she added. "I was scared. Is this something that is smart for me to do? Am I helping, or am I ultimately going to be harming?"

The host then thought about the sensitive subject, considering whether she was actually causing harm. 

"And when I read it, I thought, 'someone took a pen and sat at a table and put it, wrote that down, and got a stamp and mailed it,' went through all that trouble to say that to me."

Hoda explained a part of the horror, in comparison to throw-away comments online, was the care, time, and research involved in writing and mailing a letter. A letter that was even more personal for the star - whose father passed away when she was in college.

"And I remember thinking, we have our parents for a period of time. I know the foundation he left," she said. "I know it was worth every second of that time. But it's real, it can hit you in a place that you're the most vulnerable."

Hoda's journey to parenthood began later in life, per People, after a 2007 breast cancer diagnosis left her unable to conceive. While appearing on People's Me Becoming Mom podcast in 2021 she asserted that she always tells them they were adopted, although at the time she wasn't sure if they quite understood what that means.

Hoda Kotb attends CMT Coal Miner's Daughter: A Celebration of the Life & Music of Loretta Lynn at Grand Ole Opry on October 30, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

(Image credit: Catherine Powell/Getty Images)

"I always say, 'you didn't come from Mommy's tummy, you came from my heart.'" she explained. "And they understand that."

Earlier this year, many fans wondered why Hoda wasn't on the Today Show and were utterly crushed to learn that she was dealing with a 'family health matter.'

"My youngest, Hope, was in the ICU for a few days, and in the hospital for a little more than a week," she told viewers on her return. "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."

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.