Hoda Kotb is enjoying the best years of her life.
The Today show co-anchor, 58, recently made Forbes' "50 Over 50" list. To mark the milestone, the mother of two sat down with Mika Brzezinski to discuss her proudest accomplishments in life thus far — the highest of which include adopting her two daughters: Haley, 5, and Hope, 3.
"I heard the saying, 'It gets greater later. It gets greater later.' And it does. It gets greater in every single aspect of life," she explained. "If someone told me, 'Hey guess what? When you're in your mid-50s you're gonna be a mom of two and you'll be hosting the Today show — but you’re going to have to wait until your mid-50s,' I would have said, 'Are you kidding me?' And now that I'm sitting in the middle of this [interview], I can't believe how blessed I feel. I can't believe this stage in my life feels like this."
Although she wanted to have children, Kotb said that when she turned 50 she assumed it just wasn't in the cards for her.
"It's like when you have a dream that you cannot fulfill because you know it's too late, so you don't say it out loud, because if you say it then you're presenting something you're never going to have,” she shared. "Whatever your secret is, say it out loud, even if it's just to yourself in the bathroom mirror, or tell your best friend, or tell someone, because once you say something that you desire and you put it in the universe, somehow it comes to you."
Such was the case with Kotb, who recalled a moment when she and a friend went on a walk. Her friend turned to her and said, "Well, we never wanted kids." For Kotb, it was a moment that changed everything.
"Mid-sentence, I said, 'Well, actually I did,'" she recalled. "She said, 'Well you never said that,' and I said, 'Well because I'm 50, so I don’t want to say it, but I've always wanted them. I've always kinda dreamt about it.' Low and behold, the minute I said it out it into the universe, I started thinking, Why not me?"
In February 2017, Kotb announced on Today that she and then-boyfriend Joel Schiffman adopted a baby daughter, Haley Joy Kotb. Then, two years later, the former couple announced the adoption of a second baby girl, Hope Catherine Kotb.
Although she and Schiffman are no longer together, Kotb has said that they continue to happily co-parent.
“My greatest accomplishment over the age of 50 is having Haley and Hope, without question. Who would have imagined that?" she told Brzezinski. "As I sit here today, across from you at 58, I know I have never ever in my life been this happy. Never.
"This decade of my life is by far the best decade I have ever had, and I would never have imagined that to have been a possibility," she continued. "I think there's something about realizing, like, numbers are numbers. And love is love. And you can make things happen in your life if you want it, if you really want it, it's not an impossibility. It works that way in your personal life and it works that way in your professional life."
When it comes to achieving your dreams after 50, Kotb said it’s all about having hope — and the willingness to go to the mat in efforts to achieve your dreams.
"I think if you are someone who's always asking what are the odds? I have a feeling you might have a difficult time climbing your mountain," she said. "If anyone had told me the odds of having kids after 50 or the odds of hosting the Today show in my late-50s, I'm sure someone with a calculator would have said, 'Oh, it’s 7 million to 1. Good luck with that idea.' But I think if we don't know it, we just go for it. Who's gonna tell us no?"
Certainly, Kotb has more mountains to climb. Recently, she said that adopting a third child may be in the cards for her.
"It's definitely in the universe for me," she told People magazine in August. "I feel like whatever is meant to be is meant to be. But I know a few things. I have love and time, and we have an open space."
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