Kathie Lee Gifford honors Hoda Kotb: She 'made me a better person'

The pair have co-hosted the fourth hour of "Today" since 2008.
By Annie Martin Follow @littlemannie   |  Updated Oct. 18, 2017 at 12:56 PM
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Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Kathie Lee Gifford has nothing but praise for longtime friend Hoda Kotb.

The 64-year-old television personality moved the crowd to tears while paying tribute to her Today co-host Monday at an American Cancer Society luncheon, as Gifford and Kotb recounted on Tuesday's episode of the longtime NBC morning show.

"Hoda got this huge, well-deserved award," Gifford said. "I looked out and you were bawling, [your boyfriend] Joel [Schiffman] was bawling, everybody was bawling. I was just speaking the truth, about what you mean to everybody."

Kotb, who welcomed daughter Haley Joy in February, was honored with Mother of the Year at the ceremony. Gifford introduced the new mom at the event, recalling how she first met Kotb nearly a decade ago.

"I fell absolutely, madly in love with this life force called Hoda, who just made me a better person," the star said, according to Entertainment Tonight.

"The only thing bigger than her smile is her heart," she gushed. "Hoda Kotb is my Egyptian sun goddess. You have to be very careful around Hoda because she's the most contagious human being on the planet. She will infect you. She will make you happy."

Gifford and Kotb have co-hosted the fourth hour of Today since 2008. Kotb had nothing but good things to say about Gifford while celebrating their ninth anniversary on the show in April.

"My life has changed so profoundly since I met you," she told Gifford. "I told you this before, but I cannot believe the path my life took after our lives intersected. So for every single day of the nine years, I love you."

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