Jenna Bush Hager Breaks Down After Failing to Be a Good Friend To Hoda Kotb During Daughter's Hospitalization: 'I Just Wasn't There for Her'
Jenna Bush Hager broke down in tears during the Wednesday, May 9, episode of Today.
Looking back on how she handled Hoda Kotb's personal family matter earlier this year — when she had to miss weeks of work to care for her daughter, who was in the ICU at the time — Bush Hager admitted she wasn't a good friend to her co-host.
“When Hoda’s daughter wasn’t feeling well I just wasn’t there for her the way I wanted to be,” the 41-year-old said on Today with Hoda & Jenna as her eyes started welling with tears.
“I didn’t know how to be and I felt terrible about it," Bush Hager, 41, continued, recalling: "I didn’t know what to do so I just said it. I said, ‘I feel like I haven’t been there for you.'”
Kotb got emotional while reflecting on the co-stars shared moment, applauding Bush Hager for her honesty.
“It was, first of all, one of the most beautiful statements. You’ve had so many beautiful statements, and it touched me deeply, and it meant everything to me that you said that,” Kotb — who shares adopted daughters Hope and Haley with ex Joel Schiffman — said.
Bush Hager and Kotb were discussing the concept of brutal honesty when the daughter of former president George W. Bush brought up her own brutally honest conversation she had to have with the mother-of-two.
In turn, Kotb praised Bush Hager for always being "so honest," saying: “I think it’s such a good thing. I mean, I can’t believe you’re bringing up that thing. I can’t believe you’re bringing that up."
Bush Hager pointed out that it's better to tell the truth than to hold onto regret, and she was "holding it and holding it until [she] exploded."
"So if you can’t tell the truth that would be horrible,” Bush Hager said, which Kotb agreed with, adding that there’s a “release when we tell the truth.”
They were also on the same page about the importance of people not confusing being “brutally honest” with being unnecessarily critical, as Kotb pointed out of Bush Hager's remarks: “This kind of honestly is beautiful."
Kotb continued: “The kind of honestly where someone comes up who is not maybe one of your besties…‘I just need to be brutally honest, the outfit you’re wearing…’ It’s like no, no, no, no.”
Never miss a story — sign up for the OK! newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what OK! has to offer. It’s gossip too good to wait for!
Kotb was MIA from the Today show back in February for more than a week, with it later being revealed that her hiatus was over a "family health matter." She returned to the show in March and shared that her daughter was recovering after being in the ICA for a few days.
“I’m so grateful she’s home,” Kotb said at the time after Hope spent more than a week in the hospital. “We are watching her closely. I am just so happy."
Hope's exact health problems remain unclear, but Kotb gushed in April that her daughter was on the mend.