Hoda Kotb opened up about the special way her best friend showed up for her as she mourned the loss of her father in college.
The Today co-host’s parents, Abdel Kader and Sameha Kotb, lived in Egypt before immigrating to the United States to raise their family. She was a student at Virginia Tech when her father died of a heart attack at age 51.
In a clip from the show posted on Instagram, she opened up about how her longtime pal Peggy Fox failed a class to be by her side when school got too much for her to handle.
“My dad had made it, and I was in a class and I didn’t care about my class, I didn’t care about anything,” Kotb, 59, told his co-host Jenna Bush Hager.
Hoda Kotb, 59, has revealed her close friend Peggy Fox failed a class to sit by her side following her father’s death.
Kotb was a junior at Virginia Tech when his father, Abdel Kader Kotb, died of a heart attack at age 51. She is pictured with her father and sister, Hala.
“There was a quiz, and I remember I looked at the teacher, and the teacher was like, ‘You have to take the quiz.’ And I didn’t feel it, and I said, “I’m leaving.”
The teacher warned her that she would fail class if she didn’t take the quiz, but she grabbed her backpack anyway and walked out.
“I felt someone (else) pick up their backpack and I kept walking. I didn’t say a word,” she said.’I walked to the duck pond, which was a very peaceful place, and sat on a picnic table above it, and she sat next to me.
Kotb, who is still close friends with Fox, explained that this simple gesture was just what she needed at the time.
“When I was ready, I said, ‘I can’t believe you failed that class with me.’ She said, ‘Well, I wanted to be here, sitting with you,'” she said. said. ‘That’s it.’ Not: ‘Do you want me? Do you need me?’ It’s like you turn around and they’re sitting there. “
Kotb previously paid tribute to her late father on the show in June 2020, saying he was a “larger-than-life figure to her and her siblings, Hala and Abel.”
“He just led by example. He was someone who worked very hard,” she recalls of her father, who worked as a fossil fuel specialist. “They came from Egypt, you know, and they really made their living.”
She explained that her father ended up becoming president of his own company, but she thought he was the vice president of the country.
The Today star (pictured at university) recalled how she struggled with her grief as she left class on quiz day, despite the teacher’s warning that she would fail if she left
Kotb said Fox dated her and sat next to her on a picnic bench until she was ready to talk. The two are still close friends (pictured together)
“I dreamed that my father couldn’t be the real president, but he could be the vice president – because he wasn’t born here,” she said. “I remember waking up believing my dad was vice president.”
“He just taught us to work hard, to make it happen, and we all believed we could be anything and do anything,” she added. “They taught us that, my mother and my father. »
Kotb noted that she still dreams of her father and thinks of him more than 30 years after his death.
Speaking with DailyMail.com in 2018, she opened up about how her father’s memory influenced her decision to become a mom in her 50s.
Kotb and her former fiancé, Joel Schiffman, have two adopted daughters, six-year-old Haley Joy and four-year-old Hope Catherine.
“I think any older mom who says they haven’t done the math is probably lying. I have absolutely thought about it and what it means. What it means for the future,” she said. “But my dad died in his early 50s and I died in my early 20s.”
“I was a freshman in college. It was sudden, scary and terrible,” she added. “But the seeds he left in me over those 20 years stay with me today.” The things he taught me are still part of me now.