“I met him at an event I didn’t want to go to,” Kotb recalled on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen in 2015, two years after she and Schiffman met. “It was pouring rain, it was yucky, it was a bunch of Wall Street guys — not my crowd. I had to give a speech, they were bored. When I was leaving, they said, ‘You need to sign a few pictures.’ He was next in line and he goes, ‘Can you sign this?’ And I said, ‘Who should I write it to?’ And he said, ‘How about to me?’”
As their relationship progressed, the TV personality was often asked whether she wanted to walk down the aisle again. Kotb was previously married to Burzis Kanga from 2005 to 2008.
“The divorce happened under difficult conditions,” Kanga told Radar Online in 2018 during a rare interview about their split. “Those were personal reasons for both of us. In hindsight, there was [a] level of immaturity on my part, mistakes I made. It was unfortunate we were married for a short time. It’s a shame it transpired that way.”
“I feel like everything’s great. He’s Haley’s dad. I’m Haley’s mom. We’re together,” she said at the time. “I feel like there’s not a rush other than we’re old, and we probably — if we’re going to do it, we might as well do it. But I think it’s fun like this. I don’t mind it. … We’re enjoying our lives. Yeah, I think we’re good this way.”
Their family grew again in April 2019 when she adopted daughter Hope. That November, he proposed.
“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,” Kotb revealed on the Today show at the time. “Then he said, ‘Would you be my wife?’ … I was totally shocked. He had a good poker face.”
Less than three years later, however, she announced their breakup.
“Joel and I have had a lot of prayerful and really meaningful conversations over the holidays, and we decided that we’re better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple,” she told Today viewers in January 2022. “So we decided that we are going to start this new year and begin it kind of on our new path as loving parents to our adorable, delightful children, and as friends.”
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Scroll through for a timeline of their relationship: